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Farmers Markets


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I was specifically told at Driediger Farms that their blueberries were "ready" (though not for U-pick). No sale from me, as I have raspberries firmly on the brain for the next week or two.

Incidentally, a neighbour of ours picked up some red gooseberries at, I believe, Krause Farms. These were unlike the (sour) green ones I am familiar with. They tasted much sweeter and with the firm skin were likely a slightly tart grape. Yum.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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I went to Trout Lake this past Saturday and bought way too much. I bought several plants. Foodwise, I bought a couple of pounds of cherries from Spences Bridge, chervil, arugula, English peas, rhubarb, radishes, scapes, and blueberries. I was told by several vendors that sour cherries are done for the season and the remaining types of cherries should have only up to two weeks left if that. The blueberries I bought are plump, sweet and delicious. Unfortunately, I didn't take note of any of the vendors. It was all a bit overwhelming in a good way.

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So on Sunday we drove by The East Richmond Farmers Market in the parking lot of Cambie Secondary at the corner of Jacombs and Cambie. We thought we'd stop by, maybe get a few things for dinner. I want to be charitable, I want to be positive, I really do support grassroots community efforts, particularly those that will improve the quality of tomatos on my table.

It was sad, and not sad in a charming small town sort of way, sad in the way that there was the sum total of five vendors, four of which supplied crocheted goods. It's new, they're trying and for that I will continue with support, but really they need to boost the vendor count. There was one produce stand, a young girl from Kelowna, taking care of her two young kids, and selling some pretty grim organic vegetables. If anyone is looking for small organic zucchini at 2.50 each, lemme know, I can hook you up.

The Mrs. felt bad and wanted to support someone, anyone, she ended up buy some peanut butter cookies from a kindly old lady who clearly had a grandmother that knew nothing of baking.

If you're in the area, stop by for no other reason than the organisers are trying really hard. They're out telling everyone that soon they'll have more vendors etc. A for effort. The fundemental problem is Richmond is blessed with produce stands second in number only to noodle shops and S class Mercedes. Why do we need a farmers market, well I know why we need it, I don't know what would induce your average citizen to patronize it. I'll give it another try, spend a few bucks if only to remain a net positive in society.

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oh yeah, 9:00 - 10:00 is prime pickings time, after that the really limited stuff is gone.

Further to the above-various appointments meant I was late to Nat Bailey today not arriving until about 4.

Bad timing :sad: much of the better produce had been picked over.

The one baker was almost out and the other one either never made it or sold out early.

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Went to Nat Bailey and picked up goodies from the usual suspects. My son and I devoured chocolate covered strawberries from Bad Girl and I brought home some chili-infused "hot chocolates" shaped like hearts, decorated with gold leaf for dessert. I made my usual market day potato salad, but with the Mint Dijon Tapenade from Whistler Cooks Catering, and baby squash from Similkameen. Although I like the dressing, I think it could use a bit more zing-but that could be bottle variation(?) The new boy on the block was "Bean Boy" with his gourmet organic homous. I bought the curry currant homous and as soon as I got home, had a snack of it on the bread ladies' sourdough rye. The spread is spiced with a subtle madras-type curry with a tiny bit of sweetness from the currants-very good stuff. Chris Brown from Arise wasn't there today and won't be there next week either, but look for him at Trout Lake.

Bought organic fava beans for the first time, which I also put in the warm potato salad. I love the spongy little upholstered pods they live in. The dude selling them told me to steam them for ten minutes-obviously waay too long. Maybe two minutes would have been better.

My ma and pa have just come out on the train from Alberta for a visit, and it was fun to see the steam come out of my mom's ears when she ate her "hot chocolate." My son drained a glass of juice just like in those cartoons when a critter's mouth is so hot it catches on fire. I loved those suckers. They are my new favorite things.

I also went to UBC farm market on Saturday. Fell in love with the place. Check out those happy-go -clucky Rhode Island Reds.

Looking forward to taking my folks to L'isle de Granville tomorrow. We'll check out the truck market, and most likely consume copious amounts of fruits de mer.

Zuke

Edited by Zucchini Mama (log)

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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  • 4 weeks later...

Urban Hiking and Foraging

The Zucchini family hopped on the King Edward bus out to UBC to go blackberry picking today. It was pretty hot by the time we arrived at the farm and checked out the market. We immediately bought some organic lemonade and organic chocolate brownies (not very fresh today, I'm afraid). Then we paid our two dollar donation for blackberry picking and filled up our little Tupperware container. I realized we should have brought along some proper berry picking clothes, as we were all in t-shirts and shorts, but we managed to fill up our container pretty fast without getting too many bad scratches. We visited the chickens and sought a moment of cool air in the little cob house the students built. We watched three beekeepers extract honey comb from one of the hives and explored the paths in the woods.

On the way back, P. convinced me we should walk down to Sasamat and 10th via the path beside Pacific Spirit Park along 25th. We couldn't go through the woods as we're still using a stroller for really long walks. It was a great idea as we were shaded by the trees and we foraged for wild blackberries and huckleberries to quench our thirst along the route. We headed for the Katzenjammer Cafe, where Peter had a Reuban made with potato pancakes and I had kasespaeztle and a green salad. We both agreed our meals were fine, and reminiscent of trips to Germany and Austria. What was missing was more summer herbs, as when we've eaten in Germany, there's always been local mushrooms or herbs added to make the meal special. P. had a Warsteiner which was served in the proper glass, making it look quite elegant.

We'll probably head up to the UBC farm again next Saturday as there is a special blackberry festival that sounds like great fun. I received this press release via e-mail: "In conjunction with International Eat In/Act Out Week we will be celebrating the bounty of local food by inviting the community to come down and have a local food picnic on the Farm, from 9-1 on Saturday August 6th. We will be serving traditional bannock, grilled veggies, homemade blackberry pie, and more. Other features will include: honey tasting and beehive tours, live music, heaps of u-pick blackberries, the UBC Farm Market, and face painting. Come down and join us for a country in the city morning/afternoon."

Hope to see you there!

Zuke

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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I miss the blackberries! My kids all live near Seattle and the blackberry bushes are everywhere.

I went to the Billings, Montana farmers market today. It doesn't have an exciting variety of produce, but I do like buying locally when I can. There are a lot of Hutterite farmers here; they're the ones who sell the most. They offer free range chickens and eggs, pork products, and a lot of produce. I bought some green beans, peas, and white radishes. I was hoping to get some of the first corn of the season, but the line was long and they ran out before I got there. I made peas and cauliflower in cream sauce for dinner. Nothing too exotic, but there's not much better than the new peas. If only I'd had corn on the cob to go with it.

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UBC Farm Blackberry Festival

The UBC farm market was busy this Saturday, and throughout the grounds I saw families staking out the best blackberry patches and filling up their containers (for a $2 donation to the farm). At the market stand, a woman pumped furiously away on a stationary purple bicycle hooked up to a blender, creating fresh bicycle powered smoothies for the crowd. She was a member of the UBC Bike Co-op, who provide a number of services for cyclists on the campus.

I asked to try three of the salads offered by the Aboriginal Downtown Eastside Community Kitchen made from vegetables picked right from their garden on the farm. I thought they were each $2.50, but my entire plate heaped with three salads was $2.50 in total! There was coleslaw made of green cabbage and dressed in a tangy vinaigrette with a few fresh blueberries tossed on top before serving. There was a rotini pasta salad with another perfect vinaigrette, fresh raw peas, and tiny crunchy kernels of corn. My favorite salad was the stellar potato salad made with a mayonnaise-based dressing, chopped kale and a touch of fresh sage. I sat in the shade of an elder tree and savored every bite of my lunch. I didn't have room left for the bannock focaccia, but liked the idea of this Canadian/Italian fusion. In the farm center, which houses the site washroom, I literally ran into a chef with some amazing aboriginal face tattoos. I peeked my head in the kitchen, which was redolent with sage, and thanked the workers for such great food.

The sunflowers are now out in their full glory, many of them in the deep, rusty colors that are so popular right now. I detected a whiff of smoke in the air, so I headed down the apiary, where sure enough, the beekeepers were at work opening up the hives so visitors could look inside. Apparently the farm rents these hives out to other farmers. It's a sweet deal, because the farmers get their plants pollinated and the farm keeps all the honey. The bees were furious at having their productive day interrupted, but they weren't looking for blood. A few brave souls walked up to the hive without beekeeper's gear, but as the bees became increasingly agitated we were told to keep our distance just in case. My dad said he's had hives with different personalities, some are more aggressively protective than others. These seemed realtively mellow. The beekeeper showed us a female worker perched on her hand and explained to us that if you get stung, try to gently lift the bee up, so the stinger doesn't break off and continue pumping venom into your skin.

I bought some carrots, salad greens, and Dragon Beans, which have burgundy markings over a light green base color. Then I headed back past Pacific Spirit Park, picking huckleberries and salmon berries all the way to Blanca. To top off a great morning, I managed to score the last chocolate ripple scone at Mix Bakery on 10th! :smile:

Zuke

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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As reported in the Stoney Paradise tomato thread, N and I braved Trout Lake “first thing” Saturday morning in search of The Greatest Tomato Of All Time. Which we found, actually – along with some red Cascade tomatoes, a Walla Walla onion, and baby green beans. We also visited the mushroom guy (criminis plus a few packs of dried porcini and “forest floor mix” or something like that), one of the corn guys for 3 ears of peaches and cream and 3 ears of “regular” yellow corn (whatever the name is), plus assorted white/green/banana peppers, elephant plums, peaches, purple pears, and more organic cherry tomatoes.

These went into some great weekend eating:

Saturday breakfast

Omlettes stuffed with fried crimini, feta and fresh basil, with a side of sliced Cascades (s+p only).

Saturday dinner

(All grilled) pork chops marinated in red wine, olive oil, a little honey, fresh rosemary and bay; skewers of cherry tomatoes (not Milan’s, no need to do anything to those babies), Walla Walla onion, assorted peppers and crimini mushrooms marinated in lemon and olive oil; corn on the cob; and tomatoes stuffed with feta, basil and garlic. And a bottle of La Bastide.

Sunday breakfast

Toast with peanut butter and crabapple jelly, sliced pears, plums, nectarines and peaches.

Sunday dinner

Roast chicken with fresh tarragon, basil, thyme, lemon, garlic and a touch of sambal; last two cobs of corn; steamed baby green beans; and grilled pineapple with ice cream.

I’ve already gone on about the tomatoes, but the other standouts were the mushrooms and the peaches. I was a bit disappointed in the corn, it’s still pretty starchy and not yet sweet (even the p&c). I even went for the guy with the big line, selling 6 ears for $3.50 (50c more than everywhere else). Is this true for all local corn at this point – not sweet yet I mean?

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If you want sweet corn, go to the Farmers Market in Steveston (The store where the strawberry festival is held, on Steveston Hwy and just off the exit off the 99) Best corn I've had in years. They grow it on their farm and it's picked daily, sometimes a couple times a day. I had some on Sat and was just blown away by how good it was.

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At the market stand, a woman pumped furiously away on a stationary purple bicycle hooked up to a blender, creating fresh bicycle powered smoothies for the crowd. She was a member of the UBC Bike Co-op, who provide a number of services for cyclists on the campus.

I give up. Smoothies are wrong. Blender drinks are wrong. Human powered mixers are wrong. I'm packing it in. I'm searching a lunch of 100% GM foods, preferably that were grown on torched rainforest using to much pesticides along with a farmed salmon sandwich.

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I was a bit disappointed in the corn, it’s still pretty starchy and not yet sweet (even the p&c). I even went for the guy with the big line, selling 6 ears for $3.50 (50c more than everywhere else). Is this true for all local corn at this point – not sweet yet I mean?

Dunno where it came from, but out here in the Valley, the answer would be no...peaches and cream is actually almost over and Jubilee should be ready by the end of the week. We had peaches and cream on the weekend and it was just as good as it was the first week it was out. We snagged some early Jubilee from a nearby field and even though it's not quite filled out, it was pretty darn tasty.

Hate to say it, but generally when it's starchy like that, it's because it's old...either past it's prime on the stalk or picked a day or two before. And any time in the fridge will just make it worse.

Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer."

Scott Stratten

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Am I alone in thinking that Peaches and Cream is now too sweet? It barely tastes like corn anymore. We ate "regular" corn on the cob the other night, and it was a refreshing change from the cloying sugaryness of the other stuff. Corn is merely a crunchy vehicle for butter/salt conveyance anyways. Peaches and Cream seems to have too much sweet, not enough corn flavour.

Or maybe I'm just feeling difficult today.

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I like to taste the corn too, and therefore usually prefer regular yellow corn to p&c. However, the cobs we got this weekend were totally devoid of sugar, even after getting roasted on the BBQ. And corn without any sweetness doesn't taste like corn to me either.

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Corn should be sweet. It just shouldn't sickly cloyingly give a hummingbird diabetes so. We call my brother in law the fly after the superb Cronenberg/Goodblum/Davis flick from the 80's, and his penchant for adding tablespoons of sugar into Coke, and even he probably thinks P&C is too sweet.

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Corn should be sweet. It just shouldn't sickly cloyingly give a hummingbird diabetes so. We call my brother in law the fly after the superb Cronenberg/Goodblum/Davis flick from the 80's, and his penchant for adding tablespoons of sugar into Coke, and even he probably thinks P&C is too sweet.

I am currently drinking a Coke. That is hilaious/disgusting. That and I am having the scene where Jeff Goldblum's character barfs on the donuts and eats them, replay in my head.

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The Peak of Nat Bailey

Bought tomatilloes and squash from the artichoke lady, mini purple-red tomatoes from the Similkameen, and a big ugly/beautiful Heritage Russian tomato from a farm near Yarrow. Chocolate chip cookies from Blackberry Hill. Also, a delicate, aromatic Golden Tiger melon from Similkameen, which I peeled and diced and put in a salad with some chunks of Dutch goat gouda, blackberries purloined from the neighbor's bush and some raspberry dressing made from tragically ripe organic Langely co-op berries.

We popped our one bottle of Joie pinot noir rosé, which is full of gorgeous strawberry and raspberry summer lovin' and went so well with our roast bison and gorgonzola polenta with sautéed Criminis. I conjectured the wine was at its peak, having a hint of sherry-like honey in it, but P. ventures it will be more complex in a year. (He's better at that sort of thing than I am.) I don't think there will be many bottles left in a year, unfortunately.

Rounded out the meal with the truffle of the day from Bad Girl ("Saba"- not quite balsamic vinegar). These were tart, dark fruity bombs. We also had the cookies from Blackberry Hill, which were loaded with chips, and perfect with a glass of milk (creamy, grassy notes with a hint of alphalfa).

Edited to add: My favorite rosés seem to have a hint of tomato in the bouquet, strangely enough, as does the one above and good Tavels.

Zuke

Edited by Zucchini Mama (log)

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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