As I sat down to lunch I looked around at my little family all together for once, a rare occasion when the city kids managed to synchronize their calendars and make the trek to Puslinch. To them, we live on the moon. I felt I had a lot to be thankful for.
The luncheon came together at the last minute to celebrate belatedly my grandson’s first birthday. I went into a tizzy because I had a week crammed full of activities already and thought what am I going to feed them? It was a special occasion so hot dogs and hamburgers just weren’t going to cut it.
My inspiration to make this as easy as possible was Tigchelaar Farm’s home baked savoury pies. Why not let someone else do the baking? After all, I would never get the same result if I slaved for hours with the flour and …um…what else goes into pastry?
So off to the market I went, bags in hand, with a plan to impress and succeed. First stop, Tigchelaar Farm. Well, you can’t not go by them. First there’s John with aromatic coffee wafting by and stimulating the “I need a boost to get me going” sense. Just A Cup’s Nicaraguan Direct Trade coffee is roasted locally and it’s magically delicious. So in the bag it went. Ok, I had the tip end of the luncheon settled.
I picked up the pies; chicken, beef and oh so yummy cheese and caramelized onion. Everyone gets a choice and sharesies allowed! Now I had to pick up some apples for the butternut squash soup. THAT I was going to make myself, thank you Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten, Goddess Of All My Best Meals. The recipe called for Macintosh apples, but after having a conversation with Sharlene and Claire I went with the Paula Reds. It was decided that while I did need sweet apples, I also needed lots of FLAVOUR, so in the bag they went with the pies.
Next stop, VanDenbroek Farm. Beautiful purpley red beets to roast and marinate for my salad. And squash and onions for the soup. Sidebar: when I go to the grocery store I rummage around for ages praying to the God Of Onions that I will find decent ones – not so obviously old and bruised. Here though every onion is fresh and lovely (yes onions can be lovely) and I know these ones would deliver a wonderful undertone to my soup.
What I like about this stop is that Carling walks with me around the stand, helping me make my choices and offering tips and recipes while she places my items in the bag. Now that’s customer service!
Since I’m right next to Sunrise Acres I decide flowers are in order. Their stand has a burst of colour that always makes me so happy. Since I had a colour scheme in mind I asked if they could put a bouquet together for me that matched. We picked each and every stem together to find just the perfect combination and then the girls arranged them so all I had to do was plop them in water and VOILA! Instant beauty for the table!
And then there was Roothams. I am a huge fan of all their sauces and spreads. Huge. At the beginning of the season I tweeted about their Honey Portobello Vinaigrette and I’m still getting retweets as we speak. People just love a delicious gluten free sauce! I sat down at a picnic table for a break with Cathy and told her my plan.
I love a good accompaniment with savoury pies and we pondered the best choice for my entrée. So I went with two. One beloved standby – their Thai Dipping Sauce and then a newcomer for me – Fire Roasted Red Pepper Ketchup. Mr. Heinz, step aside. I am now in love with another. This sweet succulent condiment will forever have a home in my fridge. If you love ketchup, I implore you to give this a try. Best ketchup on the planet.
Wayne was with me and while I was having a good chinny wag with my friends at the market over a chicken fajita from Lovin’ Oven, I sent him to Nith Valley Organics to pick up fresh arugula to bring a pepperiness to the beet salad. I find out afterwards that the arugula is washed. Yay, less time spent in the kitchen, more time sipping mimosas!
Another sidebar: while savouring the salad Genevieve, my stepdaughter, brandished her fork in front of her sister Emma and excitedly announced “Look Em, its fresh baby arugula! Fresh baby arugula!” (yes she said it twice, it’s not a typo).
Wayne went on his last mission and picked up the cupcakes for dessert from Sweet Temptations Cupcakery. I had emailed Jakki the day before and asked if she was bringing her two seasonal cupcakes to the market: Apple Pie and Ginger Peach – she features different flavours to celebrate each season along with her usual wonderful array of choices. She said she would put them aside for me.
Well, never send your husband to pick up dessert if you want something specific! Wayne deemed that we needed more choices to serve our esteemed city guests so we went home with 18 cupcakes. There were only eight of us plus Pete my grandson, but I will tell you, Jakki’s cupcakes are divine and they didn’t last long in our house!
So that’s it right? Soup, salad, entrée, dessert, coffee and flowers? Nope.
At Freelton Fibre Mill’s table I discovered (well it wasn’t me, it was Claire from Tigchelaar Farm who found it), a delightfully cute children’s cap knit with soft Alpaca wool. Ute told me the name of the alpaca is Magnolia. So Ute raised Magnolia, sheared the wool, spun the yarn and knitted the cap. The perfect gift for Sweet Pete’s first birthday! Need I say it was a hit with his Mom? And he looked the jaunty little boy with the cap on his head and a cupcake all over his face…and hands…and bib…and …uh, everywhere.
As I walked out of the market I realised I had purchased my entire meal from start to finish, gift and flowers included, from the market. I had an amazing day discussing my plans with the vendors and gratefully accepted all the input they gave me as we discussed all the possibilities.
There is only one more month to enjoy our farmers’ market. It will be open until the last weekend in October. As I look back on the season I have so many wonderful memories of the summer gone by and the Saturdays spent at the market; getting to know the vendors, meeting friends and sipping coffee while lulled by the sounds of the buskers music, and supporting my community while shopping for the best the land has to offer.
I will miss the market and all the people there. Until next year my friends. But wait! Before you go, hey there’s Thanksgiving! Awesome. Get ready market, here I come!
Check out our website www.aberfoylemarket.ca ….follow us on Twitter!@AberfoyleMarket. You can email me at email@example.com. We are always looking for volunteers, so why not find out what you can do to join in on the excitement?
Open from the last Saturday in May ‘til the last Saturday in October, in downtown Aberfoyle in the Optimist Rec Centre, from 8am ‘til 1pm. See you at the Market!