Here at the CFM it’s no secret who the best perogy-maker in the market is. Margarita Kordoner has been in the business longer than some of her customers have been alive. She makes everything from scratch every week including her cottage cheese which she has been perfecting for 38 years! We asked her to give us her best tips and show us her process for these palatable perogies.
On top of learning from the best we had fresh local Saskatoon berries from The Jungle Farm to work with! How can we lose?!
What you will need to make 3 dozen of Margarita’s perogies:
5 cups of flour
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of lukewarm water
2 cups of Saskatoon berries (or enough for 3-4 berries per perogy)
About 4 cups of cottage cheese (Margarita sells her homemade cheese at her booth every week!)
1. Mix the flour, salt, egg, and water together for your dough. If you find one aspect of the dough is off, adjust your dough accordingly.
2. Roll out the dough to roughly a 1/4 inch thickness.
3. Use a cookie-cutter to cut out round shapes in your dough.
4. Pile small amounts of cottage cheese and 3-4 berries in the middle of each round.
5. Fold the round in half making sure to contain and stuff your filling inside, then pinch the sides shut with your fingers.
6. Once you have pinched all of your perogies shut, lay them flat on a cookie sheet and freeze them for 2-3 hours or until you are ready to make them.
7. To prepare perogies you boil them like pasta. For 1 dozen perogies bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil then dunk them in. They don’t need long, maybe 5 minutes.
8. Serve directly on to a plate and eat either alone or with your favorite sauce! We promise you won’t be sorry!
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Greg and Bonnie’s pigs run and frolic in open interconnected pens, free to eat an antibiotic-free, plant protein diet when they please.
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.
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.
The above are the ‘little’ piggies, weighing in from approximately 50-70lbs at 3 months old.
They will bulk up to about 240 lbs by 7-8 months of age, like the hog above, before being sent to market.
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).
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.
You should see the smokehouse they have now!
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.
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.
1/4 cup Amber Alpine Wildflower Honey from Beeland
1/4 cup Wild Blueberry Dark Balsamic Vinegar from Soffritto’s
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.