Category: Farmer’s Market

Sunworks Farm

Sunworks Farm

Sheila is very passionate when she talks about her farm and the way that the animals are treated humanely and respectfully.  Coming from an indigenous background myself, this is something that has always been important to me. The animals should be treated well, killed humanely and we should use as many parts from snout to tail as we are able.  Sunworks does all those things.

Their farm was started because their daughter had such severe allergies and food sensitivities that they needed to be able to grow their own food.  They started out feeding themselves and through a few requests started raising a little bit more, and a little bit more until it grew into what it is today.  No farming background. Amazing!

Free range, BCSPCA certified humane, grass fed, certified organic and “as close to nature as possible”.

These folks are passionate about their farm and their animals and it shows.  The end products are delicious, good for you AND celiac safe and allergy free.  The Chicken Moroccan sausages are so good.

I was lucky enough to be able to attend “Family Farm Day” at the beginning of September to see where my food comes from.  This is an annual event put on by Sheila and family where you can come out and meet everyone, have lunch and a farm tour.

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I am guessing there were about 800 people in attendance.  The weather was pretty crappy that day, so they cleaned out one of the winter chicken coops for everyone to gather in.  We had some lovely live entertainment while we were waiting.

Lunch was simple elegance.  Smoked chicken wings with organic salad and apples for dessert. It was delicious!

After lunch we got to see some happy animals!  The turkeys and chickens are about as “free range” as it gets.  They are in outdoor shelters, but the buildings are moveable. So they get to run around and just “be”.

All of the meat is processed on site.  Always treated respectfully. They gave their lives so that we could be nourished.  These folks have their family values that they live by and refuse to compromise quality.

If you are like me and have a hard time making it out to the farmer’s markets on the weekend, you can try Blush Lane Organic Market, or Planet Organic on Jasper Avenue to find the chicken, turkey, beef, pork and eggs.

You can taste the difference!

Twitter: @sunworksfarm

Instagram: https://instagram.com/sunworks_farm

 

OSFM Quarterly Local Food Tour – Picnic Edition

OSFM Quarterly Local Food Tour – Picnic Edition

One of the most epic places in the city of Edmonton to be able to support your local small businesses, find sustainable and healthy food choices and get that “Farm to Fork” experience is the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market

The market started outdoors in 1983 in the space that is now the free parking.  It is now Edmonton’s largest year-round indoor market with approximately 10,000 people through the door each Saturday. 

A team of Edmonton bloggers was invited to a meet and greet with some of the local producers and farmers this past weekend.  This was their first “food tour” and they called it the “Picnic Edition”. 

It was an early start for some, but the market gets busy (and quite crowded) quickly.


After we were all introduced to our lovely Hostess, April, we were on our way to our first stop which was Sunworks Farm

Sheila was very passionate when she was talking about her farm and the way that the animals are treated humanely and respectfully.  Coming from an indigenous background myself, this is something that has always been important to me.  The animals should be treated well, killed humanely and we should use as many parts from snout to tail as we are able.  Sunworks does all those things. 

Their farm was started because their daughter had such severe allergies and food sensitivities that they needed to be able to grow their own food.  They started out feeding themselves and through a few requests started raising a little bit more, and a little bit more until it grew into what it is today.  No farming background.  Amazing! 

Free range, BCSPCA certified humane, grass fed, certified organic and “as close to nature as possible”.

These folks are passionate about their farm and their animals and it shows.  The end products are delicious, good for you AND celiac safe and allergy free.  The Chicken Moroccan sausages are so good. 

 

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Sunworks has an open farm day on September 3.  Go and meet the family, have lunch and get a tour.  You need to REGISTER to attend.  See you there!  

 


Our next stop is now one of my new favourite things to eat!  

Alex from Golomein Noodle House introduced us to his fresh, healthy and convenient meal packs.

There is always a lovely story on how every small business started and Alex’s story is inspiring as well:

“Our Dad developed the recipe initially 52 years ago where he worked the streets of Brunei, as a hawker trying to earn enough money to support a family of 10.  Struggling agains all odds, he developed the awesome recipe he would later bring to North America”.

He made his noodles only to serve his friends, family and coworkers charging them only for their gas and their time it took them to visit his home.  He even delivered packages to his mother who always looked forward to the tasty treat. 

The fabulous noodles caught on and before long, everyone wanted more.  People searched for the delicious meals, but they were at the mercy of whenever Dad felt like making them and his kitchen was the only place this amazing taste could be found.

Alex, the youngest was unable to sleep one night , so he decided to do a marathon session of watching 5 episodes of “Dragon’s Den”.  Tired of beating his head in the corporate world, he decided a change was in order.

It brought back memories of the work his Dad put into his noodle recipe that he created over 50 years ago.  The noodles were so good that Alex’s childhood friend, Paris, would rid his way too small bike halfway across the city just to eat the noodles. 

Recognizing the incredible opportunity before him, he immediately told his 2 brothers, Albert and Allen.  Alex’s enthusiasm was infectious and it didn’t take much convincing to persuade his 2 siblings to join his quest to bring their dad’s noodle recipe to the masses.  All 3 brothers were excited about continuing their beloved Dad’s legacy and making noodles for future generations.”

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For the meal packs, the noodles are lovingly prepared and then packaged in a neatly folded square of butcher paper.  They are then frozen.  They are sold individually ($11) or in packages of 5 ($50).  You simply pop the frozen package, paper and all in the microwave for 5 to 6 minutes and then unfold the package to open and enjoy!  You don’t even need to transfer the contents to a plate or bowl.  They are available in beef or pork.  

If you crave them like I do, the family has a restaurant waaaaay in the south with a more varied menu. Worth the drive!


Next stop was Mojo Jojo Pickles and Preserves.  Johwanna has been an Edmonton staple for many years now.  She is definitely a pickling artist and knows how to make the vinegar bend to her will!

Salted caramel pear butter… Do I even need to say anything else?  We were treated to some very lovely marscapone grilled cheese sandwiches with some equally lovely pear butter to dip it in.  This was simply joy on the tongue!  The pear butter would go well with so many things, as do many of her pickled veggies.  Charcuterie anyone? 

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Johwanna was also sampling “Shrubs” which is a drinking vinegar.  I had no idea how tasty they are.  I am a new fan!  

If you can’t make it to the market, Johwanna has a store on the website where you can purchase most of the products. 


Nancy from Market Pizza was our next stop.  “Delicious take & bake pizza made with the finest ingredients”.   The booth smells amazing!  They offer samples all day. 

If you would like to make your own creation, they also offer frozen, ready-made crusts.  They have a secret recipe that makes it the lightest pizza crust that I have ever come across. It is not a thin crust, but it is light and airy, almost like the dough is whipped before baking.  

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The take & bake pizzas are frozen and are $15 each.  There are some amazing flavours available and it will be a different mix every Saturday at the market.  I tried the Bacon Cheeseburger and the Donair pizzas.  It was like you were eating a cheeseburger or a donair, just a flat version without the traditional bun or wrap.  Both of them were delicious, but my favourite out of the two was the donair pizza.  A donair eating experience without all the mess!  

I can’t wait to get my hands on another.  


Monica with Rainbow Acres was our next stop.  Berry farm extraordinaire!! 

How Rainbow Acres farms differently:

From Dave’s own market garden specific equipment to their modified old granary pack house, Dave and Monica are masters at making use of materials to fit their needs. This kind of instinctual innovation is part of what makes their operation so unique.

Their incredible variety of crops is a result of their eagerness to try anything new that comes to their attention. They like to “dabble” in many crops to see what will thrive on their land and add to their already diverse produce offerings. Anytime something new comes up, they want to try it out.

When they started in 1989, Dave and Monica were cautioned against doing fruits and veggies at the same time because their harvest seasons overlapped. While it can be an intense work load, they’ve been making it work for years. While most of their fruit is used in processing their delicious jams, jellies and juices, in her commercial kitchen Monica also processes many of the veggies that are leftover from market. To make sure none of their product ever goes to waste, Rainbow Acres regularly donates left over fresh produce to the Edmonton and Leduc Food Banks.

And those are just the Coles notes!  Rainbow Acres is famous for their carrots, but they have a wide selection of preserves to choose from at the market.  These are some hard working farmers!  

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I used to help my Grandmother with the canning, pickles and jam.  It’s a lot of hard work!  Rainbow Acres makes it easy for you to stock up for the winter and to pop a few of their products into a gift basket at Christmas time (its close folks!) 


Martina’s Vegan House, where veggies are sexy, is up next. 

I got the impression that the Peanut Brittle is what Martina’s passion is.  Vegan Peanut Brittle is available in the regular version, or the spicy version.  The spicy version is amazing.  

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Martina has frozen vegan meals, soups and stews at her booth for all of you folks that are passionate about plant based eating!


Doef’s Greenhouses visit was a bit of an eye opener.  The family has been farming since 1979.  What is grown today is all done hydroponically in greenhouses which allows vegetable production all year round.  Currently the greenhouses span 11 acres and employ 50 people. I had no idea that we even had such an operation near Edmonton.  

Tomatoes are what they started with, their grape tomatoes are juicy and full of flavour. The main crops continue to be Long English cucumbers, mini cucumbers, tomatoes, and bell peppers, with small amounts of eggplant and hot peppers as well.

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Birds & Bees Organic Winery and Meadery was the next stop.  My Grandfather kept bees so I was fortunate to see the whole process of how the honey was extracted from the hives.  A sweet treat for me as a child was to be able to chew on the beeswax that had a bit of honey left behind.  As an adult I still love the smell of beeswax and used to be obsessed with making candles. 

From the website: 

“Birds & Bees Organic Winery and Meadery straddles the fine line between naughty and nice – and sometimes more. Flirtatiously flavored and seductively styled, our full-bodied wines and mead are always up for a one night stand or an evening rendezvous. 

But, you can’t have your Marilyn Monroe without your Jackie-O.

A little restraint can make a true romance.

So how do you like it? The purity and innocence of the Bird? Or the seductive tease of the Bee?”

The statement above from the website sums things up quite nicely.  Naughty names like “Kinky Cranberry” and “Big Tease Raspberry” adorn the bottles.  If you visit the website, it gives you the sassy profile of the wine and tells you what it pairs best with.  

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The wines and meads are available at some liquor stores in Edmonton. Liquor Connect can help you find them! 


Ben was next up with Farm Fresh Lamb/Blacksheep Farm 

Another reason why I love the farmer’s market: Sustainably grown & humanely treated without the use of animal by-products or growth promotants.  No antibiotics, no animal by-products.  The sheep are fed a mixture of oats, barley, yellow peas and alfalfa hay grown on the farm in the Peace Country, and allowed to pasture graze during the summer months.

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I find that when you treat the animals well and give them a good diet, the meat tastes much better.  With lamb, if it is butchered properly, it doesn’t have that “gamey” taste that a lot of people complain about.  I am going to be looking up all kinds of lamb recipes now!  

 


Last, but certainly not least was Sean from Mighty Trio.  (no website)  From Organic Box:
 
“Mighty Trio Organics is a family owned and operated business located on a beautiful acreage just outside of Redwater Alberta. They are both a manufacturer and distributer of highly nutritious, fresh foods such as hemp, flax, and canola oils. This allows them the opportunity to interact directly with customers and seed producers. By bringing people closer to the farms where their food is grown they are able to provide the freshest, most nutrient rich foods available. Mighty Trio Organics values the environment and supports local businesses, which is why they only use seeds that are grown as close to their facility as possible. By supporting Mighty Trio Organics you are also supporting local farmers and because their products have not traveled great distances, you are also making a friendlier choice for our planet. Mighty Trio Organics provides you and your family with the fats, fibers, proteins and nutrients essential for healthy bodies and minds. To your good health!”

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Smoke Point” is a thing.  Hemp is not recommended for frying.  Canola on the other hand has a pretty high smoke point compared to other oils.  So the hemp and flax oils are great for salad dressings etc.  In fact Culina has done a collaboration project with Mighty Trio to make their salad dressing. 

This food tour was an absolutely wonderful experience.  It gave me the opportunity to get to know the people behind the brand.  I am very passionate about shopping local, but not necessarily someone that will approach the owners to get to know them.  This was very informative and very fun.  

I look forward to meeting more of the vendors for the next round, and sharing them with you! 

 

Native Delights

Native Delights

Here is a little sharing about me…

I am at least ¼ Cree on my father’s side.  My family always told us not to tell anyone about our Aboriginal roots because we would be looked at differently.  I never met my Kookum and that fact makes me sad. I was too young when she passed to know any different.

My father was adopted by his Aunt.  This is the lady that I grew up to call Grandmother.  She was a wonderful lady that raised my Dad and his brother as her own.  She had a huge heart and did a lot of charity work throughout her lifetime.  I really looked up to her. Out of respect, I waited until I was an adult and she had passed to do any kind of searching on my family history.  The first search I did came to a dead end because my Dad’s adoption records were sealed, even though I could identify myself as his daughter.

It struck me really hard as a kid in elementary school.  My brother looks very Aboriginal, looks very much like my father. I got the German looks from my Mom’s side; blonde hair and blue eyes.  Chief Dan George was coming to our school to do a presentation and a healing circle. All the Aboriginal children were allowed to attend and take time off of their regular classes to go.  I asked my teacher but was denied because I “wasn’t aboriginal”. My brother got to enjoy meeting a man that I had looked up to my whole life. I never did get to meet him before he passed a short time later.

That struggle continued for me my whole life.  Wanting to learn, wanting to belong but never fitting in.

Fast forward to meeting Ian and discovering Native Delights

It wasn’t just a restaurant and it is not just a kiosk.  It is an experience.

Ian was born in Treaty 8 territory.  When all the other kids wanted to grow up and play hockey or become doctors or scientists, Ian wanted to cook.  It spoke to him. He did go out and work in the oil patch like just about every Albertan does at some point in their life.  His dream was always to cook, to open that restaurant and he never swayed from that path. Ian overcame a lot of adversity to be where he is today, and I have nothing but love and respect for him and his family.  They are amazing human beings.

When I first experienced one of his bannock burgers, I was hooked from the delicious tastes and textures that hit me.  I am also one of those people that quietly observes (introverted) and you can see the people enjoying themselves and friends going up to talk to Ian.  It was good energy all around.

When Ian got to open a brick and mortar restaurant, I was thrilled!  Now there was flavoured bannock and locally made medicinal teas, stew and more.  I liked how there was no liquor on the menu and it wasn’t even something that Ian was considering.  The atmosphere here was one of family. When you stepped into the restaurant for dinner, many of the people there knew each other.  It was relaxing to be able to enjoy a meal with my family in a space filled with such positive energy.

The restaurant closed its doors a couple of years ago.  I miss it. Native Delights went back on the road with the trailers to different events.  I enjoyed the bannock when I could.

2017 brought back the Native Delights kiosk and “Pânsâwân”.  “Pânsâwân” is traditional dry meat. (Elder Approved!) Thin strips of Buffalo meat that are smoke to dry them.  No salt, no added preservatives. If you like a nice smoky flavour without all the crap that is in commercial jerky, then you really need to get yourself some Pânsâwân.  It is available at both kiosks. The smaller size is $20 and there is a lot of jerky for your money, and much healthier for you!

The kiosk in the Super Flea Market in Edmonton has a separate store area with the Pânsâwân, some products from local makers and Mother Earth Essentials.  I do need to give praise to Mother Earth Essentials. I first discovered their products on a trip to Ft McMurray. The hotel I was staying in uses their shampoo and conditioner in the rooms.  I looked them up and found out that they were Edmonton based and immediately went and bought items for home. Her products are AMAZING. I can see why Ian supports her. Give the store a visit.  The Peppermint and Sage line makes your scalp feel so good.

2018 brought the first franchise for Ian and family.  The Super Flea Market location is now owned by the lovely Melissa, who will be sure to uphold the same quality as Ian would himself.  I attended the grand opening of the kiosk on February 24th.  They know how to put on a party!  It all opens with a prayer… There was free bannock and stew, face painting for the kids, singers and drummers and so much more.  I was sad that I couldn’t stay longer. The place was super busy and the energy was amazing! The drummers overflowed my heart with pride and brought tears to my eyes.

I got to congratulate Ian briefly as he was very busy and also got to meet Melissa.

The menu at the Super Flea kiosk is a little different.  They took over a kiosk that had been there for years churning out breakfast, pub type foods and ice cream. They decided to keep all of these flea market favourites and add the Native Delights menu to it as well.  From what I can see, it works for this space!

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The Bison Bannock Burger is my favourite and the Indian Taco is a close second.  If you follow the Facebook Page, they are very good about getting the daily specials out there for the Athletic Club kiosk.  If you haven’t experienced bannock yet, this is a great place to get started. Their bannock is pretty damn good.

If you see Native Delights out and about on the streets of Edmonton this summer, be sure to stop and grab a burger.  A great local business that supports other great local businesses.

Thank you Ian for all that you do for the Aboriginal community here in Alberta.  Âyihây!

Website:
http://admin5005.wixsite.com/nativedelights

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/nativedelightsfnc

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/NativeDelights

Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/nativedelights/

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Greens, Eggs and Ham Family Farm; It Takes a Village

Greens, Eggs and Ham Family Farm; It Takes a Village

This particular story that was shared with me could probably fill a book, so I will need to condense it down into a few pages and still make sure you get the whole picture.

Andreas and Mary Ellen are a wonderful pair of human beings that were living like any of the rest of us.  Andreas had a job teaching and Mary Ellen was working as an Ultrasonographer.  Andreas had a dream…  He wanted to farm.

The original farm started in 1999 located just south of Edmonton.  Andreas and Mary Ellen were both still working and then coming home and working some more.  They had 10 acres of land with a barn and a house.  The whole story started out with some hogs.

Andreas found himself out of work one day and decided that he would try this whole farming experiment full time.  He started a non-conventional farm that specialized in ducks and heritage vegetables.

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The Colombian Mountain Coffee Company

The Colombian Mountain Coffee Company

To many of us, coffee is life… That first cup in the morning is heavenly, and for some of us, can make the day better.

Local coffee was not something that I had ever planned on, but then I met a couple who are making that happen.

From the website:

“Born and raised in Colombia, Santiago was surrounded by coffee culture and hardworking farmers. Fast forward to today, Santiago’s family now owns a coffee farm of their own and asked if he would bring the family coffee to the Canadian coffee connoisseur. He went one step further and together with his partner in crime, Kristin, threw himself into the world of coffee. Multiple trips to Colombia to tour farms, and to meet the producers and the families who pick the coffee, inspired Santiago and Kristin to start a micro coffee roastery right at home in Alberta!”

This project has been one of passion for this couple.  They have had a lot of roadblocks that they have had to overcome to bring YEG their family’s best.  The business is very new to Edmonton, so they are only available at farmers markets, handmade shows and through their website.  You will be able to find them at the 124 Street Grand Market on Thursday evenings and the Collingwood Farmers Market on Sundays.

They have a small roastery nestled in an industrial area located west on 118 avenue.  If you are very lucky, you will get invited to attend a tasting.

Santiago and Kristin are warm and inviting and will teach you everything that there is to know about coffee. From the growing of the beans, to managing to get the beans shipped back to Canada, and to the whole roasting experience.  Quite a lot of work goes into your morning cup of coffee!  Kristin comes from a teaching background, so she has her photo display boards all ready for her story telling time!

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The coffee is grown ethically/fair trade;  the surrounding farms think that the Santa Rita Farm in Columbia has got a great thing going.  Happy farmers means a great product.

Santiago loves his beans, and it shows!  He will proudly show you the different types of beans that come in for roasting and how each one is different.  The aromas that were in the air during my tour were heavenly.

I was surprised by how short a roasting session actually was.  It was only a few minutes!

Technology does take its effect on roasting as well.  Temperature, humidity, outdoor weather and many other factors go into how the end result will taste.  And the taste…

The Santa Rita Columbian roast is my favourite so far.  I normally like anything from Ethiopia because of the complex flavours that the beans can present.  The Santa Rita is bright and flavourful, and will make you want a second cup!

You will need to keep your eyes on the website to see where the coffee will be available locally.  I am excited to share the journey of this local startup.

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Eden’s Market for YESS is Back!

Eden’s Market for YESS is Back!

Eden’s Market/Jaime’s Corner is a farmer’s market project that started last year.  This is the only market in Edmonton that supports a charity.  All of the stall rental fees go to YESS (Youth Empowerment and Support Services).  Eden’s runs every Sunday from 11am to 4pm and they are located on trendy 124 Street and 106 Avenue.

Eden's Market
Please note – the hours have changed from 11am to 4pm.

Eden’s is a small market with a big heart.  They have a nice selection of vendors, a couple of food trucks, and an area to sit and enjoy food. They also have a face painting area so you can keep the kids occupied while you are shopping.

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124 Street Grand Market – Sense of Community

124 Street Grand Market – Sense of Community

124 Street Grand Market is now in it’s third year. Located on 124 Street and 108 avenue, it has a different feel from any other Farmer’s Market that I have attended in the past.

Kirsta Franke, the Market Director, has brought together a unique atmosphere and a sense of community. There is always a DJ or live music, food vendors, craft vendors and food trucks. The market runs rain or shine from 4pm to 8pm every Thursday until October 9th.

I like to pop by the market for a lot of different things and hope to make it a habit this year.  124 Street is full of restaurants and great shops.  The business association already has a sense of community and Kirsta has managed to carry on this spirit to to the market.  I always recognize a face or two every time I attend.

For my food truck followers, you always have Cookie Love which brings their handcrafted cookie ice-cream sandwiches to the market.  They will usually greet you at the entrance of the market.  Don’t wait to get your dessert first, there is only so many cookies to go around and you might miss out if you don’t pick one up right away. (I have done this a couple of times.)

There are always a handful of food trucks to choose from.  At the Grand Opening they had Drift, Little Village, Orbit, Sailin’ On and The Fruit Truck.

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