Friday, 15 February 2013

How Farmers’ Markets Heighten Our Interest in Food Culture

Our summer thunderstorms can provide lots of moisture

Recently, I read a tweet by Eva Sweet (@evasweetwaffles), one of the vendors that is has been a fixture at our market. Bamir sent out a link to a fascinating article in The Edmonton Journal by Liane Faulder on our local food culture here in Edmonton, and trends that we can expect to see in 2013 in our local food scene, from farmers’ markets through food trucks to restaurants. Read the full article here… Look for a growing love of local food in Edmonton in 2013

Bees are plentiful.
The basic premise is one that I love because it combines two things that I am passionate about: soil (and the impact of individual efforts combined with the nuances of our local physical landscape) with food! Our daughter, when she was a toddler loved to eat dirt in our garden and sand at the playground… but this is not what Liane was getting at!

Raspberries love the conditions here.
She talks about terroir, that wine afficionato term that describes the essence and the flavor that are given to a grape, and in turn a wine, by the effects of the place in which it is grown… the nuances of the climate (the sun, the rain, the amount of light we receive, the temperature fluctuations, the make-up of our water with its peculiar mineralization) and the earth (with the amount of spicy hot pepper seeds and white pith that wind up in our home compost, I wonder about the impact that has on the taste of the raspberries and rhubarb in our garden plot!) on the soil, and in turn on the food that we grow and raise.

Our hard frost comes early.
The thing that I love about tasting and eating local food, whether enjoyed at a local café or restaurant here in the city, or purchased at a vendor in a local market, is that I am eating a little part of our landscape. I am always inspired by landscapes… in fact, more often than not, we pick our travel adventures based on a landscape that we have never experienced before: a deep slot canyon, or a raging river, or pumice-strewn volcanic slopes, or deserts with cacti and pine trees. I really like it when a landscape surprises me with something I have never encountered before. With the unexpected. And the thing about local food is that it can do that for your tastebuds as well.
Our summer days are long and sunny.

Now, can I taste the difference between a tomato grown here and 
one grown, say, in southern California???… probably not, 
if both are purchased in local markets and are at their ripest, 
freshest, sweetest state. But I like to think that I can. It is a 
romantic notion, to be sure… but one I intend to 
experiment with at this year’s market. Why not try it with me.

The Challenge: 

Purchase tomatoes or berries, cucumbers or carrots,
apples or beets at a few different stalls this market 
season and see if you can taste the difference that 
comes from where and how they are grown. 
Is there a taste difference, or is terroir simply a romantic notion?

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Contributed by Sheri Hendsbee

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