Posts Tagged ‘Carp Farmers Market’

The Best of Earthward: 8 ways to shop smarter at farmers markets

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

With so many Ottawa farmers markets opening this month, I thought I’d re-run this popular post from last year on how to shop them smarter.

Photo by Justin Sewell (via Flickr)  Creative Commons license 2.0

Photo by Justin Sewell (via Flickr)
Creative Commons license 2.0

Shopping at farmers markets is one of the joys of the Ottawa growing season. Just-picked produce, newly baked bread, homemade preserves, cooking demonstrations, specialty festivals and fairs: what’s not to love?

You can enjoy the experience even more and shop smarter at the same time by following a few simple steps, says Andy Terauds of Acorn Creek Garden Farm in Carp.  A regular presence at the Ottawa Farmers Market and the Carp Farmers Market, Terauds and his wife, Cindy, grow over 2,000 varieties of fruits and vegetables, as well as flowering and vegetable plants. They also sell Cindy’s preserves under the Naturally Cindy’s label.

1. Buy what you like and what looks good.

It may sound obvious, but Terauds says many customers come to the market with a specific recipe in mind and are disappointed to learn that the ingredients they want aren’t in season.  Instead, buy good-looking produce you know you’ll enjoy and then look for a recipe to go with it.  Most vendors can offer suggestions on how to prepare their produce.

2. Sample the food.

If five vendors are selling asparagus, which one do you buy from? According to Terauds, taste should be the clincher. “Try the samples vendors provide. That’s true for corn, too. If it’s not good raw, it’s not good. Better taste is why people buy local food.”

3. Don’t buy from the cheapest vendor.

Selling cheap can be a sign that the taste or quality isn’t up to snuff. What’s more, when you pay farmers a better price, you reward tehm for their hard work and motivate them to keep improving.

4. Come early.

Produce that sits out in the weather deteriorates through the day, so come early for the freshest, most varied selection. If the market opens at 8 a.m., be there at 8 a.m., Terauds counsels. But don’t come earlier because vendors will be setting up and won’t be able give you their full attention. Besides, every vendor has something that’s in short supply; having to sell it before the market opens means less for people who come during business hours.

Rainbow Heritage

Photo by V. Ward

5. Call ahead for big orders.

Need bushels of produce for canning or preserves? Instead of buying them at the market, call the farmer ahead of time to negotiate a price and arrange for delivery.

6. Bring bags and pay cash.

Depending on the weather, bring waterproof bags for breads and cheeses, or a cooler for anything that deteriorates in warm temperatures, such as soft fruit, dairy products or meat.

Since most vendors don’t take credit or debit cards, bring cash, preferably small bills and change.

7. Dress for the weather.

You’ll have a better time if you’re dressed for the weather so make sure you have the proper gear, including suitable footwear.

. Make the market an event.

Shopping at a farmers market is a social experience and one that appeals directly to the senses. Soak it all in. Make your market visit an event. Have a snack, talk to the vendors, watch a chef demonstrate a new recipe. “It’s a different experience to shopping at a supermarket chain,” Terauds says. “Take advantage of the differences and enjoy them.”

To find the market nearest you, check the Ottawa Farmers Market Guide.

How do you shop at farmers markets? What works for you?

 

Harvest season: a weekend at Ottawa farmers markets

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Harvest season is at its peak in Ottawa these days. This weekend, I soaked up some of the sights, sounds and tastes at the Carp Farmers Market and the Ottawa Farmers Market at Brewer Park. Vendor stalls brimmed with late summer produce, and farmers, food retailers, artisans and customers were out in full force. Here are a few of my photos.

Acorn Creek Garden Farm produces about 600 types of fruit and vegetables, including globe artichokes, tomatillos, hot and chili peppers, sundried tomatoes, orange and purple cauliflower, nearly 50 herbs and more than 40 melon varieties.

 

Carolina Foresti, owner of Carolina’s Box of Goodness, specializes in artisan brownies, custom cakes and dulche de leche (a kind of milk jam similar to caramel but more complex). A native of Brazil, she comes from a long line of pastry chefs and bakers, and creates her treats based on family recipes and French baking techniques.

 

Heather MacMillan of Heather’s Hearth, with husband Patrick, at the Carp Farmers Market. Heather bakes sourdough breads in a wood-fired oven using organic grain from Castor River Farm or organic flour from Mountain Path, an organic and natural foods distributor south of Ottawa.

 

Multi-coloured heirloom beets from Rainbow Heritage Garden. This certified organic, off-grid farm near Cobden produces 200-plus varieties of fruits, vegetables, nuts and drying beans, with a focus on heirloom types. It also offers a CSA program.

 

Artist and farmer Rosemary Kralik raises free-range Tibetan yak, Highland beef, sheep and goats at Tiraislin Fold, her 722-acre farm in the Lanark Highlands. Her animals are raised without growth hormones or antibiotics, on high-quality, pesticide-free local forage.

 

A glimpse of guests eating family-style at the Savour Ottawa Harvest Table, held at Brewer Park on August 18. At the event, some of the Ottawa region’s finest chefs prepared unique dishes with seasonal local ingredients from local farmers. This photo was taken through an arbour at the amazing Brewer Park Community Garden.

 

Do you go to farmers markets? What do you enjoy most and least about them?

 

8 ways to shop smarter at farmers markets

Friday, May 17th, 2013

 

Photo: Kristopher Fritters, from Flickr

Shopping at farmers markets is one of the joys of the Ottawa growing season. Just-picked produce, newly baked bread, homemade preserves, cooking demonstrations, specialty festivals and fairs: what’s not to love?

You can enjoy the experience even more and shop smarter at the same time by following a few simple steps, says Andy Terauds of Acorn Creek Garden Farm in Carp.  A regular presence at the Ottawa Farmers Market and the Carp Farmers Market, Terauds and his wife, Cindy, grow over 2,000 varieties of fruits and vegetables, as well as flowering and vegetable plants. They also sell Cindy’s preserves under the Naturally Cindy’s label.

  1. Buy what you like and what looks good.

It may sound obvious, but Terauds says many customers come to the market with a specific recipe and are disappointed if the ingredients they want aren’t in season.  Instead, it works better to buy good-looking produce you know you’ll enjoy and then look for a recipe to go with it.  Most vendors can offer suggestions on how to prepare their produce.

  1. Sample the food.

If five vendors are selling asparagus, which one do you buy from? According to Terauds, taste should be the clincher. “Try the samples vendors provide. That’s true for corn, too. If it’s not good raw, it’s not good. Better taste is why people buy local food.”

  1. Don’t buy from the cheapest vendor.

Selling cheap can be a sign that the taste or quality isn’t up to snuff. What’s more, when you pay better prices, you reward farmers for their hard work and motivate them to keep improving.

  1. Come early.

Fruit and veg that sit out in the weather deteriorate through the day, so come early for the freshest, most varied selection. If the market opens at 8 a.m., be there at 8 a.m., Terauds counsels. But don’t come earlier because vendors will be setting up and won’t be able give you their full attention. Besides, every vendor has something that’s in short supply; having to sell it before the market opens means less for people who come during business hours.

  1. Call ahead for big orders.

Need bushels of produce for canning or preserves? Don’t try to buy them at the market. Call the farmer ahead of time to negotiate a price and arrange for delivery.

  1. Bring bags and pay cash.

Depending on the weather, bring waterproof bags for breads and cheeses, or a cooler for anything that deteriorates in warm temperatures, such as soft fruit, dairy or meat.

Since most vendors don’t take credit or debit cards, bring cash, preferably small bills and change.

  1. Dress for the weather.

You’ll have a better time if you’re dressed for the weather so make sure you have the proper gear, including suitable footwear.

  1. Make the market an event.

Shopping at a farmers market is a social experience and one that appeals directly to the senses. Soak it all in. Make your market visit into an event. Have a snack, talk to the vendors, watch a chef demonstrate a new recipe. “It’s a different experience to shopping at a supermarket chain,” Terauds says. “Take advantage of the differences and enjoy them.”

The May 16 Ottawa Citizen offers a rundown of what’s new and exciting at area markets this season. To find the market nearest you, check the Ottawa Farmers Market Guide.

What’s your favourite farmers market in the Ottawa area? What do you enjoy about it most?