Lifestyles

MARKET FRESH: Selection of foods and goods ever-changing at Coquitlam and PoCo markets

One of my favourite things about markets is the ever-changing selection of produce and vendors. Each week brings something new to try.

This past week saw both the Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam markets expanding. New farmers have come on board, as have new prepared food and craft vendors.

And not only are there new vendors, many of the regular vendors are introducing new items. Farmers will try a new variety of fruit or vegetable, prepared food vendors often have new recipes and crafters seem to need to create different products regularly.

Red Barn Farms added wine vinegars to its booth. Produced in the Okanagan, the vinegars are amazing — just a splash will brighten any vegetable.

The Salt Dispensary is constantly creating new salt blends and spice rubs.

Bread Affair has added cookies.

Golden Ears Cheesecrafters have new cheese flavours, and the list goes on.

So what does that mean for the consumer? It means that farmers markets are becoming one-stop shops. It means a continual supply of locally sourced, sustainable food. It means a decreased reliance on imported food and products. It means that you are supporting local producers who live in your community rather than a shareholder who could live anywhere.

Sustainability is so important to our food security. With the recent drought in California, produce from there is getting harder to get and it is becoming more expensive. Locally sourced food is often cheaper at market and it is certainly fresher.

If you find you are paying a bit more for your produce, focus on the benefits of purchasing locally.

For instance, all the Wild West seafood products at the Coquitlam market have strong, sustainable practices behind them and some are Ocean Wise certified. Rockweld chicken is SPCA certified and organic. Redl’s beef is grass-fed, humanely treated and never given growth hormones.

The integrity of market depends on due diligence on the part of the market staff. All farms at all markets are inspected by staff to ensure they are, in fact, growing what they are selling. The inspection process extends to prepared food vendors and crafters as well. Selection juries ensure the quality and reliability of these products so that you can be sure you are getting the very best the vendors have to offer.

Why not try the following recipe for potatoes? You can make it as written or shake things up a bit by using one of Red Barn’s lovely vinegars and the hickory smoked pepper from the Salt Dispensary. It makes a perfect side dish.

Karen Curtis is the Lemonade Lady (www.kicslemonade.ca and kicslemonade.blogspot.ca) at the Coquitlam Farmers Market. Her column runs once a month during market season.

 

AND NOW, THE RECIPE...

SALT & VINEGAR POTATOES

5 cups water

3/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup malt vinegar, plus more for serving

Coarse salt

1.5 lb. potatoes cut into 3/4-inch cubes

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing pan

1 tsp cornstarch

Fresh black pepper

• In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in both vinegars and 1 tablespoon salt. Stir to dissolve the salt, then add the potatoes and cover with a lid. Let sit 1 hour.

• After an hour, preheat oven to 425 F. Grease a large baking sheet with oil or line with parchment first then grease.

• Drain the potatoes and blot dry with paper towels. Add them to a large bowl and sprinkle with cornstarch. Toss. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of oil over top and massage into the potatoes with your hands.

• Spread them out in one layer on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle generously with salt and lightly with pepper.

• Bake 20 minutes then toss and spread out again. Bake 15 to 20 minutes more, until fork tender and lightly golden.

Serve with additional malt vinegar if desired.

– from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano

 

 

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