There’s no better outing on a gorgeous summer day than a trip to the local farmers’ market. Whether you’re on a mission to collect a bounty of fresh cherries and peaches for your fruit cobbler, or are happy just wandering aimlessly, picking up whatever seasonal ingredients tickle your fancy, it’s hard not to get excited about all of the bright colours and scents. Heck, after a winter of cabbage, onions, potatoes and root veg as the only local options, it’s pretty thrilling to have alternatives for lighter textures and flavours. Here are seven vendors at the Calgary Farmers’ Market that are definitely worth checking out, for local produce and otherwise.
A family owned and operated business, Yum produces everything from comfort classics, like cheese buns and carrot cake, to more intricate French macarons and other patisserie desserts. When it’s too hot outside to turn on the oven, pick up dessert and a nice loaf of bread to accompany dinner. No one has to know.
Some of my fondest summer memories trace their roots back to my grandma’s vegetable garden: pulling carrots straight out of the ground and brushing off the dirt before chowing down like a rabbit. The carrots from Innisfail Growers are about the closest I’ve come across in sweetness and crunch to homegrown ones. A co-op between several farms, including Beck Farms and Edgar Farms, Innisfail Growers offers everything from fingerling potatoes to kohlrabi.
Blush Lane Organics
What’s better than fresh produce? How about fresh, organic produce? It’s not all about the fruits and vegetables though, as delicious as they may be. It also carries Vital Green Farms organic dairy, and if you’ve never tried itseir heavy cream (over 50 per cent milk fat, much more than they typical 35 per cent, but who’s counting?), you’re missing out. It’s so thick, you can add a pinch of sugar and pour it over fruit as is, no whipping required.
Silver Sage Beef
Buying grocery store meat isn’t always the most transparent venture, so if you want to know more about where your beef comes from, check out Silver Sage. It offers a variety of less common cuts, and you can rest assured that what you’re eating – beef raised in a humane environment without hormones or antibiotics – came from some pretty happy animals.
Located in Oliver, B.C., Souto Farms brings plenty of nature’s goodies to the Calgary Farmer’s Market, especially during the summer. From cherries, peaches, and plums in June and July, to apples and pears come September and October, you can get your sugar fix the healthy way – with fruit!
Field Stone Fruit Wines
Thought wine was only produced in B.C. and Ontario? Well, you thought wrong! It’s not your typical vino from grapes, but wines made from Saskatoon berries, raspberries, currants and the like are surprisingly delicious. Add them to sangria for a more interesting concoction.
The Cucumber Man
If the recipe you’re making calls for cucumbers, tomatoes, or peppers, or if you just want to bite in any of those, look no further than The Cucumber Man! Its greenhouses produce some of the best herbicide- and pesticide-free vegetables in the province and they are available throughout a good part of the year. You have to try the zebra-striped cherry tomatoes, and the pickling cucumbers make the perfect, crunchy snack, no pickling required.