Things Worth Trying

Our friends over at Avenue Magazine are full of incredible articles that highlight what’s hot in Calgary from food, restaurants, and chefs to homes, entertainment, and lifestyle.  And once a year, they release a super neat article of the 25 Best Things to Eat in Calgary.  We wait with bated breath for this list because we’re eager to see how many yummy things you can find right here at the Calgary Farmers’ Market.  And this year, we hit it big!  We’re so very proud of our vendors that we couldn’t help but share their delicious victories.

Made by Marcus Ice Cream at Blush Lane Organics

Made by Marcus
Photography by Jared Sych; originally published Feb 20th, 2014 in Avenue Magazine

Made by Marcus Ice Cream hit the freezer at Blush Lane Organic Market earlier this year and it takes every ounce of will power to not pick up a pint weekly… especially when Marcus Purtzki brings in new and unique flavors on a regular basis.  Organic cream from Vital Green Farms  forms the foundation for his delicious concoctions, like Lemon Curd + Wild Blueberry or Chai Hot Chocolate (which just hit the shelves this week) to name just two of his incredible flavors.  Watch out Ben & Jerry.

Highwood Crossing Granola at Blush Lane Organics

Highwood Crossing
Photography by Jared Sych; originally published Feb 20th, 2014 in Avenue Magazine

While we’re on the topic of Blush Lane Organics, they carry a wide variety of organic produce, meat, dairy, and grains, including the locally produced cereals and granola from Highwood Crossing.  “A 100% natural, preservative-free cereal made fresh each week with certified organic old fashion rolled oat flakes, whole flax and sunflower seeds, cold-pressed canola oil and amber maple syrup”, it is delicious whatever way you choose to enjoy it.

Lemon Tart at Eclaire de Lune

lemontarts
Photography by Jared Sych; originally published Feb 20th, 2014 in Avenue Magazine

When mid-afternoon approaches and you get that hankering for something sweet to go with your coffee break, it’s hard to choose from the incredible selection we have here at the market.  But Avenue Magazine hit the jackpot with Eclaire de Lune’s Lemon Tart.  The crunchy shortbread base seems standard for this traditional dessert, but the not-too-tart lemon curd centre and pillowy cloud of marshmallow-like meringue on top is nothing short of perfection.  If lemony desserts aren’t your thing, don’t fret, Eclair de Lune has a full offering of traditional (and delicious) French pastries to please even the pickiest of palates.

Hunter’s Pie at Wapiti Ways

Wapiti Ways Hunter's Pie
Photography by Jared Sych; originally published Feb 20th, 2014 in Avenue Magazine

With over 80 vendors supplying you with fresh local produce, art, meat, poultry, international food, organic goods , jewelry and more, we’re proud people are starting to spread their culinary wings to include things like elk in their diet.  Wapiti Ways naturally raises their Elk on pasture grass, hay, and alfalfa without antibiotics, preservatives, or additives.  Their complete line of elk products are healthy and tasty, including their Hunter’s Pie;  with chunks of lean, tender Alberta-ranched elk, simmered in a dark ale gravy, with mushrooms, sweet carrots and pearl onions all in a flaky pie crust.  It’s maybe one of the easiest, most delicious take-and-bake items from the market.

Espresso Balsamic from Soffritto Oil & Vinegar Bar

Soffritto
Photography by Jared Sych; originally published Feb 20th, 2014 in Avenue Magazine

Artisanal oils have become wildly popular with shops dedicated entirely to perfectly pairing oil and vinegar; we are delighted to see our friends from Soffritto being selected as a Top 25.  With 38 olive oils and balsamic vinegars to choose from at their Calgary Farmers’ Market location, you could end up visiting them for a long while as you taste your way through their selections in search of your favorite pairing. The espresso balsamic is popping up as a favorite among many with layers of authentic espresso and dark roasted coffee. It makes a fantastic glaze or barbeque base or can be used sweetly drizzled over ice cream. It’s no surprise that it is part of Avenue Magazine’s Top 25.

Montreal Smoked Bison from Olson’s High Country Free-Range Bison

Olson's Bison
Photography by Jared Sych; originally published Feb 20th, 2014 in Avenue Magazine

Olson’s High Country Free-Range Bison is another market-favorite with their wide array of grass-fed bison products.  They offer all of your typical cuts of meat, but also an impressive frozen selection, including bison pasta, and cured meats to garner your charcuterie board too – we’re partial to the bison bresaola.   The Montreal smoked bison proudly graces Avenue Magazine’s Top 25, which we are sure could rival even the best traditional Montreal smoked meat sandwich.

Porter’s Tonic from Silk Road Spice Merchant

Porter's Tonic
Photography by Jared Sych; originally published Feb 20th, 2014 in Avenue Magazine

We see Nicole Fewell around here a lot as she shops for locally produced items that set the fare of her Cheezy Bizness food truck apart from the rest.  And when she’s not on the roads, spreading Cheezy goodness, “she spends her time making real tonic by steeping distilled water with lemon, lime, lemongrass, cinchona bark and agave nectar to create a tonic concentrate. Mix it 1:1 with your favourite gin, then top with soda water and ice for a sublime G&T.”  And you can pick it up while you’re perusing the impressive spice selection at the Silk Road Spice Merchant.

A BIG congratulations to all of our vendors that were part of Avenue Magazine’s Top 25 Best Things to Eat!  Now, how many have YOU tried?

Love: Scampi Style

We’re very lucky to be featured on CTV Morning Live every month, dishing up some great things from healthy meals to events at the market.  Today, we learned ways to woo your loved one this Valentine’s Day from Chef Brain Plunkett from Blu Seafood.  He shared a dead simple, delicious recipe to impress your sweetheart that can be whipped together in less than 10 minutes.

Scampi

Market Sourced Ingredients

1 lb. (454 g)  Scampi  from Blu Seafood

1 cup tomatoes, diced from Gull Valley Greenhouses

1 tbsp. shallots, finely diced from Cherry Pit

1 clove garlic, crushed from Cherry Pit

½ cup basil, chopped from The Cucumber Man

1 tbsp, olive oil from Soffritto

1 oz. butter

2 oz. white Wine

Start by splitting the scampi tails to de-vein (here’s an easy how-to video) and season with salt and pepper.  Add olive oil to a sauté pan and heat until almost smoking.  Add the butter and the scampi and quickly turning so to prevent overcooking.  Add the shallots, garlic and tomato; cook fro 2 minutes, add the basil and white wine, cook 1 minute more.  Remove the scampi then simmer the sauce for 1 minute and pour over the scampi. Serve and enjoy!

Eat Your Way to Love

Valentine’s Day is a bit of a fluffy holiday, what with its Cupid-drawn arrows flying around swirling pink hearts, lush flowers and rich chocolates being flung at a loved one, and sappy cards that don’t really embody the true beauty of love.  It can all be a little overwhelming to even the most savvy of gentlemen (and lady).  But we here at the market, l-o-v-e the food aspect of Valentine’s Day; it’s a clear opportunity to try your hand at a new recipe to impress, vamp up a tried-and-true favorite, or really spoil your guy or gal with decadent and delicious fare.  Aphrodisiacs are at the top of the food list come lovers day and we’d be remiss if we didn’t share some of the sexy and enticing foods you can find in one stop at the Calgary Farmers’ Market.

Aphrodisiacs go way back and it’s not just about flavor, it involves the shape and texture of certain foods to arouse the mind, making them not just about taste, but also a cerebral experience.  Whether or not these foods actually turn you on is still to be proven, but if it’s tasty, why not give it a try?  Here are our top six.

First up: Oysters

pacific_oysters

Oysters are perhaps the most famous of aphrodisiacs; while they are visually suggestive, oysters are also high in zinc and have a reputation for being great for love and fertility.  Our friends over at Blu Seafood have fresh oysters on hand for you if you want to stick with the notorious aphrodisiac.  Owner, Brian Plunkett, is also a trained chef so if you aren’t a fan of slurping them down raw, he can suggest just the right way to prepare them to suit the mood.

2. Chili Peppers

red_hot_chili_peppers

An exotic reputation and a bright red color, chili peppers kind of just look like love. But scientifically, they stimulate endorphins, speed up heart rate and make you sweat, which all mimic how you feel when you’re say…. hot and bothered.  Gull Valley Greenhouses and The Cucumber Man are prime spots at the market to pick up some peppers to heat things up.

3. Avocados

avocado

We’re not sure exactly how lustful an avocado is; it could be the sensuous shape or the rich, creamy flavor of the fruit that warranted it being dubbed as an aphrodisiac.  But when its reputation goes as far back as the Aztecs, you can’t argue with history, right?  We won’t.  And neither will Cherry Pit or Blush Lane Organics, both brimming with ripe, ready-to-indulge avocados.

4. Chocolate

chocolate

What would Valentine’s Day be without chocolate?  Do you have to give your love bug a heart-shaped box of mass-produced chocolates?  No!  In fact, we invite you to stop by Papa Chocolat to spoil your taste buds with silky smooth, unique and sensual flavors like dark cayenne or lavender cream, hand-crafted  by Bernard Callebaut himself.

5. Honey

honey

Birds and bees ring a bell?   Sweet and sticky, honey is chalked full of healthy vitamins that are said to increase desire.  In fact, the word ‘honeymoon’ got its name from mead, an alcoholic beverage made from honey given to the happy new bride and groom.  We have plenty of honey to be found around the market from the delicious Alpine Wildflower Honey at Beeland, Nixon Honey at Innisfail Growers Co-op, Chinook Honey at LA CUCINA, and Saskatoon Berry Honey from the Saskatoon Berry Farm.

6.  Cinnamon, Cardamom, and Nutmeg

Spice Collage

Nothing like spicing up your love life, literally.  Cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg all have ancient aphrodisiac roots spanning from Arabia to China; their warming properties really seem to heat things up if you know what we mean.  Swing by The Silk Road Spice Merchant for some exotic ways to enhance a meal or that cup of tea you’re enjoying all snuggled up by the fire.

Whatever way you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day, we hope it’s a lovely occasion for you and your sweetheart.  And if you need a little more inspiration, check out our Valentine’s Day event and Enter to Win a Romantic Getaway to CRMR‘s Emerald Lake Lodge!