Field Trip!
Off To Market We Go! Part II

Yesterday I took you along to my local farmer’s market with me.  (If you missed it, read Part I here) I meant for that post to be exactly that … one post. But there was just too much, too many pictures, too much information so I had to split the post in two.

You’ll notice where it’s possible, I’ve linked to the various farms that sell at our farmer’s market.  I am not being compensated in any way to do this.  It’s my tiny way of helping to support our local farmers.  Click on the links to find out more about the farm or what they sell there.

So we pick up today where we left off. At my very favourite part of the market …

Flowers!

$5 a bunch

Flowers

 

 

All grown by the vendor.

mixed flowers

 

 

You’ve never seen more beautiful flowers in your life.

cocks comb

 

 

market flowers

 

FARMER’S TIP!

If you get yellow pollen from the stamens of Lilies on your clothing, DON’T rub or brush at it.  Remove it with a sticky roller brush or masking tape.

market flowers2

 

 

My favourite flower at the market … millet.  Millet is used for birdseed & for filling juggling balls!

Millet

 

Without a doubt, the best smelling booth at the market.

 The Bee & Me sells honey and beeswax products including candles (plus they’re one of the few vendors to sell their wares on-line)

 

FARMER’S TIP!

The taste of honey varies depending on the types of flowers the bees harvest from.  Blueberry Honey is harvested from blueberry fields, wildflower honey is harvested from wildflowers etc. etc.  The wildflower honey will vary in taste depending on which part of the country and what time of year the honey is produced.  Some honeys (pumpkin honey) can only be produced for very short periods of time every year.  If you’re looking for a very dark, earthy honey with far less sweetness, go for buckwheat honey.

Honey

 

 

This cinnamon honey was not harvested from cinnamon fields … it was flavoured.

honey 2

 

 

You might not expect to find a meat locker at a farmer’s market, but there it was.

Pasture raised Dexter beef from Black Walnut Lane fed a diet of grass, supplemented with corn and hay grown on the farm.

At $10 a steak, it’s about the same price as a grocery store steak.  Your money is more wisely spent on this steak for an infinite number of reasons.

Meat

 

 

Manorun Farms is our area community supported agriculture (CSA).  The family raises organic fruits, vegetables and animals on their 40 acre farm which they sell at local markets and in shares which you either pick up or get delivered to your door.  How much fun is that??  Surprise vegetables all season long!

mano run farm

 

Market 2

 

 

The one thing people have a hard time getting used to is that organic/locally grown vegetables sometimes look … weird.

Take these carrots for example, they look … weird.  The soil was a bit hard and they grew all squiggly.  Not at all like the perfectly straight carrots you get at the grocery store.  Which is exactly why I love them.

Carrots

 

 

And you would never find such a rude looking potato in the potato bin at your local grocery store.  Children would be forced to avert their eyes as the produce manager was called. OH MY GOD AN IMPERFECT VEGETABLE!!!!

weird potato

 

 

Leaves might have bites and nibbles out of them.  Deal with it.  As my dad, and countless other old men have said … if you happen to eat a bug don’t worry about it … it adds protein.  (disclaimer:  the vegetables don’t have bugs, I was just making a point)

Kohlrabi 2

 

 

Our farmer’s market also comes complete with an antique instrument playing mannequin.  Fun!

Busker

 

 

It also comes complete with healthy, handome young men holding breasts to their breasts.

FARMER’S TIP!

Chicken can be confusing.

Here’s a guide to what it all means.

Organic – Drug free chickens fed only organic food.

Antibiotic Free – Chickens are drug free, but not fed all organic grain.

Free Range – Chickens are given space to roam and venture outside.

Like here at Fenwood Farms.

organic chicken 2

 

 

Certified organic chicken costs a lot more than a regular chicken.  After watching countless videos on poorly treated chickens smashed into warehouses so tight they can’t even more their wings, I’m willing to pay the extra $5.  After falling in love with and raising my own little chickens to adulthood I’m willing to pay even more than that.

organic chicken

 

 

Kay, I don’t really go for this sort of thing, but even I think these look delicious.

baked goods

 

 

Just not as delicious as this.

baked goods 2

 

 

The local flower growers also grow mushrooms, which even though I’m not a huge fan of eating, I am a huge fan of photographing.

mushrooms 3

 

Mushrooms

 

mushrooms 2

 

 

I don’t claim to eat only organic or even only locally.  I wanted asparagus last night (which isn’t in season) so I went out and bought some asparagus.  From Costco no less.

But I am thinking more about what I buy.  On the same grocery trip, I bypassed the Costco eggs and went to a shop I knew I could buy eggs from free range chickens.

This eating better, supporting your local farmer, treating animals more humanely if you choose to eat them “thing” isn’t an all or nothing deal.  You don’t have to feel guilty about buying a supermarket chicken or picking up some cherries that were grown in Chile.  Instead, feel good about yourself because you did stop at the side of the road to buy some corn.  Or picked up your potatoes from a local farmer.

Do what you can and be happy with yourself for doing it.

Finally … I cannot encourage you enough to visit your local farmer’s market.  If for no other reason than it’s fun.


50 Comments

  1. The carrots that are pin-straight are usually grown in sandy soil, which gives little resistance against the root. But it also has far less nutritional value… or taste… I bet those are tasty carrots.

    • Karen says:

      Jesse – I wouldn’t know, I couldn’t buy them. They grossed me out. LOL. (I actually bought the carrots the week before and they kindda tasted like dirt in a very good way. Delicious) ~ karen

  2. Mr.Potatoe is all balls and no bat! lol…. I agree with all the above, well said!

    C.

  3. Laura Watt says:

    but how do I get lily pollen off my white counters?

    What a pain.

    • Karen says:

      Laura – Depending on the counter … The Magic Eraser. Use cautiously though … it is abrasive and can scratch. Make sure you wet it first and you should be fine. ~ karen

  4. Nancy (aka moneycoach) says:

    Karen tx sooo much for this post. It’s something I increasingly care about ESP since watching Meat Inc in summer 2009. I’ve since managed to source meat from Alberta organic farms that also treat the livestock with respect and humanely. Your post is at once compelling and non judgmental. Hat tip. I’m homesick for farmers markets!

  5. Another great post. I loved yesterday’s post and I love todays. Am off to the farmers market this Saturday as it has been something I’ve been meaning to do and you’ve just given me the push to go.

  6. Cathy says:

    Hi,
    Really liked poor Mr. Potato! It’s almost a shame to have to cook him but potatoes get all shrivel-y and limp and that wouldn’t be good.
    You mentioned kohlrabi in your last post. My grandparents (from Slovakia) grew kohlrabi and always had some when we to visit when I was a kid. It’s very good raw but I didn’t really like it cooked. The taste is a cross between a raw potato and a radish – at least that’s what it tasted like to me.
    Hope you took some of those flowers home.
    Cathy

  7. mimi says:

    I couldn’t agree more re the organic chickens. I started buying organic and couldn’t believe the flavour and how little water came out during cooking. Even though per kilo they’re dear, you get more met and less rubbish for your money.
    And the meat is more filling.
    And if you make stock with the leftovers, you get amazing soup.
    And it’s better for you to eat meat that had a life.

    Ok, you see I’m a convert!
    but i agree with your “Do what you can and be happy with yourself for doing it.”

  8. mimi says:

    sorry, meant more meat, not met!
    Though if the “met” was organic??

  9. Marti says:

    Great pictures today, Karen. The flowers were particularly spectacular. And I like the “doesn’t have to be all or nothing” attitude. It works.

    Cya tomorrow!

  10. Anita says:

    Nice flowers, I will have to send you a pic from my flower lady. She also sells quince when they come in season. They make a a great arrangement and make your room smell lovely.

  11. BTLover2 says:

    I loved going along with you to the Farmer’s Market, Karen. And it’s true… I have a hard time buying things that don’t look “perfect.” It’s actually kind of sad the amount of time I spend trying to find the best shaped, blemish free, beautifully colored fruit or veggie. I am going to try harder to be less picky and definitely going to be at my local market more often (when the temps aren’t at 108). As always, the best articles and information!

    • Karen says:

      Sherry – Thanks! I’m the same way with produce in the grocery store. Obsessive one might say. But once I get to a farm or a market it all goes out the window. 🙂 ~ karen

  12. Cynna says:

    Great photos! Millet is also used as people-food. It’s prepared like rice or quinoa and it’s delicious!

  13. lynn says:

    Karen ~ Won’t you be enjoying your own eggs soon enough? With the Green Fakers seal of freshness and clean living, I bet they will be yummy! Watch out for double yolkers – when the hen is young sometimes
    they put two in there – sometimes forget to put one in at all! Ours just started laying and they are small little starter eggs – so cute!!

    • Karen says:

      Lynn – The hens are just 15 weeks so … technically they *could* lay eggs, but most of them don’t even have combs yet. 🙁 One looks quite mature even though she’s the same age as everyone else. She has a big comb and waddle thingee and they’re bright red. So … she’ll probably be the first to lay! ~ karen

  14. Jo says:

    Even growing up in the giant parking lot of suburban GTA, my mother went to the weekly farmer’s market since I could remember. It was such a part of our routine, I thought it was the “normal” place to get your vegetables and fruits. She always had a favourite “potato guy” and a “flower guy” etc… Buying produce from the people who grew it was just the logical thing to do. I’m glad that part of my childhood stuck with me, now that I’m on my own.

  15. Cheryl in Wisconsin says:

    You’re awesome. That’s it, nothing else from me today.

  16. angela says:

    I think I need to check out your local market!!! The honey lady is also at the Georgetown market on Sat. mornings, she has the most yummy honey. She also sells her own eggs which last much longer than anything i have ever bought in the store. Hear hear on the chickens, organic does taste better!

  17. Babie Knoop says:

    If we had met in another life / place / time … I’m pretty sure we would have been buddies! I make my whole family read your blog…if they don’t I read it “to” them so they can laugh and be entertained by someone a lot like me. LOVE LOVE your blog! It makes me feel NOT crazy!

  18. Kelly says:

    Great post. Out west at our farmer’s market we don’t have quite so many gorgeous flowers but all the other products. Having a connection with our food is so important and you are right we should do what we can. Plus, the taste is unbelievable. Good work Karen.

  19. Talia says:

    Excellent post. I am lucky enough to live across the street from the lady who sells flowers at our farmer’s market. Her yard, as you could well imagine, is stunning. I am so jealous of her.

    Love your blog!

  20. Another Karen says:

    Another aspect I like about shopping at a farmer’s market is getting to know the vendors. My flower lady always asks how my mom is doing, to tell her hello, etc. The egg vendor has the freshest eggs…chicken, duck, quail and some kind of specialty Chinese duck egg that I’m not going to try but others have said is pretty tasty. Today is the day for me, so I’m off. Have a great day!

  21. Liz S. says:

    We love our local farmers market and the local road side stands. I stopped yesterday to pick up some tomatoes. My son was very excited to tell the lady that we were going to “eat toes”. The lady laughed so heard she sent us home with some extra “toes”. Best “toe” sandwich ever!

  22. Sara says:

    Great post! I will say, shopping at the farmer’s market makes me care more about what’s going on locally. We are in a terrible drought in Texas and seeing some of the usual vendors not show at our market because of the drought makes me incredibly grateful for those blueberries from Canada at my supermarket. We’d all be hurting this year if we were just relying on local produce! It also makes me angry that my neighbors have luscious green lawns and that I got a nasty letter from my HOA for my brown lawn, when I followed the city’s drought-induced watering restrictions and I know my neighbors didn’t! Lawns are A HUGE waste of such a precious resource as water. If we weren’t buying blueberries from Canada and were only shopping at our local market, we would realize this! Ok…rant over!

    • Karen says:

      Sara – We’ve seen the same thing here with our local farmers. First the spring was filled with months and months of unusually cold and rainy weather so the crops weren’t planted until a month later than normal. Then the weather *instantly* changed to blindingly hot (well over 100 many days) and NO rain at all. NONE. Most of the farmers market vendors rely on rain for water. No rain … no produce. 🙁 ~ karen

  23. Steve (Guy holding chickes' breasts so closely lol) says:

    Nice to meet you Karen.
    Great job with your site.

    Have a great day!

    Steve

  24. Alanna says:

    Glad you posted the picture of millet as a “flower!” My birdseed started sprouting millet and I’ve been pulling it out thinking it would just be grassy even though I know what millet looks like. Now I’ll let it grow alongside the sunflowers that are also sprouting from bird seed and I can make both into bouquets!

  25. annemarie says:

    You can actually get free-range eggs, grass-fed chickens, and (I think) grass-fed beef at Costco. I can’t remember the exact label on the meats (and only some of those terms are regulated), but the eggs are definitely healthier because the yolks are orange instead that anemic yellow.

    NOT that I’m saying it’s better than the farmer’s market – that’s local and awesome. I sparkly heart farmer’s markets, knobbly potatoes and carrots and all.

    • Karen says:

      Annemarie – Only *some* Costcos carry those things. Not many in fact. I asked about it a year or so ago. Probably right after watching Food Inc., LOL. Mine … does not carry these things. I was told the more customers that complain or bring the subject up, the more likely they are to carry them. 🙁 ~ karen

  26. charissa says:

    Karen, I love your blog, and I just had to comment on your mention of squiggly carrots, because I got my CSA share today and… well, words won’t do this carrot justice. (If you’re curious, there’s pictures here –> http://squishyfishy.wordpress.com/2011/08/11/csa-week-9-2/)

  27. bex says:

    Hi Karen
    Wishing we had a farmers market like that near us. Its interesting to see the price difference between Canada and South Africa though.. ie.. We would pay around R60.00/kg for a steak like that. If you divide that by 7 it actually makes the steak in your pic look quite expensive. $10.00 frozen steak = R70.00
    yeeps!

    • Karen says:

      Bex – Yup … a good steak (strip loin or tenderloin) costs around $10 a steak for a biggish steak. If you go to Costco (do you have Costco???) a food warehouse, you can get an entire beef tenderloin and cut it yourself. Your steaks end up being around $5 or so that say. ~ karen

  28. Phyllis Kraemer says:

    Thanks Karen!…What a great tour through our Dundas Farmers’ Market!…such fun! Plan B Organics, another vendor also has a CSA program…we are very fortunate in this little community of ours!!

  29. Shauna says:

    We love our CSA – both a meat & vege CSA. I have to say that after eating the beef from the CSA, it actually felt lighter. You know how when you eat beef from a nice restaurant and you feel super weighted down? Not like that at all. I wonder if it’s the difference between corn fed and grass fed (and pesticide free).

    Re: the costco eggs. I recently read an article that Costco is procuring its eggs from local free range and/or organic chicken farms. The eggs in the San Diego costco are from a farm within a couple hours away. May be something to look into for those who don’t have good local farmers markets.

  30. Dru says:

    The farmers wife thanks you.

    Just my husband and I here on our farm. And no mistake about it, he does the work. We raise beef, pork, chicken, eggs, turkey, bees and an occasional flower. And the food tastes better, the chicken cooks up cleaner, the eggs bring tears to my eyes. Yum.

    • Karen says:

      Dru – I can’t believe how spoiled I’ve got with regard to eggs since getting a few chickens. Once an egg is a week and a half old I feel like it’s ready for the garbage, LOL. To me a fresh egg is now no older than a day or two! I’ve become an egg snob! Thanks for the farming you do and the ridiculous amount of work that goes along with it. ~ karen!

  31. Dru says:

    That’s the best kind of spoiled to be! And 3 week old eggs can maybe be peeled from the shell..and egg salad! deviled eggs!! crazy good..

  32. The chicken from Fenwood Farms is so delicious! It’s nice to see a local chicken farm to me getting the kudos they deserve!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Optionally add an image (JPEG only)

The Art of Doing Stuff