When you think of sodas you probably think Coca Cola, Pepsi, Mountain Dew and the like. Overly sweetened, liquid candy manufactured with artificial colours and flavours and then mass-marketed to kids and big kids alike.
But what if I told you sodas weren't always prepared that way? What if I told you soft drinks were once a way to not only quench your thirst (especially in places where water alone was not drinkable), but also deliver vitamins, minerals, and pro-biotics to help nourish the body? That's right - soda fountains were once found in pharmacies for a reason and fermented beverages themselves have been prepared and consumed since the beginning of civilization. Somewhere along the way money, convenience, and ignorance transformed nourishing and traditional culinary practices into tasteless, homogenized, and artificially-cheapened empty calories.
I, like many other fermenting and preservation enthusiasts, think it's time we bring back those traditional practices to the forefront of our kitchen counters.
It's been a whirlwind of a week and a lot of changes are happening with Elgin Harvest. I've been feeling 'out of sorts' for the past few days but I'm looking forward to interacting with the crowds and friends for some much needed sharing and smiling.
For the past three years (almost four), I have been a vendor and very active volunteer with the St. Thomas Horton Farmers' Market. Through the market I've had the fortune to meet not only some incredibly unique artisans and passionate farmers, I've also had the fortune to meet and share my love of food with many of the customers that religiously attend the hustling and bustling farmers' market every Saturday morning from May through November.
St. Thomas Horton Farmers' Market is the little market that could. Run by a dedicated part-time market manager with help from generous volunteers and friends, the market is unique to this area in that it is a producer-only market. That means you either have to grow it or make it in order to be a vendor. The market is a small business incubator, has become a centralized community meeting place, and most importantly provides a lively, fun atmosphere with access to fresh and LOCAL foods and products. It's a welcomed contrast to the industrial manufacturing plants and fast food chains that can (and has) overshadowed the city in a monocultured cloud.
With Spring and the beginning of a new market season right around the corner, I know other vendors and market attendees are just itching to get back into the Saturday morning routine of picking up seasonal fruits & veggies, fresh baked goods, and artisanal crafts. While I wait for May to roll around, I'm going to make the best of my time by continuing to experiment with new recipes and culianary techniques and plan out my vegetable garden.
Eating. Drinking. Sharing.