Flapper Pie- CFM style

All of us at the Calgary Farmers’ Market really enjoy a good pie. A ‘lost in time’ prairie pie that we’ve decided to bring to your attention in time for Canada 150 is the classic Flapper Pie.
You’ll notice we’ve added our own spin to the pie (you can’t exactly find graham crackers at a farmers’ market) which turned out to taste amazing! Adding coconut-chia clusters from the CFM’s own Going Nuts adds a whole new dimension of flavour to the pie. We know you will love it too!

 

You’ll need:

Crust:
1 1/4 cups of coconut-chia clusters from Going Nuts
1/4 cup melted butter from Cultured Butter
1/2 cup of sugar
1 egg white from Lund’s Organics

Filling:
2 1/2 cups of whole milk from Blush Lane
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of cornstarch
3 egg yolks from Lund’s Organics
1 teaspoon of Vanilla from the Silk Road Spice Merchant
a pinch of salt

Meringue:
3 eggs whites from your Lund’s Organics eggs
1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar

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  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Run your coconut-chia clusters through a food processor to create a more crust-like texture.

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  1. Mix all crust ingredients together. Melting the butter before hand is important. It’s the step that makes sure everything holds together properly once the pie is refrigerated. We added an egg white to the crust to give it that extra hold as well.
  2. Press your crust in to a 10″ pie plate then par bake your crust (this means to pre-bake your crust) for 10-15 minutes.

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  1. In a saucepan, combine the filling ingredients. Bring to a boil then cook on medium until your combination thickens. Set aside to cool.

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  1. Combine your meringue ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat them together until you get a stiff meringue.
  2. Now it’s time to layer! Pour your thickened filling on the crust you have already shaped in the pie dish, then layer your meringue on top.
  3. Pop your pie in the oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the heat and cool in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

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Mother’s Day in One Stop!

Can you believe it’s May?!  Winter was so long, it seems like Spring snuck up on us and whoosh!  Mother’s Day is right around the corner.  If you, too, are wondering when that happened and are stumped for just the right gift for that special mom in your life, we have you covered.  In one stop here at the Calgary Farmers’ Market, you can get the fixings for a yummy family dinner, a unique gift to shower her with love, and a Mother’s Day Pamper Lounge on Saturday, May 10th to show mom just how much we appreciate her.  Here’s a quick guide to some of the great local gifts you can find at the market; something for everyone, you’re sure to find the perfect gift.

1. Start with Art

Between the handcrafted art at Artistically Inclined, beautiful nature photography by Ursula Krol, unique finds at Have to Have, or the upcycled and trendy pieces at Rainbow Glass, there is sure to be a little something to perk up her day.

Art Collage

2. Give a Little Sparkle

Stillwater Design is full of gorgeous, handcrafted jewelry and the famous (not to mention fashionable, comfortable, and very popular) Neon Buddha line of clothing. You can’t go wrong giving jewelry…. ‘nough said.

Clothing Collage

3. Spa Time

What mom doesn’t love to be pampered? Splurge on all she needs for an at-home spa experience any time she wishes! Eden Essentials offers handcrafted bath salts and bombs, essential oils, relaxation accessories, and local Rocky Mountain Soap; you can create a little slice of spa heaven right in the comfort of your own home. That quiet time after the kids go to bed and the house is still just got better…. a whole lot better.

Eden Collage

4. Sweet and Pretty

Sure, flowers may seem traditional, but the one-of-a-kind custom arrangements from Willow Blooms & Garden are anything but ordinary. Speaking of extraordinary, swing by Papa Chocolat for a delicious box of chocolates. Or, if your mom is happier creating her own masterpieces in the kitchen: LA CUCINA is the place to hit. Gourmet food items abound and she has super adorable aprons too.

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We hope to you’ll pop by the market for that one-of-a-kind gift for mom.  And then come back next weekend so she can enjoy the Mother’s Day Pamper Lounge and enter to win a gift basket too.  The kids can even make a special Mother’s Day craft with Momstown while mom is being pampered.  It’s like we’ve tied it up in a pretty bow for you; holidays made easy, right here at the Calgary Farmers’ Market.

Happy Hogs

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Connecting with your food and your farmer is an integral part of any farmers’ market.  We strive to take it one step further and give you a little more insight into the products you’re buying and who you are buying them from.  Every once in awhile we get really lucky and can steal a few hours (or more if we’re truly blessed) from one of our farmers; I visit their farm, pick their brains, and learn all about their story.  This week, perfectly timed with Easter approaching, I visited Spragg’s Meat Shop and Farm in Rosemary, Alberta.  Greg and Bonnie Spragg are at the market weekly doing deliveries and saying hello, but we wanted to know more.  Don’t you?

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After being employed at a hog barn for a few years, Greg decided he wanted to take a crack at raising his own pigs.  So, Bonnie purchased 3 little pigs for his birthday in May 2002.  It may not seem like the most romantic birthday gift, but his herd flourished and by the end of the summer, Greg had raised 75 weaner pigs to market weight.  He loves his pigs and it shows; he’s been nicknamed the “pig whisperer” and rightfully so.

What little piggy wouldn’t be happy to romp around in all of that green grass?

They’ve now been farming at their present location for 12 years; growing to have approximately 1000 pigs roaming free at any given time. In addition to the free-roaming hogs, the Spragg farm has 200 acres of irrigated land on which crops of barley, wheat, and faba beans are grown to later grind into the necessary pig feed.

In order to increase production to meet the growing demand, they partnered with another local hog producer who specializes in breeding and weaning.

The baby piglets are born year round inside (where it’s nice and warm!), and are moved to their free-range environment at the Spragg farm when they reach 50lbs.

Running PiggiesGreg and Bonnie’s pigs run and frolic in open interconnected pens, free to eat an antibiotic-free, plant protein diet when they please.

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They live happily, hormone-free, in the fresh air… and they really are happy hogs.  Their pastures are seeded with annual grasses to increase grazing time for the pigs.  And in the colder months, they are provided with straw and alfalfa hay to keep the forage component in their diets.

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I couldn’t resist jumping into the pig pen to take advantage of a more personal introduction.  They’re curious little piggies, gently nudging with a boot-chew here and there, as interested in me as I was in them.

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The above are the ‘little’ piggies, weighing in from approximately 50-70lbs at 3 months old.

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They will bulk up to about 240 lbs by 7-8 months of age, like the hog above, before being sent to market.

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Look at all of that space!!!

If you ask Greg and Bonnie what sets their pork apart from the rest of the pack, they will tell you, first and foremost that they have happy hogs.  But in more technical terms:

  • they do not spray the pastures that the pigs are on for weeds or insects
  • pigs do not receive antibiotics, hormones, or artificial growth promoters to ensure pigs grow faster or leaner than they would naturally
  • their pigs get a plant based diet, with no animal by-products in that feed
  • the barley and faba beans that are fed to the pigs have been grown conventionally (crops are sprayed once to kill the weeds in the field, and the barley crops are grown with inorganic fertilizer when necessary to provide the appropriate levels of fertility in the soil).
Piggie Feed Collage
Faba Beans and Barley grown by Greg & Bonnie Spragg; then ground into a fine flour for pigs to eat when, and as much as, they please.
Spragg’s Meat Shop opened in Rosemary, Alberta in November 2005; due to increasing demand for their product, they built a new (and very impressive) processing plant, on the right, which opened a month ago.
Spragg's Shop
You should see the smokehouse they have now!
Greg & Bacon
Bacon is brined for 10 days before spending time drying and smoking in Greg’s impressive new smokehouse. It’s even digital!
The expansion to include processing allowed Greg and Bonnie to raise the hogs, process them, and then market the pork products direct to the consumer.  The meat shop prepares their free range pork for both the farmer’s market retail locations in Calgary, Brooks and Millarville, as well as restaurant and wholesale customers.  In peak season, they process approximately 50-70 hogs each week; with hogs being butchered twice weekly, the pork you buy Thursday-Sunday at the Calgary Farmers’ Market is as fresh as it gets.

And since they were cutting hams, they gave one to me!  When someone gives you such a beautiful ham, you don’t refuse.  So, here’s and Easy Easter Ham recipe for you.

For more photos of the farm visit, check out our Facebook album.  And for another look at Greg and Bonnie’s happy hogs in greener pastures, check out the slideshow on their website.  Or you can follow them on Twitter and Like them on Facebook!

Want to know more about what sets Spragg’s apart from the rest?  Stop by the meat shop here at the market and ask, they’ll be happy to share more information with you!

Easy Easter Feast

A few things hop to mind when you think of Easter: chocolate bunnies, egg decorating, and ham.  Sure, there are other things that make up Easter, but in terms of food, these three things are pretty prominent.  We wondered how best to offer useful (and delicious) information and landed on: How to Roast a Ham.  It’s dead simple and is a sure-fire way to make every tummy at the table happy.
Plus, we just visited Greg and Bonnie Spragg’s pig farm.  When they offer you a ham, you don’t refuse.  In fact, you thank them gleefully because it’s the most beautiful ham you ever did see.
Ham Collage
Market-Sourced Ingredients

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Remember when we said it was simple?  You can’t get a whole lot simpler than three ingredients.  Yes, we know those ingredients don’t include brown sugar and mustard.  There are a few pretty traditional (and still yummy) ham glazes kickin’ around, but we wanted to give you something a little more off-the-beaten-path than the Cola or Pineapple Ginger recipes.  Plus, the only fruit that’s really “in-season” right now are apples and that’s just a little too close to the old-fashioned ham and apple sauce dinner we used to get at Grandma’s.  Why not try something a little different?

Preheat oven to 325F.  Using a very sharp knife, score fat in a diamond pattern.

Meanwhile, stir amber honey with blueberry balsamic.

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Place ham in a shallow roasting pan just big enough to hold it. Roast in centre of preheated 325F oven, uncovered, allowing 18 to 20 minutes per pound for a bone-in ham.

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Roast ham for 45 minutes before beginning to baste generously with the mixture.  To form a rich glaze, continue brushing with mixture every 15 minutes. Save any remaining glaze. Remove ham to a platter and tent with foil for at least 15 minutes.

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If you want to make a bit of a sauce for your ham: add 1 cup of vegetable broth and any remaining glaze to the pot you roasted the ham in. Stir pan bottom vigorously to scrape up all of the flavor-packed browned bits. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat burner on the stove (you can transfer from roasting pan to smaller pot at the point to make it less cumbersome). Then reduce heat to medium and boil gently, uncovered and stirring often, until slightly reduced, from 5 to 10 more minutes. Pour over sliced ham. Meat will keep well, covered and refrigerated, for a week or more.

Now, we know that ham is often served with traditional sides, like scalloped potatoes.  And if you’re an accomplished or ambitious cook, homemade scalloped potatoes are the bomb.  But as we can guess, you’re all very busy and since we’re selling this as an Easy Easter Feast, we suggest checking out the vast and tasty selection of ready-made agrio boxes at the Cherry Pit.

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They offer everything from roasted or quick saute vegetables to easy dress and shake salads, all made in-house by their very talented vegetable butcher.  Easter dinner could not be easier.

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Want to learn more about Greg & Bonnie Spragg?  Check out our farm feature!

Happy Hearts

It was only two and a half years ago that Eahly and Nan arrived in Calgary, eager to put roots down and make this city “home”.  Coming from Vancouver, they were surrounded by a plethora of dietary options, including amazing variety in vegetarian and vegan fare; but found fewer options in our beef-centric city.  Then, one day in October 2011, while shopping at the Calgary Farmers’ Market, they noticed a vacant booth and a seed was planted.  What if?  Beginning on a hope and whim, Eahly and Nan set out to bring more options to vegans (and non-vegans too) and share their passion for healthy, delicious food.  If you’ve ever been by Hearts’ Choices, you will instantly see (and feel) the love that goes into creating and sharing their vegan Thai food.  Driven by Nan’s philosophy: “no good food = no happiness”, every dish they make, whether it be Thai Vegan Curries, Peanut Satay Sauce, or Bamboo Shoot Stir Fry, is handmade with care and intention.  And their high quality, non-GMO soybean vegan products are mindfully sourced from a renowned Buddhist vegan company in Taiwan.

We know it’s easy to turn your nose up at vegan food if you’re a born and bred meat-lover.  Tofu? Tempeh?! Vegan Scallops?!?!  Get outta Cowtown.  But in all seriousness, Eahly and Nan help many families bridge the gap when there is a division in the kitchen.  For example: wife is a vegetarian, husband wants his steak; now they can make one meal for everyone because the vegan fare at Hearts’ Choices can fool even the most discerning palates and satisfies everyone’s needs.  Eahly and Nan believe that their food “helps make their life a little more harmonious and happy”.  That’s what makes them love coming to work every day. It comes as no surprise then that they love when you drop by their booth or send them a photo of your own creation, sharing a part of your heart with them.

Hearts Choices Collage

And now they’re sharing that love with you!  Join them for an evening of food creation and fun as Nan (originally from Thailand) teaches the basics of Thai vegan cooking in a hands-on interactive cooking class.  We recently crashed one of their classes to get our own hands dirty (and our bellies happy!) and were pleasantly surprised to find people of all ages, all levels of cooking experience, even non-vegans soaking up Nan’s knowledge and cooking up a storm.  We couldn’t help but join in too.  The Thai Vegan Larb Salad, Tom Kha Pak (a sweet and sour coconut vegetable soup), and Pad Se-ew (Thai Street Noodles) that we all whipped up were delicious, healthy, and didn’t last long.

Larb CollageIf you’ve ever wanted to learn more about vegan cooking or you’re just interested in exploring Thai ingredients and dishes, you can join Eahly and Nan in their upcoming class (hosted April 7th).  Classes run approximately 3 hours, and include all the equipment, ingredients, and teaching required for you to create 3-4 delicious dishes while learning the basics of Thai cuisine with lots of cooking and eating along the way.  Do you have to be a Vegan to enjoy this opportunity?  Absolutely not!  In fact, it is perhaps the most reasonably priced Thai cooking classes in the city.  So… can you throw chicken in the Tom Kha Pak?  Yes!  Will Nan and Eahly frown upon it?  Never.

In the upcoming April class, you can look forward to making:

  • Vegan Pad Thai
  • Vegan Pumpkin Stir Fry (Eahly’s favorite!)
  • Vegan Pad Phet No Mai (Spicy Bamboo Shoots)
  • Thai Cucumber Salad

Sounds yummy doesn’t it?  Get your tickets before they’re sold out!  And don’t forget to swing by Hearts’ Choices the next time you’re at the Calgary Farmers’ Market; say hi to Nan and Eahly, try one of their many samples, and show them some love.

Like them on Facebook or Follow them on Twitter.

Colcannon Soup with Pan Fried Oysters

There are lots of ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day that doesn’t involve artificially-dyed green beer, pasta, pancakes, jello, truffles… the list goes on and on.  A plethora of traditional Irish recipes await you like Irish Soda Bread (available at Yum Bakery this year!), Beer Battered Cod, Champ, Dublin Coddle, Irish Beef Stew with Guinness…. delicious, traditional, and easy to whip up to share with your family.  We are very lucky here at the market to have Brian Plunkett, owner of Blu Seafood; a born-and-bread Irishman and a chef to boot.  He jumped at the chance to share an Irish recipe with us in preparation for St. Patrick’s Day; a little traditional with a bit of a modern twist.

Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish mainly consisting of mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage.  Brian decided, rather than stir up a typical chowder with clams (boring!), he would take some inspiration from the traditional Colcannon dish and adapt it into a soup.  Perfect for this darn cold weather we’ve been tolerating!  And he took it one step further by frying the freshly-shucked oysters and crisping up some double-smoked bacon as a garnish… why? Well, it adds a texture element that is lost in the mish-mash soup so often becomes, and highlights the seafood ingredient too by making it the star, rather than letting it slip away into the soupy abyss.

Colcannon Collage

Market-Sourced Ingredients

Serves 6

Colcannon Soup

4 oz. Double Smoked Bacon from Spragg’s Meat Shop

4 cups baby kale (chopped) from Blush Lane Organics

2 cups leeks (chopped) from Blush Lane Organics

½ cup onion (diced) from Blush Lane Organics

4 cups potato (diced) from Lund’s Organic Farm

8 cups chicken stock from The Stock & Sauce Co.

1 cup heavy cream from Blush Lane Organics

1 tbsp olive oil

Salt, Pepper,  and Thyme to taste

Start by heating up the olive in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the double smoked bacon and cook until almost crisp.  In the same pan (with all of that excellent bacon fat), add all of the chopped vegetables and season with salt pepper, thyme. Sauté for 2 minutes.  Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Drop in the cut potatoes and return to a boil; simmer for 45 minutes.  Once all elements are soft, remove from the stove and puree with a hand blender.  When velvety in texture, return to a boil on the stove and slowly whisk in the cream.  Taste, correct the seasoning, and simmer 15 minutes more.

Pan Fried Oysters

24 shucked oysters from Blu Seafood

8 drops Worcestershire Sauce

6 drops Tabasco

Drain excess juice from the oysters Marinate the oysters in Worcestershire and Tabasco and leave to 2 minutes.  Dip the oysters in flour and pan fry in olive oil until golden brown. Remove from the pan to a paper towel to sop up any excess oil and season with salt and pepper.  Serve 4 oysters on top off each bowl of soup with a couple of strips of crispy bacon.

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Of course, we recommend you surround yourself with friends and family, fill up ‘yer bowls and enjoy your feast with the ones you love.  And from everyone here at the Market, we wish you a very Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light, may good luck pursue you each morning and night.

Looking for something to do with the little ones on St. Patrick’s Day?  Bring them to the market to hunt for leprechauns, snag a pot of gold treat, and watch some traditional Irish dancing.  Check out our Events Page.

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!