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Posts Tagged ‘farmer’s market’

Yesterday, we went into town, as we had to pay the electrician (or, rather, put some cash on the visa to pay the electrician with…apparently nobody takes cash anymore…).  Wednesday and Saturday being Farmer’s Market days, and the market having posted on facebook that a BC fruit truck was coming, we decided to give it one more chance.

 

Unfortunately, it still sucked.

 

The “BC fruit truck” was a guy with a van and boxes of cherries, peaches, and apricots, a far cry from the reefer semi unit shading groaning tables of peaches, plums, cherries, raspberries, blackberries, nectarines, tomatoes, peppers, blueberries, and grapes that my mind conjures up when I hear the words “BC fruit truck”.  It must be an Alberta thing.  The other vendors still just had one or two things – maybe a couple of onions and some jars of jam, or a few types of baking, or a couple bunches of beets or bags of new potatoes.  None of the tables looked all that impressive.

 

Disappointed, we headed off to the Co-op grocery, as their flyer advertised decent sales on peaches and blueberries.  On the way, though, we saw a 5-ton truck with “Fruit and Vegetable Stand” painted on the side, parked in a vacant lot.

 

“Ooh, ooh, ooh”, I gestured at Hubby, but unfortunately, his ESP was on the fritz, and we passed the stand before he figured out what I was getting at.  We actually had to drive halfway around town (stupid construction) to get back to the stand, going the right direction (stupid median), but actually, it was worth the impromptu tour of the city.

 

They had raspberries.  Big trays, loaded with raspberries, and lots of them.  And carrots, and beets, and saskatoon berries, onions, new potatoes, and cabbages.   THIS was what I had been expecting to find at the Farmer’s Market.  I made a comment to that effect, and asked why they were not there.  The fella running the stand told us that they used to participate, but had been asked to leave, because they “had too much stuff”, and were not complying with the market’s fixed prices.  Had too much stuff?  Huh?

 

Now, I have no idea if this is actually true, but I can’t think of a reason for the fella to lie.  The fruit and veggie stand was great, though, and we bought 10 pounds of raspberries, and have plans to go back, particularly around corn season, as they said they do have corn.  If the guy was telling the truth, that would explain why the actual Farmer’s Market is so pathetic, with each table having only a couple of things, and also why the prices are so high.  What I don’t understand, though, is why any organizer would pursue policies that so obviously hurt their market…

 

At any rate, we still stopped at the Co-op on the way home, and got 8 pounds of blueberries (from BC, yay!), and 17 pounds of peaches (from California, boo!).  We headed home, and I did a marathon session of canning, getting 7 pints of canned raspberries, plus a batch of jam, done before bedtime.  I knew the forecast for today was +30, and so far, the weatherman has been pretty accurate.  Today, I did up some flavored liquor (set a couple pints of blueberries in vodka to soak for a nice midwinter drink), and some flavored vinegar (the same, but with white wine vinegar, for vinegarette salad dressings later).  I also picked a big handful of basil from the front bed, and put it in vinegar to soak…apparently herbed vinegars are quite the specialty item.   Since we scooped up six 250 ml jars of white wine vinegar on an excellent sale ($1 each) a few weeks back, I have no reason to skimp!  I have been a little obsessed with preserving in alcohol and vinegar this year, partly because it is so quick.  Last year I made up peach and raspberry vodkas, and they were a smash hit, prompting a whole range of new flavors this year…

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Back in Alberta, we used to drive to a nearby town in the summertime, and get cases of fruit, fresh from BC, for $25 to $35 per 20 pound case.  Peaches, plums, nectarines, concorde grapes, even tomatoes, you name it.  The lady ran the stand, sometimes with her daughter, while her husband was back in BC, picking fruit at their mixed organic farm, or arranging to sell other growers’ produce cooperatively.  We had consistent access to relatively cheap, definitely high quality, tasty produce, Wednesday through Saturday, just a ten minute drive from our house.  The lady would even set cases of stuff aside for regular customers, and additionally had less-pretty fruit available for a discount, if she knew you were into canning.  In the autumn, there were several Taber corn trucks that also tended to spring up,as well,  from which you could buy a 72-cob bag of premium Taber sweet corn, for under $50.

 

This town is not going to be like that, I’m afraid.

 

Based on having been spoiled in Alberta, I assumed I could continue to pick up whatever I might need, for a reasonable price.  So far, however, there has been only one fruit stand in evidence, and when Hubby and I dropped by to check it out, the quoted prices were nuts ($85 for a 20-pound case of sweet cherries, $60 for a case of nectarines).  In addition, more than half of the fruit in the trays had little store stickers on them, indicating they had come from Washington, California, and Chile.  So much for fresh BC fruit.

 

We thought maybe the farmer’s market would be a little better, and we went there today, since we happened to be in town on market day.  We were hoping to find some reasonably-priced raspberries, as canned raspberries are a staple around here.  The one fella who had brought raspberries had already sold out, and anyways, the prices were not all that reasonable – $5 for about a pint.  We’re used to paying $10 at a U-pick for a gallon bucket.

 

We wandered around the market, and were generally really disappointed.  Outside of the guy who was out of raspberries, there was a table that had two onions and two pints of red currants, a few tables selling jams and pickles, three tables of baking, a seller offering various sausages and meat, and a table full of green and yellow wax beans.  Where were the new potatoes?  The snap peas?  The saskatoon berries?  We have been harvesting all of these here at the Acreage.  I know for a fact that summer squash and salad greens and radishes and dill are all ready right now, as well as basil, strawberries, sunflowers, baby beets, and who-knows-what-else…all of these things should, in theory, be on the tables at that market.  This town is at least two or three times the size of the Alberta town where our little fruit stand was, and all of these things would be on offer at that farmer’s market right now, along with cucumbers, hothouse tomatoes and peppers, flower bunches, stone-oven-baked fresh bread, local fruit wines, freshwater fish, and BC fruit.

 

Maybe next year, we’ll plant a bigger garden and add some variety to that sad little market.  I am really worried about how we are going to source local fruit and veggies that we haven’t grown for ourselves.  I think our corn, and maybe also our cukes and squashes went in too late to bear in the short season we have, and outside of wildcrafted berries, we don’t have any fruit here at the Acreage at all.  I guess we could buy stuff from the Co-op or Safeway, but I hate to spend that kind of money and see it all go to the middlemen, rather than the farmers.   Not a happy camper, here…

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