Farmers’ Market

Waxwing Farm Harvest Party

October 1, 2012

We decided this year that we would sign up for a CSA with Waxwing Farm in Webster, MN. For the uninitiated, “CSA” stands for “Community Supported Agriculture” and is a way to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer, with no middle man involved. Farms offer a certain number of “shares” which usually consists of a box of vegetables, delivered weekly or bi-weekly. Many farms also offer dairy, meat, and flowers in their shares as well, if they’re available.

It’s an amazing way to learn about what’s really in season at what point in the year, and to eat incredibly fresh food. One of my favourite things has been getting exposed to new vegetables and therefore new ways of cooking because of an item popping up in our box that I’ve never used before. This happened with kohlrabi and tomatillos this season.

The other great thing about a CSA is that you develop a relationship with the farmer who grows your food and learn a TON about how it’s grown. Anna and Pete, who run Waxwing, kept us in the loop throughout the season with news on what was growing, what was struggling and everything in between.

We had to witness them and their crops suffer devastating floods in June which affected our boxes later in the summer. Understanding what weather patterns were contributing to the contents of our box, really helped me to appreciate the food we were eating.

And finally, the ultimate bonus was getting to visit the farm this weekend for a harvest party and potluck. Meeting and chatting with Anna and Pete in person, walking through their fields, and being invited into their home really made the whole the experience of being part of a CSA share feel special.

There was a warm feeling of community between all the CSA share-owners and that was deepened by us sharing food we’d made for each other to enjoy.

If you’re interested, you can check out Waxwing Farm’s share options here. Needless to say, I highly recommend their CSA!

Have you done a CSA share before? I’d love to hear about your experiences!

brick lane sunday market

December 9, 2011

One of my favourite days at home this trip began with a wander through Brick Lane market. From the dodgy stolen goods section, all the way through to Spitalfields Market, we passed amazing food stalls, great clothes, books, crafts, and more cool kids than you could shake a stick at. It was awesome.

Brick Lane is better known for its nightlife when a million Indian restaurants open their doors and try to lure you in (namely by yelling at you about how cheap their food is, which I’ve never quite understood) to dine. I’d never experienced it by day, but apparently this happens every Sunday.

It was only around 12.00pm as we wandered but the bright sun was so low in the sky that we were walking blindly half of the time.

The sun stays like that in the U.K. during the winter months and there was something so beautiful about it as we meandered through the steam and smoke of food vendors, in and out of shops, the sun in our eyes. I can’t wait to go back.

borough market, london

December 5, 2011

Borough Market is one of my favourite places to go in London. It can be pretty intensely busy but if you get there early enough you have the run of the land to wander stall to stall trying samples of everything imaginable.

From olive oils, hummus, jams, mustard, olives, and cheeses (we fell head over heels for a Caerphilly [Wales represent!] and so bought it for our awesome hosts since we couldn’t bring it home), to Turkish Delight, bread, quiches, and chocolates. It’s basically a food lovers heaven.

As well as green grocers, fish mongers, butchers, and artisan traders, there’s also an incredible selection of food vendors selling things like curries, hot sandwiches, and pies.

We bought an amazing hot dog from Boston Sausage and a haloumi veggie burger from The Veggie Table which we raved about for days afterwards. I’d also highly recommend Pie Minister (best name ever?) whose selection is epic (they have locations in other parts of the country too!).

I’m just still kind of sad I didn’t get my face around one of those pork pies. I mean look at them!