Saturday, 28 June 2008

I Finally Went to the Calgary Farmer's Market

I have 5 days off this week-end to do whatever I want, and today (after thinking about doing so for a couple of months) I went to the Calgary Farmer's Market. I was amazed really at what diverse kinds of produce that one is able to find there - even in June! I mean - we live in Alberta right? Can anything really grow in Alberta? Well, the answer to that is - yes, with much effort. But, a lot of the produce I found today was from B.C. (which technically is outside of my 100 miles, but at least it's not New Zealand) They also had some California produce there, but I was not about to touch that. It makes me guilty even thinking about it now. There is actually one grower in Innisfail, AB that grows Asparagus!!!!! I mean - Asparagus - in Alberta. It's truly amazing to me.

Note the label says "Asparagus - grown locally - Innisfail, AB"

So, what did I buy there at the Asparagus people's stand? - Pickled Asparagus of course!!! I LOVE Pickled Asparagus (as anyone who keeps up with my blog knows) I haven't opened it up yet, but you KNOW that's going to disappear tomorrow when I do. I also picked up some lovely B.C. Cherries. 2 Varieties - The regular Bing variety, and also these lovely Rainier Cherries with a lovely golden color and slightly tart taste. I'm currently eating them, and have this crazy idea that if I lay the seeds out on a paper towel and dry them out, I may be able to grow a Rainier Cherry tree right here in my back yard. Will let you know how that one turns out.

I also found this really cool and slightly weird Yellow Zucchini grown locally (can't remember where) as well. I know that squash traditionally is yellow, but Zucchini is usually green. It's so fun to see yellow zucchini, and it was the same price as the green, so I went for it...

One other really cool thing I found was Honey made by Alberta Bees!!!!! This company I bought it from does this amazing thing with it as well. They cream the honey, and add fruit flavor extracts to it to make it fruity. I tried a few varieties out of curiosity, and then well, I couldn't say no, so I bought the Saskatoon, Blueberry, and Lemon flavored ones. You would be surprised how tasty the Lemon one was.

So, needless to say, I was pretty impressed with the variety found at the Calgary Farmer's Market. People often told me that it's more expensive than other farmer's markets, but you know, I found that the prices aren't that much different than they are at the Health Food Store, and often you can't find local produce at the health food store. (Not at this time anyway) Also, the vendors are just local folk trying to make a living, and I would imagine that the cost of being set up there is somewhat high, so they have to cover their overhead. With all of these thoughts in mind, I don't really mind spending a few extra dollars to support local producers. The atmosphere of the Market is awesome, and there's something to see literally everywhere you turn. They have live entertainment at various parts of the Market, andd also crafts, local artisans, etc. I loved every minute of being there. Don't eat before you go either because there's tonnes of good eats - ready to eat. ALSO, it's not too hard to get there on city transit. (which is how I got there) You just take the 20 from Heritage and get off just after Mount Royal College, and right before Flander's Avenue. You can see it quite clearly from Richard Road, so it's super easy to find. I'm going back lots of times this summer, because I'm sure (in fact I know) that there will be more exciting produce to come as the summer goes on. What a great place to spend a Saturday (or a Friday off) I recommend it to everyone I know!!!

Here's some more pictures of the market...

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