Around the Table…with Yum Bakery

One of the staples of the Calgary Farmers’ Market has always been Yum Bakery. In light of them making some refreshments (see what I did there?) to their business I caught up with one of Yum’s owners Debbie Catling and she updated us on what exactly is happening in their world.

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How did this all start for Yum Bakery?
“Well, we started out when the market was at the Currie Barracks. We had bought Wanda’s Fine Baking as she was ready to retire. At the time we were selling Stock and Sauce to our partners and we saw a niche with San Francisco-style bakeries. We wanted to bring that homey bakery style with great breads and Macarons to Calgary and the Calgary Farmers’ Market.”

What is your favorite thing about being part of the CFM family?
“Just exactly that, the family. Getting to know the other vendors and seeing other people that are happy doing what they are doing. You get to go to work with people who are passionate  about their own things they are doing here.”

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What’s your favorite item that you offer?
“There are a lot of things I can resist now that we’ve been doing this for a while, but there are three things I can’t when they are fresh out of the oven: Our Roasted Garlic Cheese Buns, our Savory Scones, and our Ham and Cheese Croissants.”

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Do you have a to-go way you like to eat any of these or a recipe you use them in?
“I like to toast up the Savory Scones and make an Eggs Benedict with them. It’s amazing!”

What are three quick tips you would like to share with market guests?
“1. I think a little-known fact about us is that we don’t add preservatives or additives to anything, particularly our bread. So, keeping it on the counter for more than three days can cause it to mold. Freezing it is a good way to avoid this, not putting it in the fridge though. Putting bread in the fridge makes bread go stale.
2. Our cakes keep really well despite not using preservatives so don’t be afraid to come in and pick something up on a Thursday instead of taking your chance on a Saturday.
3. Order ahead! We make every effort to estimate what will be sold every day. Nobody likes to come in and be disappointed that the thing they are there for is out though, so we recommend calling or emailing ahead of time with orders. We will have your order waiting for you so there is no guess work involved. All that info is on our website.”

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Do you have any bakery Words of Wisdom you live by? 
“One of the first things we say to our staff is that we don’t want anything to go to a customer that you wouldn’t 100% want to buy and eat for yourself. If it doesn’t look and taste fantastic, we don’t want to sell it.”

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What’s your favorite thing to eat in the market that is NOT from your place?
“Big T’s smoked ribs are one of my favorite things ever, and Taste of Quebec has this fudge…you know, you think since I own a bakery I wouldn’t need anything else sweet, but this fudge is magical.”

Can you tell us about any new projects your working on?
“Yes! We are doing a couple of things actually. One of them is a re-brand, which we hope to have completed by about mid-June. That will consist of new packaging and new products. Our other project is opening up a little place called Jarred. The concept behind Jarred is just that: cheesecake in jars, cookie dough and trifle in jars. There will also be preserves using things that are in season. A lot of our customers at Yum request to buy our sauces like our lemon curd and caramel so those will be sold by the jars as well.
Our launch will be June 8th!”

One last question: If you could be a pastry, what would you be?
“If I could be a pastry I would be a baguette! Long, and thin, and hot!”

..I think we would all like that, Debbie.

 

 

 

No-Bake Cheesecake: Vegan, Rhubarb, Cardamom? Oh my!

If you have never tried your hand at raw vegan desserts this is an excellent first step! As long as you have a food processor and room in your freezer this cheesecake is even easier than the traditional recipe!
Kaycie took an old recipe from her vegan catering days and infused the market flavours of the season.

But that’s not all…we’ve collaborated with fellow blogger and sister to our own Eats of Asia owner (Jay Del Corro), Kristina Del Corro. We each took photos for each other’s blogs this week. If you like food, photography or books we highly recommend giving her site a gander.

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You will need:

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Equipment
Food processor
Springform pan
Saucepan (for the compote)

For the Crust
1 cup of Medjool Dates from Cherry Pit or Panorama Orchards (pitted and soaked overnight)
1 cup of shredded raw Coconut from Going Nuts
½ cup of raw Pecans from Going Nuts
1 pinch of Pink Himalayan Salt from The Silk Road Spice Merchant

For the Cheesecake Filling
2 Lemons from Cherry Pit or Panorama Orchards
4 cups of raw Cashews from Going Nuts (soaked overnight)
2 1/2 tbs Vanilla Extract from The Silk Road Spice Merchant
4 Tablespoons of Clover Honey from Beeland (substitute for Maple syrup or agave for true vegan)
¾ cup Coconut oil from The Vitamin Cupboard

For the Rhubarb Compote (this makes 6-8 servings of compote)
2 cups of diced rhubarb from Cherry Pit or Panorama Orchards (3-4 stalks)
2-3 tablespoons of the same Beeland honey
½ Teaspoon of Ground Cardamom from The Silk Road Spice Merchant
1 pinch of the same Pink Himalayan Salt from The Silk Road Spice Merchant
1/3 cup of water


Directions:

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1. Make your compote first. This will give it time to simmer-away while you process the other parts of your cheesecake:
a) Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.
b) Cook, covered, over medium-low heat, stirring, until the rhubarb has completely fallen apart. Then to ensure correct consistency cook uncovered until  (about 30 minutes total).
c) Remove from heat to let cool.

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2.  While your compote is simmering you can get started on your crust. In your food processor, combine all the ingredients from the crust list keeping an eye on the texture while you’re grinding everything down. You want to process these items until it looks like a crust. Too much time and it will turn to a paste.

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3. Empty the contents of your food processor in to your springform pan and flatten in to a crust with your hands, spoon, or bottom of a glass.

4.  Now comes the fun part, the cheesecake filling! Combine all your ingredients in the food processor and blend until creamy like cream cheese. Don’t worry if it’s taking a while, this is normal. If the texture is looking chunky add in very small amounts of water while things are running to help the nuts break down better.

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5. Flatten out your cheesecake by gently tapping the pan on the counter.

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6. Dollop your compote on the top of the cheesecake until you have the entire contents of the saucepan emptied. Then, with a butter knife, drag the cutting edge through in a swirling motion to incorporate it in to the cheesecake.

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7. Tap your pan on the counter again to ensure everything is level.

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8. As this is a no-bake cheesecake, you’ll be using freezing as your method to set everything. Freezing this overnight gives it the longest life when serving, but a few hours should be fine if you’re in a pinch.

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9. The only thing left to do now is enjoy your creation! It’s our experience that this cheesecake is a hit on Mother’s Day… just saying.
Whatever your occasion, Bon Appetit!

Around the table… with Beeland

 

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Springtime means the bees wake from their dormancy and get to work pollinating all the lovely flowers, fruits, vegetables and more that we enjoy all year!
Here at the Calgary Farmers’ Market, Beeland is bee-central and our provider of both products and knowledge. I asked Morley, the owner of Beeland, to share some info on his products and what we can do to support the bees this spring.

  1. How did the story start for Beeland?

In 2000, I bought 125 acres of wilderness property in the Columbia Valley region of BC with the intent of retiring. In 2004, I approached a local beekeeper to put 6 bee hives in this spectacular alpine region. That was the beginning of Jubilee Mountain Apiary Ltd, which was named for Jubilee Mountain where the property was located.
In 2006, we purchased the dilapidated Spillimacheen Trading Post, located on the highway between Radium and Golden, and began what has turned out to be a 10-year restoration and renovation project. The old trading post building was re-named Beeland Market, as a retail outlet for our honey.
Today, Beeland Market has grown to include not just honey sales, but has expanded into a complete gourmet store, coffee bar and a new cafe opening in April 2017.
Jubilee Mountain Apiary Ltd. now operates anywhere from 200 to 300 bee colonies, employing 3 full time beekeepers, and an additional staff of 6-8 persons in retail, food production and food service.

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  1. What is your favorite thing about being a part of the Calgary Farmers’ Market family?

Our role at the market is more than selling honey and bee products; we are very much filling an educational role to the public on the reality of bee life. Most people are concerned with the life and survival of bees and their role in our lives, particularly as pollinators.
I try and explain the fragile nature of our environment and how it sustains bee life, and as a result of that, human life. Beeland, in its very important physical location at the Calgary Farmers’ Market, has become a critical educator to the public in this very important area of apiary agriculture.

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  1. What’s your favorite item that you produce? Why?

Our honey changes year to year depending on the climate. The most unique honey that is produced is definitely Snowberry Honey from one alpine location. The Snowberry plant grows exclusively in the Rocky Mountain area and has a tiny pink flower that blossoms in late June. This tiny flower is very high in nectar, however its blossom coincides with a wet June climate. Because of this, the bees are not able to gather the nectar each year. The production of this honey is very small, and is sold out instantly when we are able to present it in September.

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  1. Do you have a go-to recipe that highlights your product?

Beeland market uses honey in our line of Beeland sauces. This product line now ranges from BBQ sauces, Honey Hot Sauces, and other food products produced with honey.

  1. Words of Wisdom you live by:
Bees are one of the few creatures that sustain the lives of human beings, they take nothing away from the universal creation. They are in perfect harmony with nature and life of the world. Human beings should be able to learn from them and live our lives in the same perfect peace and harmony that bees do.

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  1. What’s your favorite thing to eat in the market that’s not from your booth?

Margarita’s cheese perogies, drizzled with butter and Beeland honey. It’s a special delicacy!

  1. What are three quick tips about bees that you want to share with market guests?

1. Bees sustain life.
2. Do not spray dandelions, as dandelions are the first flowers in this climate that produce both pollen and nectar. This is the first food for the bees in the spring and it is critical for their survival. Eliminate all spraying of herbicides and insecticides. We must re-educate our minds that this flower is not a weed, but is part of a natural system that sustains life.
3. Lately, bee keeping has become a trendy hobby for urban-dwellers. We, as human beings must understand that bees are delicate living beings, and any aspiring beekeeper MUST ensure proper education and internship with a seasoned beekeeper prior to embarking on becoming one.

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Blarney Bites

Slow Cooker Dublin Coddle

The hard-working Irish that invented this dish weren’t a delicate folk, and neither is this stew. Although it’s a slow-cooked dish the prep time is only about 15 minutes!  It’s the sort of thing that can slow-cook-away all day then be ready and taste scrumptious when you’re ready to eat!
Our market vendors are no strangers to the love of comfort food, they have everything you’ll want for this dish.

 

You will need:

1 package of bacon from Spragg’s Meatshop
1 bunch of fresh parsley from Gull Valley Growers
2 pounds of baby yellow potatoes from Innisfail Growers, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
2 large onions from Innisfail Growers, sliced
1 package of Garfunkel sausages from Missing Link Sausages
1 tallboy of Bench Creek- Black Spruce Porter from J. Webb Wine Merchants
2 cups of Chicken broth from Stock and Sauce Co.
4 cloves of Garlic from Cherry Pit, minced
2-3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Fresh-cracked pepper to taste

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1. Start heating your slow cooker on the high setting.

2. In a Skillet on medium-low heat, cook 8 slices of the bacon and cook until crisp, about five minutes. Remove the bacon to drain on paper towels. Leave the grease in the pan.

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3. Add the package of sausages to the pan and cook until they are about half cooked. Remove  to let cool then slice into 1” pieces.

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4. Use the remaining grease in the pot to whisk-in the flour, reduce the heat to low and whisk in your beer to the gravy you have just created (if you choose to omit the beer from your Coddle, substitute an additional 1 ½ cups of chicken stock). Continue to whisk and reduce your mixture of beer and gravy until it reaches a gravy thickness.

5. You can now begin to layer things in your slow cooker. Starting with a layer of potatoes, use about half, then a layer of half your onions, half your garlic, half your bacon, half your sausages, half your parsley, half the bay leaves, and the black pepper. Repeat with a second layer of the remaining ingredients, pouring in the gravy between layers.

6. Once you have finished layering, pour your broth over the whole thing and cover your slow cooker. Cook on high for a minimum of 4 hours, if you would like to cook longer, switch the heat setting to low and check every additional hour.  

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Simple Asparagus Soup

It’s that wonderful time of year when fresh, local produce really starts rolling in at the market! One of the most anticipated seasonal ingredients making an appearance right now is Edgar Farms‘ asparagus (available at Innisfail Growers).

Unlike many Alberta grown veggies, asparagus is a perennial plant (meaning that it lives for many years, so does not need to be replanted in the spring). Asparagus can be harvested for only a few short weeks each spring, and picking is always completed by the end of June. This allows the plant to store up nutrients to make it through the winter.  Edgar Farms has created an innovative way to harvest asparagus efficiently. See them in action in this video.

Asparagus can be enjoyed in many ways and while often viewed as a great side or compliment to a meal, asparagus is the star of the show in this simple soup recipe.

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Market Sourced Ingredients

Serves 6

Simple Asparagus Soup

2 bundles of asparagus from Innisfail Growers

1 medium onion from The Cherry Pit

3 cloves of garlic from The Cherry Pit

6 cups of chicken (or veggie) stock from The Stock and Sauce Co.

Butter or olive oil

Salt and pepper

Optional garnishes:

Parmesan cheese from Fresh DELIcious

OR

Fresh mint from Terra Farms

OR

Fresh lemon & dill

Ingredients

Roughly chop your onions, garlic and asparagus. No need to get fancy since it will all be going into the blender eventually.

Heat up the butter or olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and sauté for about 5 minutes until tender. Add the asparagus and chicken (or veggie) stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until asparagus is cooked. When all ingredients are soft, remove from the stove and puree in a blender (making sure to allow steam to escape through the lid).  When the desired texture has been achieved, pour back into a clean pot and heat through. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Simple as that!

You can enjoy the soup right away or add a simple garnish for some extra flavour. Choose a garnish that you enjoy like mint, lemon and dill, or Parmesan cheese.

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My personal favourite was the lemon and dill variation. Just add a splash of fresh squeezed lemon juice and a sprig of dill for an energizing twist. Try the mint if you’re looking for something a little different and refreshing, and you can never go wrong with Parmesan cheese! This soup is super versatile and with slight variations can meet the needs and tastes of everyone in your family.

Don’t forget; local asparagus is only available until the end of June! Enjoy this easy meal before the asparagus is gone. Come down to the Calgary Farmers’ Market to pick up your ingredients today!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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).
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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.
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You should see the smokehouse they have now!
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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!