{My first visit to the new Calgary Farmers Market}

I have a confession. I get really anxious when shopping amongst a lot of people. I love Farmers Markets. But the thought of pushing and shoving through a sea of humans big and small to get a bag of groceries makes me groan.

So when I heard the new Calgary Farmers Market was open, I was hesitant to visit right away for fear of the overwhelming crowds. But the idea of supporting local farmers and the chance to see the new vendors beckoned me. So last weekend me and the boy finally headed over to check it out.

I had been told by friends and coworkers that the parking lot was a gong show..and boy were they right. It kind of reminded me of boxing day at the mall. Having to resort to the stalking technique where you creepily follow shoppers as they walk over to their car in order to get a spot.

Eventually we lucked out and we were ready to explore.

Our impression? It felt like the old Farmers Market, but less spacious. The aisles felt closer together, and overall it seemed smaller than the previous location. There were familiar faces and some new ones. But the one I was most excited to see was Le Petit Mousse Crepes and Sandwiches, owned and operated by the same people who run my favourite casual french eatery, L’Epicurie (which was voted best french restaurant by Where magazine and best sandwich by Avenue magazine).

Located in a prime location right by the front entrance, I could tell this was one of the more popular spots in the food court judging by the long line. But that did not deter me from trying it out.

The whole ordering process seemed pretty efficient and the line moved fairly fast. As I waited for my meal,  I salivated over the display crepes behind the counter window.

Prepared fresh to order, I went with the L’Ocean – a fresh and crusty baguette filled with petals of salmon gravlax, butter lettuce and topped with preserved black olives.

This sandwich swept me straight back to Paris. Simple and high quality ingredients is key to a satisfying meal.

For dessert, I opted for simplicity again and ordered a crepe with butter and sugar. My absolute favourite way to enjoy this french pancake. Warm, crisp, chewy with just the right amount of sweetness from the light sprinkling of sugar. Perfection.

The boy dove right into his huge juicy burger from the Silver Sage Burger Bar. Hand formed, seasoned and grilled patties made from hormone and antibiotic-free beef. This one had the works.

We also shared a esfiha (pronounced es-fee-ha) from Mr. Esfihas – specializing in “flatbread pizzas” with roots from Syrian and Lebanese cuisine. Ours was topped with cream cheese and spinach, sundried tomato and onions. Served with a wedge of lime for $2. A nice tasty snack which is small enough so you can try all their flavours if you like. (They offer sweet flat breads topped with banana and cinnamon or decadent dulce de leche…yum).

To quench our thirst, we made a stop at the Farmer’s Daughter frozen bar for a couple of slushies. I went with the green tea lemonade and the boy had the mango orange. A refreshing treat to enjoy on their patio on a sunny day.

For a late afternoon snack that day, I prepared a simple salad using these beauties from the market, these gorgeous blood oranges.

I just loved the colours and how the peel on each one was different from the next.

To prepare, I simply cut off the peel, sliced them into cross sections and lay them across the plate. Topped with thinly sliced ribbons of red onion and a chiffonade of basil. Salt and pepper and that’s it!

The flesh is a blend of crimson and tangerine colours. Truly a feast for the eyes and taste buds.

Be sure to try these while they’re still in season! They’re so juicy and sweet and are sure to brighten up your day 🙂

I also picked up some tomatoes. Round juicy red ones still attached to the vine.

And a bundle of teardrop shaped grape tomatoes.

Bursting with ripe sweet flavour. The ones you find in the grocery store do not even come close to how tasty these are. Just imagine what a beautiful bruschetta this would make.

For dinner that night, me and the boy shared a yummy sandwich, made with thick slices of Aviv’s sourdough bread (my new addiction) filled with blanched asparagus (from the market), a thick melty layer of mozzarella and finished off with a smear of locally made cranberry honey Brassica mustard

For dessert, we celebrated the re-opening of our neighbourhood dairy bar, Pop’s by indulging in a scoop of their MacKay’s ice cream. I went with their feature flavour, the Nanaimo barvanilla ice cream swirled with creamy custard, sweetened coconut, chocolate and chunks of chocolate wafers. 

MacKay’s is one of the most decadant ice creams you can get around here (boasting they use the highest butterfat cream available). Yea..it was pretty amazing.

The boy went with his stand-by flavour, maple walnut. Rich, creamy and aromatic maple base studded with chunks of walnuts. 

Happy bellies all around 🙂

Comments
8 Responses to “{My first visit to the new Calgary Farmers Market}”
  1. What an amazing farmer’s maket! Looks like some great finds. I totally get what you said about the crowds. That’s one reason why I find myself avoiding the markets here in D.C.

  2. foodtable says:

    Love farmer’s market, and good to know this is a good one. I always like to check them out whenever I am. The pictures are fab as usual and I kinda wish they will invite something so I can taste everything you have here. Lol.

  3. Vivian says:

    I thought Farmers’ Markets featured LOCALLY grown foods…what’s with the blood oranges? Unless Calgary has a mini-California/Florida pocket hidden in the hills that no one knows about…they must have come from some sunny southern region…lovely though they be.

    • No, unfortunately due to our climate, there are lots of items NOT locally grown. I think that would really limit our produce if it was all from Alberta. Lots of potatoes and squash. The cucumber, tomatoes and basil are from Alberta, but yea, I think the oranges are from California. They were just too beautiful to pass up 🙂

  4. Vivian says:

    I don’t blame you for scooping those gems up, Jen. Such lovely produce is so infrequently on offer at out local Super Store. I just think that the term “farmer’s market” is being “glommed onto”, so that the original term is losing its meaning. When any theme takes flight, there are always smart marketers who will catch an easy ride on the tailgate, usually tacking on a hefty “premium”.

    • I totally know what you mean and I agree with you.

      The same goes for “organic” and “natural” which is also losing its meaning and consumers are being deceived and paying more thinking they’re getting a better and healthier product when they’re not. I guess the only sure way is to buy from the farmers themselves, like through the CSA.

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