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< September 9-2010 | Notes Library | September 23-2010 >

Weekly Market Notes for September 16, 2010

Hello Market Friends:

One of my favourite benefits of co-ordinating the market has been getting to visit our producers. Over the years, many of the staff at the park have also enjoyed great connections to the farmers and vendors, but recently we realized that there were a number of newer staff members who hadn't had the opportunity to get out of town and see where our market food comes from. So last Sunday 6 of those staff and myself headed off bright and early on a field trip.

Best Baa Cheese

We started with a visit to Best Baa's dairy, where Elisabeth Bzikot gave us an intro. to the basics of cheesemaking--not an art one learns in a day! There was a collective sigh of pleasure when she opened the door to the 'chambre d'affinage' (cheese ripening room) and we saw all the treasures it contained. Cheese heaven. Elisabeth also told us about some of the Amish farmers they work with, their 'small is beautiful' approach, and spoke about the challenges that face farmers in Canada. We were off to an inspiring start.

new lamb

At our next stop, we were welcomed by the rest of the Bzikot family farmers: Peter and Nicole, whom you may know from Dufferin, their little daughter Chloe, and Peter's father Eric. We got to see the beautiful depression-era bank barn where Chloe plays on rainy days, then went next door to see the sheep. Mr. Bzikot explained that the growth of the dairy since they opened in 2007 has meant that he spends quite a bit of time collecting milk from the other (mainly non-driving) sheep farmers, so he has had to give up their own larger milking flock, which he really misses. His affection and respect for "the girls" that remain on the farm is evident. This time our big sigh came at the sight of new twin lambs wobbling around their mother in the barn. These were the fourth and fifth offspring of the year for this ewe, who's doing her bit to keep the British Milk Sheep breed alive and well in Ontario.

Elisa and Natasha scaling fish

The low clouds and spitting rain looked ominous as we headed north, but by the time we reached the Akiwenzies', our final destination, summer blue skies were back. Despite our educational goals, immediate plans to improvise bathing attire kicked in, and all rational ideas about what time we should get back to Toronto went out the window. We had a great afternoon. Pia and Elisa got right to it learning to scale fish, we had a full tour of the immaculate processing plant and the smokehouse, and Christopher Akiwenzie happily set up tables by the lake and built a big fire for a late afternoon feast together, including superb fish, of course.
All in a day's work, these market inspections....Well, not exactly. More like one of the best days of the year.

Just a couple of vendor notes this week, but a great selection coming in:

Due to illness and family matters, we have a couple of absences this week: Clement's Crepes and Nujima.

From Feast of Fields: "Fall is in the air .... and the end of our fruit season is here. This week we will have a great variety of pears, black seedless grapes, blue seeded grapes , figs, wild blueberries and fall cropping raspberries. We will also have the last of our peaches as the trees are stripped and the cooler emptied for the season.
In addition to our organic fruit we will also bring some apples from our neighbour. These are low spray as you will be able to see (LOL) but good flavour, fresh picked and local. We are still accepting orders for our organic wine grapes : Cab Franc , Merlot and Cab Sauvignon still to pick. Laura

Sosnickis report: "While I continue to freeze sweet corn and peppers galore, Ben will be bringing fresh to Dufferin this week our first ever SWEET POTATOES!! The crop was planted in June and is being harvested this month! This week at Dufferin will be the first taste! Also, lots of orange & purple carrots, different squashes are coming, purple & golden beets a-plenty, big cabbages -both green and red, cooking & red onions, more sweet corn and watermelons we can find in the weeds, fresh dug potatoes, and PEPPERS, PEPPERS, SWEET ORGANIC PEPPERS!! The little patch of land we are growing peppers on this year has not grown peppers in over 10 years - good rotation equals good crops!" Jessie & Ben.

See you at the market!

Anne Freeman

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