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< July 23-2015 | Notes Library | August 6-2015 >

Weekly Market Notes for July 30, 2015

Hello Market Friends:

Once again, there are many messages from vendors to share with you. I promised recipes, but due to the abundant news, will squeeze just one in for now. (It's the all-star of the week at our house.) In addition, way down below the vendors list, you'll find an editorial story I wanted to include.

My recipe hunt was inspired by Chicago, but ended up in Barcelona. This is sooo tasty.

Catalan Salsa Romesco

There are many variations in the recipes out there for this versatile sauce. This one uses 'cheap and cheerful' sunflower seeds as well as almonds, but others call for hazelnuts, and additions such as roasted red peppers. It's tasty hot or at room temperature, and goes very well over grilled vegetables, alongside cooked beet greens or chard, simmered with chickpeas and potatoes, or with fish. Vary the quantities of hot pepper, salt and vinegar according to your taste and the foods you're serving.

  • 1/4 cup blanched almonds
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds (buy roasted if you can't face turning on the *oven)
  • 2 or more cloves garlic
  • a small hot pepper
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut into quarters, with most seeds removed
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and toast the seeds and nuts just until colouring a little (about 8 minutes). Set them aside to cool while you gather the other ingredients. Put the nuts, garlic and chili pepper into a blender or food processor and process until fairly well chopped. (I like some texture, but you can blend until very smooth if you prefer.) Add the tomatoes, paprika and salt and keep blending, adding the oil gradually, and then the vinegar. Stir in the chopped parsley. Cover and let stand for the flavours to come together, then serve or refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Tons of food coming in! Here are the vendor notes:

Sosnickis' contribution: "We are getting lucky this week! The heat is keeping the mildew at bay and we have a bevy of Cucumbers for the market! (Temperatures over 30 degrees will kill spores I've been told!) We are picking and bringing as many as we can. If you want to make organic pickles, come on by. We'll have the big white basket amounts available. Not going to take orders, but there should be plenty for everyone. Yippee! Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes! Sweet White Onions! Patty Pans, Kale, Chard too! Weeeee love this heat!!"Ben, Jess, Sadie & Nate and our awesome market helpers Joe, Toshimi & Nicole

From Erika at Waymac Farms: "Beautiful shiitake and brown, blue and yellow oyster mushrooms to bring but stock is limited! Looking forward to a warm market!"

From Urban Harvest: "Hi all, we hope for a little shade at the market in this very very hot end of July. Our Orange Calendula doesn't seem to mind the heat though. It virtually glows in the sunshine. We will bring body care to soothe your skin and lots of seeds that can still be planted if you have a little room left for fall vegies. Perhaps a few seedlings too." Colette and Pablo

"Here is an update of what Marvellous Edibles is coming with: We finally have tomatoes, cucumbers, some eggplant, summer squash, shelling peas and snap peas, fingerling Lindzer potatoes, head lettuce, spring greens, arugula (not much) curly kale, swiss chard, carrots, beets, fresh onions, and garlic. And probably some more stuff that I cannot think of now. In addition we have fresh pork, 3 kinds of sausages and our 100% grass fed and finished beef. There will be some baking as well; I am working on Morello Cherry tarts! The warm weather has brought on an abundance of summer squash; we will get some fermenting so that we will be able to start selling our very popular fermented veggies in about three weeks." Ayse (and Jens)

Forbes Wild Foods news: "For this Thursday we'll have lots of sea vegetables. Possibly wild ON mushrooms but the heat isn't the best to pick in (will stop complaints there, this summer is quite welcome! ). No wild blueberries just yet; we'll keep you updated!" Ruwena

A note from Debbie Wiecha of Niagara Lavender: "A wonderful load of fresh peaches this week….juicy , sweet and fresh." (Quantities will be larger than last week, but these are bound to sell out.)

Nicole from Best Baa writes: "We'll be sending mini ice creams to celebrate summer! "

"We have more beautiful Salanova lettuce (both green and purple, see above) as well as a head lettuce called Jester that the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security ( is growing out at the farm. Another new crop is a fresh onion called Red Tropea. See you there." The Everdale Team

George, our 'banjo man,' didn't make it to market on the actual day of his 90th birthday, but the next time he came to play, he was delighted by the post-birthday fuss made by market-goers, and wants to thank everybody this time.

"New items at the Kind Booth this week are: big bags of Basil for pesto and Callaloo for cooking. As usual we have our juicing greens and amazing pre-washed Kale." Sandra

Beretta Farms will be at market this week and away next. That's the week to bring your knives for first-market-of-the-month sharpening.

See you at the market!


Vendors this week:

  • Afri-Can Food Basket (organic produce)
  • Akiwenzie's Fish (fresh, frozen and smoked Georgian Bay fish)
  • Alli Harris (fish sandwiches, fritters, hemp pesto, beverages, salads)
  • Bees Universe (honey and bee products, eggs)
  • Beretta Farms (organic and naturally raised meats)
  • Best Baa/Ewenity Dairy (sheep's milk, cheeses and yogurt)
  • Brixton Grill (vegan barbeque and ice cream treats)
  • ChocoSol (coffee and chocolate, tortillas cooked at the market)
  • Country Meadows (olives, oil, eggs, cheese, vegetable and herb seedlings)
  • Culture City (fermented condiments, tempeh, dosa batter)
  • DeFloured (gluten-free baking)
  • Dufferin Park Bakers (wood-fired oven breads, soups,and snacks)
  • Earth and City (raw foods, smoothies, rice bowls)
  • Evelyn's Crackers (baking made from ON whole grains)
  • Everdale Organic Farm (organic produce)
  • Floralora Flowers (organic, farm-grown cutflowers)
  • Forbes Wild Foods (wild veggies and mushrooms, nuts, maple syrup, preserves)
  • JK Fries (fresh-cut french fries with choice of mayos)
  • Kind Organics (sprouts, salad mixes, teas, chocolate)
  • Knuckle Down Farm (organic vegetables)
  • Marvellous Edibles (organic vegetables, meats, poultry, baking, fruits)
  • Niagara Lavender Farm (organic berries, tender fruits and lavender)
  • Plan B (organic produce)
  • Sosnickis' Organic Produce (organic vegetables)
  • Spade & Spoon (jams, pickles, soups, maple syrup)
  • Tapioca Gourmet (gluten-free Brazilian pancakes with seasonal fillings)
  • Ted Thorpe (berries, veggies and herbs)
  • Urban Harvest (plants, seeds, body care, soil amendments)
  • VQA Wine (Tawse again this week)
  • Waymac Farms (oyster and shiitake mushrooms)
  • Ying Ying Soy (tofus and miso from ON organic soybeans)

Sunday Breakfast

I grew up down the road from Doug and Doreen Shillington's dairy and beef farm. When I was a kid, Doug had a job at Alcan as well as milking morning and evening, and in summer, when there was planting to do or hay to be cut, we'd often hear the tractor late into the night.

The Shillingtons, who are now about 80, own a hundred head of beef cattle, and enough dairy quota to milk forty cows. When I took my Dad to visit last weekend, Doug's daughter Janine said he was out in the field, and if we wanted to find him in the house we should come by at Sunday breakfast, when the family usually gets together.

Doug has a wide smile and a loud, warm laugh. He's almost always earth coloured top to bottom; you can hardly tell where his work clothes end and the man begins. His outfit Sunday was no different, except that he was wearing a brand new Ford cap and joking with his granddaughter about whether to keep the shiny tag on it. Doreen is pretty much immobilized by arthritis now, and Doug can't lift his arms well enough to do the milking anymore, but he still looks after the tractor work. Doreen scolds that they should have sold their quota six years ago. That was when their grandson Jack decided he wanted to join his dad Kendall and his granddad in the business, and helping the boys out kept Doug going. But with trade talks putting protection for Canadian milk producers on the bargaining table, Doug fears that everything farmers have worked for "could be gone with one signature on a line."

We talked about family news, of course, and Doug told us his views on breeds of beef cattle: how Black Angus calves are born ready to get going, while Simmentals need a lot of help, how he was disappointed that Charolais never really caught on. Janine poured more coffee, and Doug asked her to pass the 'chem-cream', as I think he called it, a quart of edible oil product coffee whitener. I got telling him how people were seeking out grass-fed dairy products now. "Is that right?" Doug said with interest. "Tell me, when was it that they started to say butter is actually better for you than margarine?" I noticed a jumbo-sized tub of margarine on the counter, where Janine was cooking up eggs and French toast. Doug's granddaughter chimed in, "I love margarine," and Doreen said, "All things in moderation."

Back in the 70s a combination of weak science and strong advertising about the perils of dietary cholesterol took off. Evidently it convinced even dairy farmers that they'd be better off eating substitutes instead of products made from their own farm ingredients.

Doug was curious about farmers' markets, and asked if they're all organic. Doreen said she wondered how people could afford organic food. I didn't launch into a Sunday morning sermon about why the value of organic food justifies spending more, but I did find Doreen's views ironic given that we'd just been talking about farmers needing to be decently paid for their products.

Returning to the 70s, ever since that decade, when Canada adopted "cheap food" policies, our store shelves have been filled with imported produce at lower prices than farmers here can match. We reached a point where food spending as a fraction of household income was the lowest in history, and along the way we lost a lot of family farms. Of course, if you're living in poverty, food--and everything else--can be impossibly expensive, but most shoppers who can afford to choose still opt for cheap, conventional, imported food more often than organic, local, or fair-trade. The only farmers with protection from destructively low prices are the ones with marketing boards, and although the supply management system is in need of improvements, we'll lose a lot more family farms if it is dismantled.

As a country, and individually, we need to do right by our farmers. Thank you for choosing whole, clean, fair, local foods.

Anne Freeman

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