As I've mentioned before here, I am not a fan of the farmer's market in Halifax. It's SO crowded that you can barely move, hear or talk and in order to get any food at all you need to be there on a Saturday morning at 7-8am. I've also mentioned how I'm not a huge fan of the local food box- as I found out (from a sticker on my zucchini) that they were sourcing their produce from a local store... Eating locally here is not an easy feat, but we've been trying with shopping at 'Planet Organic' that carries some local produce and meat, at a hefty price. (the courtyard of Dalhousie University. What you can't see are the wind gusts to 41km-hour and -15 windchill!)
As a last minute decision, I decided to take today off, which was pretty convenient as we had a bit of a windy snowstorm last night (so no walking in the snow pour moi!). My main plan: take advantage of the Friday 10-2 Farmer's Market!
Since last spring the local Health Authority (Capital Health) has been hosting a mini 'Farmer's Market' every Friday from 10am to 2pm as a 'Healthy Living, Healthy Eating' initiative. As I used to get every other Friday off, I went to a few of these during the late summer, early Fall months. Located in the Veteran General Hospital courtyard, Capital Health sent emails to all their employees each week reminding them of the market and new vendors. (The courtyard of the VG today)
As I no longer get any Fridays off, I thought I'd take advantage of this time and see what exactly I'd be able to buy in this 'mini' frozen Canadian Market. As I walked towards the VG, snow blowing in my face, the windchill making it feel like -15 Celsius (5 Fahrenheit), I wondered if it was even open.
(the SIGN, if you'll notice it even asks customers to BYObag!)
I found the courtyard empty.... and ventured closer to see- it was open! Walking inside the VG Hospital cafeteria I saw 7 booths set up with vendors sprinkled amidst patients, visitors and staff eating their lunch. I wish I could have taken some pictures to show you all, but I was a bit concerned about patient confidentiality... who wants to be splattered on a blog when you're ill?
As I made my way around, I bought something from each vendor: my first stop the 'fish' guy.
Now, it's no surprise that as a Nova Scotian AND a fisherman's daughter, I'm pretty darn fussy about what seafood I buy and eat. Add the sustainable aspect and it gets a bit trickier. The absolute BEST haddock I have ever eaten has been fresh from my mother's village- Pubnico. To my surprise, the fish guy is actually from my village and knows my family! Fresh, non-frozen haddock from 'home' it is! (Now I just have to call my mom and see how she cooks it!).
*Quick update: I just called my brother to confirm my suspicions on how they fish for haddock... by trawl. Trawls (or draggers as they are referred to at home) are these huge boats that basically dump nets with wheels at the bottom and literally drag them along the ocean floor. These nets pick up haddock, but they also catch other sea creatures AND tear up the ocean floor. My brother (also a lobster fisherman) reported that you *can* fish for haddock via hook-line, but they are more expensive to buy and rarely done. The bulk of Atlantic haddock that is sold comes from trawl. (the 'degradable' bag the fish guy gave me)
Well darn. At least next time I'll just stick to free lobster from my father and brother!
I also bought some home made hot pepper jelly, Italian herb bread, no-oat granola and Prince Edward Island tulips. Although in no way does this 'mini' market sustain all our grocery needs, it was so wonderful to be able to casually chat with the people who actually MAKE this stuff without feeling pushed or pressure to get out of the way like in the regular market.
(my loot today! See the "plastic" bag the fish is in? It supposed 'degrades' when in sunlight... now how long I have no idea and I KNOW it isn't accepted in our municipal composting facility. I'll have to figure out another use for it!)
So tonight, Andrew and I will dine on (ugh... trawl) haddock, baked in hot pepper jelly sauce, local organic mashed potatoes and organic broccoli and carrots! Yum!! What are you having for supper?
article and photos copyright of EcoYogini at ecoyogini.blogspot.com