Last week the Food Revolution team hosted a farmers’ market themed twitter party. I didn’t have a chance to get in on it, so I’m taking the opportunity to pitch in my two cents now.
For someone who favours the city as much as I do, I’ve spent a lot of time in rural Ontario. Actually, I’ve moved around quite a bit so I’ve had the opportunity to eat locally in a lot of the provinces across Canada and despite the travel brochures, we are home to a lot more than Tim Horton’s beer, maple and bacon. We have all kinds of fowl, land animals and seafood is fantastic because of the cold water. We grow every kind of gain for breads and pastries. We have blueberries, strawberries and raspberries, apples and cranberries. I can’t think of a root or garden vegetable that we don’t have as well as just about every herb that I can name. My Dad says that mustard is the only spice native to Canada and there are some awesome mustards out there. Then there are the dairies, wineries and breweries, gourds, corn and where would Stompin’ Tom be without PEI potatoes?
My parents happen to live near Canada’s largest year round farmers’ market in St. Jacobs. My Dad likes this one vendor who makes these unbelievable, spicy chicken sandwiches on fresh buns with grilled veggies. Actually, a thing this big and delicious can’t be described as a “sandwich”, it’s a sammich. He goes at least once a week on his lunch break and they know him there.
It’s a fun place to spend an afternoon when the weather is nice and when things are in season they’re super cheap. We order our turkeys from one of the organic farmers for the holidays, I get a load of tomatoes each year to make salsa, my Mum gets berries for jam, and it’s become a bit of a tradition for the two of us to split a bushel of cucumbers and make pickles, which was how we spent yesterday. We pickled a mess of hot peppers this time too and I’m looking forward to having them on sammiches when they’re ready.
In all honesty, dollar for dollar, you’re not really saving a heck of a lot when you make everything from scratch. Particularly if you factor in your time, but there’s a much larger value to the nutrition, taste and presentation, not to mention family, community and the environment.