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Fall in Love with Farmer’s Markets

November 25, 2014 by Adrienne Ngai, Registered Dietitian

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Did you know some farmer’s markets run all year?

Farmer’s markets give us an easy way to buy fresh, local, seasonal and healthy foods. They also connect us with our communities and support local farmers and their families. Plus, buying local can decrease the environmental impacts of shipping food from far away and helps protect B.C.’s agricultural land.My friend and I recently visited a local farmer’s market in search of our favourite fall and winter produce: apples, winter squash, and cabbage. While strolling through the stalls, I found myself admiring the 15 varieties of tomatoes! The vendor noticed my delight and offered us a few samples along with cooking tips for each variety. I was inspired and bought one of each to taste test with my friend that evening. It was a culinary adventure; and I now know to look for my favorite type of tomato, Black Krim.

Did you know that Brussels sprouts grow on stalks? We found a stall that sold Brussels sprout stalks and the farmer explained that they are actually part of the cabbage family; she recommended we oven roast them to make an appetizing side dish. After preparing it for dinner that evening, my friend and I are now proud Brussels sprouts fans and have searched for recipes to try out. Below is a simple recipe that gives this cabbage a flavourful crunch I think you’ll enjoy.

At farmer’s markets, you can often shop for fresh eggs, meat, seafood, cheese and unique gift ideas (especially during the holiday season). Markets are filled with delicious food gifts like pickled vegetables, seasonal jams, baked goods, and beautiful non-food items like kitchen accessories, jewellery, and skin care products.

The energy at markets and the enthusiasm of the vendors is bound to make you feel connected to where your food comes from and excited to try new foods. My friend and I went beyond our comfort zones at the market, and expanded our senses to try different types of local and seasonal foods.

Visit the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCAFM) website to find farmer’s markets in your area, learn about seasonal B.C. produce, and get fresh recipe ideas. Each market offers a unique experience and I encourage you to visit the different ones in your area.

Healthy Families BC proudly supports the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program (FMNCP), a program implemented by the British Columbia Association of Farmers’ Markets in partnership with farmers’ markets and community skill building organizations. The FMNCP gives lower-income families, pregnant women, and seniors who participate in cooking and skill-building programs coupons to buy healthy foods at local farmers’ markets – learn about this program and how to participate here.

Recipe: Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Ingredients:

680 g (1.5 lbs) Brussels sprouts
45ml (3 Tbsp.) vegetable oil
4ml (¾ tsp.) salt
2ml (½ tsp.) ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C).
  2. Wash and trim the bottom (stalk end) of the Brussels sprouts. Cut the sprouts in half, lengthwise.
  3. Toss Brussels sprouts, vegetable oil, salt, and pepper together in a bowl. Place onto a baking sheet.
  4. Roast in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes or until they are slightly browned. Toss the Brussels sprouts after 15 minutes of cooking to ensure even browning.
*Adapted from http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/roasted-brussels-sprouts-recipe2.html#

Related blogs

Eat BCs Best This Summer
A Winning Way to Eat More Veggies

Recommended resources

Buy Local Program
BC Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCAFM)
BCAFM: Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program (FMNCP)
BCFAM: FMNCP Information for Participants

 

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