Eating-up Stratford
Bite by Byte

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Slow Food Sunday Market: Good, Clean, Fair... and FUN!

This past Sunday, I spent a fun day helping-out at the inaugural Slow Food Perth County Sunday Market. 
I'm already a huge fan of the Stratford Farmers' Market (which takes place every Saturday at the Stratford Agriplex/Rotary Complex from 7:00 am to 12 noon, and Wednesdays from 3 pm to 7 pm). So I was thrilled to learn that another market would be taking place in town on Sundays, and that it was being run by Slow Food's Perth County Convivium according to the organization's guiding principles of "Good, Clean and Fair" food.
When I got there in the morning I helped a few of the new market's exemplary producers set up their stands. Tim from Creton's Garden Fresh Produce & Herbs set up a canopy to accommodate his marvelous array of starter plants (pictured above), which included herbs, heirloom veggie and perennial seedlings.
Antony John from Soiled Reputation organic vegetable farm arrived soon after, fresh from speaking about his art at the Perimeter Institute the evening before. Antony braved the morning's elements au naturel (see photo above), and of course had his famous greens on offer, as well as some delectable bunches of rapini and some starter tomato plants of his own.
I have to say though, as a die-hard garden dude (see my previous posts), meeting Rick and Allan from Anything Grows was a real revelation. Those guys got it seriously goin'-on when it comes to out-of-the-ordinary vegetables. They were selling beautiful bunches of garnet-stemmed Bordeaux Spinach (see pic above) alongside racks of fascinating seeds and remarkable starter plants, which included such novel varieties as Ground Cherries and Climbing Spinach. You just don't see this kind of cool stuff at your everyday farmer's market!
The market included some passionate organic growers who truly appreciated the opportunity to connect with the Stratford foodie community. Dave from Koert Organics was feeling downright patriotic with an assortment of greens and rainbow-coloured radishes (see pic above). When I asked grower John Burtenshaw what he thought after selling-out of wintered local leeks he expressed his gratitude for the new market, "It's been worthwhile." As a nice addition to the Stratford growing contingent, a Niagara fruit farm was in attendance with the first Ontario strawberries of the year. I bought a quart but it didn't make it out of the market... so I got another on my way out!

I personally manned the Slow Food information stand for the day, which might have been the most popular booth due to the fact that I was giving out samples of cheese produced by our generous host, Monforte Dairy. The Slow Food Sunday Market will be taking place in the Monforte parking lot weekly (at their brand new location at 49 Griffith Road). I had so much fun I volunteered to run the Slow Food booth every week for the whole season! Find me next week by following the smell of strong (and sustainable!) coffee...

Farmers' markets are my kind of scene, and this was one of the best I've ever experienced. The sky's the limit for the Slow Food Sunday Market, as it promises to just get better and better as the season progresses and more and more producers jump on board. So come on out next Sunday morning and enjoy the good, clean, fair and fun vibe for yourself!

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