I was anticipating being able to return to the Horton Farmers' Market for this years opening weekend but unfortunately it's not going to work out. I will get there - it just won't be on Saturday.
In preparation for the new season, I had started several different ferments and cultures so that I would have some healthy and delicious probiotic products available for sale on Mother's Day. I've been sharing pictures and my progress on my Facebook page but I've neglected to post updates on the blog.
For my lack of sharing with non-Facebook users I apologize.
Along with water kefir tonic beverages, I've fermented sour pickles (using Ontario greenhouse cucumbers), another batch of kimchi, a ginger bug for preparing sodas, purple sauerkraut, and my proud achievement of the week: a successful batch of sauerkraut.
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.
Anyone who enjoys fine food and drink understands it takes time (and skill!) to develop flavour. The depth, complexity, and value of quality food and drink cannot be created in an instant. It's not found at the drive-thru and you won't find it in anything super-sized. I'm not just talking about aged wine, steak, or cheeses either. Even 'simplistic' food such as a ripe, juicy peach or a four-ingredient loaf of bread requires someone to tend the soil or knead the dough.
The ingredients in a great dish are important to the overall quality of a finished product, but equally important are the preparation methods. Farm fresh eggs will feel like rubber and smell like sulfur if you boil them for twenty minutes- no matter if you just made the most perfect Hollandaise sauce ever. Pie pastry needs to rest before rolling- even if you hand-milled the flour yourself from an heirloom variety of wheat grown using sustainable and organic practices.
Good food takes time!
With this knowledge, it was hard to contain my excitement and curiosity when I decided to attempt the preparation of kimchi, a Korean fermented vegetable sidedish/condiment. Two weeks minimum before it begins to taste "good"? No fancy equipment required? Full of bacteria, flavour and pro-biotics? More fermentation preservation? Sounds delicious to me. I'm sure it will be worth the wait, I told myself.
Now, is it ready yet?
Eating. Drinking. Sharing.