From December 2012
Flu Season Necessities
All this warm-cold-warm-cold weather plays slippery havoc with sidewalks and driveways; it also breeds cold and flu viruses like there’s no tomorrow. Are you ready for them? Recent and unfortunate personal experience with the flu taught us the value of having a collection of tasty and healthy herbal teas on hand and if we were going to recommend any one it would be Boreal Forest Teas’ Canadian Shield, local tea-maker Lee-Ann Chevrette’s most-recommended soother for flu sufferers, kids and adults alike. Described right on the bag as “a cold, cough and flu brew,” Canadian Shield is a blend of peppermint, rosehips and yarrow which help decongest, detoxify, soothe tummies and strengthen your immune system. It’s also a tasty brew that’s less likely to be rejected by little ones than, say, that chemical-laden hot orange stuff; we recommend a spoonful of natural local honey if you’re looking to sweeten the deal.
Cultural Intersection Ahead
Dennis Zeka-Jones’ soapstone carvings have become a fixture on the second floor of the Market over the past year, with admirers stopping to admire his cute “bean boxes” – highly-polished bean-shaped collectible boxes great for storing hairpins, jewellery and other sundries - and the selection of plates he rotates in and out of his table display. Now, just in time for the holidays, Dennis has amped up his display to feature a larger variety of his stunning work, including pieces like a life-sized carved loon that draws on the soapstone’s natural coloring as part of its appeal; graceful “family” statuary and his eye-catching tinted pieces like this African-inspired platter.
“Tastes Like Christmas??!”
Okay, we weren’t sure what to expect when Mike handed us a bag of his new Chicago Mix, a blend of cheesy Cheddar and crunchy Caramel kernels. Cheese and caramel? Mike grinned at the look we gave it. “I can’t keep up,” he said, “people love it.”
Don’t do what we did, which was the coward’s route: first we sampled a cheddar kernel, which was good; cheddary-tasting, not too salty. Then we sampled a caramel kernel, which was really good (we love caramel here.) Then, when we didn’t change colour or size we tried a handful all together. BLAM! The first thing we thought was “Hey, this tastes like Christmas!” It’s hard to describe how well these two unexpected flavours combine so well, but they do. That first crunchy mouthful evoked lots of the sweet-savoury treats we love during the holidays, like sugar-glazed hams and caramelized maple bacon. Mike’s new mix keeps to the Kettlecorn philosophy “a little bit salty, a little bit sweet” and really does make you think of Christmas somehow; if you arrive in time to grab a bag you won’t regret it one crunchy bit.
A Snowball’s Chance on the Counter
If you brought a snowball (a real one) inside and left it on your kitchen counter it would last almost as long as these treats will if you leave them out unattended. Joe Myslicki of Jo-Mik Baking lovingly mixes favourite holiday ingredients (butter, chocolate, oats and coconut among them) into delicious bite-sized balls before rolling them in more coconut for flavour, texture and presentation. Unlike the outdoor kind of snowball, Joe’s Snowballs won’t melt, so they’re a great treat to set out when you’re expecting guests to nibble at your goodie plate over the course of a day. And although they won’t melt, they will be eaten (if you can eat just one we’re impressed at your fortitude) but fortunately Joe sells them by generously stuffed trays, so you’ll probably be able to enjoy one or two for yourself.
Fruit cake, or Christmas cake, was actually outlawed for a time in some parts of Europe in the early 18th Century because of its associations with decadence and over-indulgence . Packed with the rich, candied harvest of the Colonies, British fruit cake was the first variety to be “fed” brandy for months before serving to add moisture and zing to this holiday treat. Today, despite the derision of pundits like Johnny Carson, many Canadians hold steadfast to their fondness for this glittering holiday treat. For those of us who love the stuff, Dee from Unique Alternatives offers a Christmas Cake fit for British royalty. Jammed with glace cherries, currants, raisins, citrus peel and hordes of other sweet treats held together with just enough cake to maintain a nice loaf shape, Dee’s cakes have been fed liberally with brandy and will warm your tummy delightfully. Our first delicious bite took us straight back to our childhood and Christmas at our British grandmother’s home, where dark and light fruitcake were served every year. Thanks Dee for keeping the tradition alive!
Gift Wrap Your Feet
Just in time for stocking stuffers, The Sock Lady is back. The dynamic duo (The Sock Lady is actually a good-natured retired couple) of Reg and Wymnemia Sobkowich will be at the Market as long as their supplies last with their outrageously-coloured, -sized and -patterned selection of knitted wool socks. Recently they revealed the secret of their gorgeous colours: food colouring. Reg dyes every batch by hand at home. “It’s amazing,” Wymnemia says, “when you take the dyed wool out it’s absorbed all the dye and the water’s almost as clear as the stuff in the tap.” To keep up with demand, the Sobkowiches use a machine to knit the bodies of their socks, finishing the toes by hand. Want to see how it’s done? Check out the Shaw TV short on YouTube and then head up to the second floor this Saturday for a chat and to buy some warm local footwear!
Artist Kevin Belmore has become a well-known sight around the Market, and his art is becoming well-known across Canada; most recently Kevin’s applied to have an original sent up into space! Here on the home front, however, Kevin is offering originals, limited-edition prints and commissioned pieces for sale at amazingly reasonable prices.
Kevin paints Woodlands style, a form which originated with artist Norval Morisseau and was further developed by the late Roy Thomas. He works in bright acrylics and clean, sharp lines depicting images of woodland creatures and people, with a strong emphasis in many of his pieces on relationships and family. Looking for a family heirloom that won’t date the way a portrait will? Talk to Kevin about commissioning a special piece that symbolizes your family relationships.
(Photo drawn from Lake Superior Magazine.) Click here to read the Superior Magazine feature article on Kevin from Summer 2012!
From November 2012
Win this Pen!
Larry Treanor’s got a liking for wood. You’ll get this within 30 seconds of chatting with him as he shows you samples of his work at Treanor Pens.
It’s in the way he handles the gleaming duck calls, bottle stoppers, shaving kits and other small-but-useful items that you don’t often see decorated this way; rubbing his fingers over the joins to enjoy the smooth surfaces and the miniscule grains in the wood. He’s proud of his work, and deservedly so: we can’t imagine the painstaking hours invested in items like the barrel of this golf-inspired ballpoint pen, made from 23 tiny pieces of stained, cut, smoothed wood fit together to beautifully evoke the flag, the green and the horizon beyond.
This pen is special because Larry will give it away to one lucky winner who’s stopped to fill out a ballot and chat over his spread of shining gift items. Know a golfer? Or looking for a special, personal gift for someone who appreciates fine craftsmanship? Visit Larry on the second floor near the coffee shop and admire his work for your chance to win.
90° to Larry Treanor’s spread of gleaming earth-toned woods is his better half Wanda’s table: A Perfect Gift, where soft pastels, cartoon animals and fuzzy fabrics will tempt your fingers. Wanda offers practical, beautiful hand-made and hand-appliquéd items for babies; from full-body and waterproof bibs to minky blankets, satin-trimmed cuddle blankies and soft toys like the Texture and Colour Blocks. We really liked these last items because, while they’ll stimulate Baby with colours, patterns, fabric textures and a delightful tangle of grabbable ribbon loops, they’re quiet – not a single bell, whistle, bleep-bloop or rattle detracts from their soft washability. Wanda uses cheery monkey and owl motifs in many of her fabric choices and appliqués, promising to add funny elephants next. Planning a baby gift? Make sure you stop at A Perfect Gift as part of your shopping.
Skip the Dishes
You’ve probably seen people walking around the Market with one of Caribbean Kitchen’s Roti wraps warming their hands and providing a guiltless comfort-food breakfast on the run. You may be one of those people yourself sometimes. But have you heard the back story?
Roti is a common dish in the Caribbean but its origins are East Indian, where the word roti generally refers to a flat unleavened bread often used interchangeably with chapatti bread, a staple item in East Indian diets. Stuffed Roti wraps (also called, confusingly, roti) evolved in Jamaica through a fusing of East Indian and Caribbean culture, and are usually that East Indian roti flatbread folded around a thick curry stew - a popular item for its portability and deliciousness.
Rutland tells us he learned to make roti the traditional way from a beautiful East Indian girl who came into his life for a season and taught him family secrets like the mixing of the perfect curry blend. When they parted ways Rutland reinvented the roti wrap with his new knowledge, adding thick chunks of meat and potatoes, onions and carrots to the delicious stew. Today Rutland uses giant flour tortillas in lieu of chapatti bread but the wonderful East Indian-Caribbean fusion flavour remains, and if you ask him he can probably still describe the first time he saw the beautiful girl who inspired his recipe. Try beef, chicken and goat Roti with Rutland on the second floor.
Duncan Weller’s books have gotten a lot of attention from customers lately, particularly the kids’ stories, which are illustrated with a gleeful sense of play. It’s a good thing these books are hardcover and printed on quality paper, because they attract a lot of fingerprints from young readers poring over images of a boy whose head glows like the sun, (the Boy From the Sun) an asteroid-eating mechanical snake (Space Snake) and – our favourite – a collection of outrageous forest monsters that scares a young girl into having a Night Wall built around their isolated cabin.
Illustrating kids’ books must be a difficult job, especially when the subject matter could easily become scary for young bedtime readers. Duncan uses colour and humour in a way that makes the scary things approachable. We reviewed Night Wall and spent a lot of time (and fingerprints) examining the monsters and deciding silly Julie shouldn’t have been scared in the first place.
Stop by Duncan’s table on the second floor and check out his book collection for a reader on your list this holiday season.
We were a bit skeptical when Henry of H&P Jams & Jellies handed us a jar of his latest creation: Orange-Rhubarb Jam. One taste, however, led to another. And another. And another after that. Unlike marmalade, this smooth spreadable product lacks the orange-peel bitterness that turns off so many palates, offering instead the lovely sourness of rhubarb to complement the sweetness of orange pulp. It’s been great on morning toast, but as the holidays approach our thoughts are lingering on its potential as a glaze for baked ham. Be sure to watch our Facebook page – we’ll be trying that out at some point and will post a photo and review! And if you’re cruising the table at H & P Jams & Jellies, check out their other holiday-appropriate new spread, “Carrot Cake Jam” made with carrot, pear, pineapple and all the lovely spices you’d expect to find in that well-loved dessert.
New Takes on Old Originals
Baba’s Kitchen on the second floor is developing a reputation; it’s evident in the people sitting around patting their bellies after enjoying a Saturday breakfast cooked on the spot by Kerri or Gerry Garland, the (mad) geniuses behind the selection of traditional and traditional-with-a-twist Ukrainian foods on their table. We’ve talked before about the ruby glow of Kerri’s secret-recipe borscht and their several varieties of tender perogies; with Christmas approaching it’s time to look at cabbage rolls, which are available by the tray and by advance order (which is probably a good idea the closer we get to the holiday.) Baba’s carries both a traditional variety stuffed with rice and beef and a gluten-free vegetarian version. And honestly? Speaking as diehard carnivores we had to admit that the veggie versions were pretty darn good – just as good as the meaty ones, only different. The cabbage is cooked just to tenderness, so it retains its colour and flavour, and the rice is grainy, not mushy. If you’ve been missing out because you’re not a carnivore... miss out no more.
By the way, while we were up there chatting about cabbage rolls we watched Gerry loading a bowl with their Original Perogy Poutine: Kerri’s homemade perogies dotted with Thunder Oaks Smoked Gouda and slathered with Gerry’s all-day pork belly gravy. It looked and smelled divine. We’ll be trying this sinful treat out very soon, but if you’ve beaten us to it and want to share a review email us at weaver@thunderbaycountrymarket to have your opinion included!
Starting to think about holiday wardrobe? Add a little bling to your party wear at Jangle Sisters, where Inez Lazzari will help you build a bracelet that will make your eyes sparkle to match. Built on locking snake chains, Inez’ creations are made to be versatile: start with something specific for one outfit and then trade out, tone down, jazz up and sentimentalize later on from among Inez’ endless collection of European Glass beads and silver, rhinestone, enamel spacer and dangle charms sourced from all over the world. Inez’ bracelets are also typically compatible with older charm bracelets, so if you’re looking to modernize a family heirloom don’t be shy about sitting down with her for some advice, especially if you’re looking for ways to turn a much-loved old piece into a treasured gift for the next generation.
Shopping for your feline friend isn’t a priority for everyone, but for those of us addicted to Cat Love Wilma Mol’s come up with a sweet winter treat to replace the good green stuff our kitties have enjoyed outdoors all summer by packaging up the seed oats they grow themselves as part of their dairy cows’ feed program. Available by the seed packet or in a cute package with potting soil and a painted clay pot, Slate River Dairy’s Cat Grass is designed to be planted and ready to enjoy in time for Christmas. Think of it as a live salad bar.
If you’re interested in going bigger, we recently found an idea for a “cat lawn” online (check out the experiment at http://www.weirdstuffwemake.com/sweetwatergems/cats/catgrass.html) that makes use of a container big enough that your cat has space to lounge on the cushy green stuff. If this idea appeals to you, stop by Slate River Dairy’s booth for the salad bowl size or ask Wilma about larger packages and spoil your fuzzy friends rotten.
From October 2012
Fiorine Lucas, Head Maker at Free’s Country Cupboard, is back at Market and says she plans to be with us right through Christmas. Happy news for those of us who’ve been scraping the bottoms of our last jars. If you haven’t tried Fiorine’s Champagne Mustard yet, this is it – you’ve put it off long enough. Whether your mustard habits include slathering sandwiches, dipping delicately with bite-sized pieces of ham or sneaking it into salad dressing, this stuff needs to be tasted to be understood. While she doesn’t reveal the delicious details of her fabulous recipe, Fiorine hints that the secret can be guessed by the delightfully caramel-sweet and zesty-hot flavour of her mustard. Some folks around here think it’s even better than candy.
Looking for Hallowe’en treats without the unpronounceable ingredients? Stop by the counter at Chocolate Cow and check out their selection of seasonal specialties: from scaaaary lollies to screeeamy truffles, Doug and Jane have pulled out all the stops to create a collection of boo-tiful goodies made without the nine-syllable chemicals and not-chocolate filler so common in the other stuff. Looking for something nut-free for your special little ghoul? Chocolate Cow products are made without nuts (or with awesome nut alternatives, like crunchy garbanzo beans) in a nut-free kitchen, limiting your Hallowe’en scares to just the fun ones.
The Hood is Good
Sometimes whimsical, practical and adorable can be rolled into one clever package. That’s what we realized after trying on the PIxiebell hood, a creation of Nancy’s Knits, one of the artisans represented by Kyley Blomquist at Ada Studios on the second floor of the Market. This cute little number has been hand-knitted of a soft lambswool blend (no itch!) and comes in a variety of colours so you can find one that goes well with your favourite winter coat. Not only is it a cute addition to any winter outfit, it’s really warm – it comes down nice and deep in the back to cover the back of your neck, and can be tied under your chin or lapped around your neck like a scarf, bringing the sides of the hood against your face for extra warmth.
Speaking of Candy
Shannon the Squash Queen began bringing Georgia Candy Roasters to Market for the first time this fall and we dearly hope she will bring them again next year. These uncommon squash are uncommonly good, and while Shannon’s seem to come in at a manageable 10 to 15 lbs, they’ve been known to grow to 60 lbs in size. Much longer than they are big around, the Roaster is a pretty salmon colour on the outside with star-shaped green coloring around the stem and gorgeous peach-coloured firm flesh inside. Not only does it roast deliciously, as its name suggests, it’s highly versatile: roast chunks as a side-dish for dinner, make soup with a little of it, and turn some into a delicious pie nobody will believe isn’t the best pumpkin they’ve ever enjoyed.
Hot for Peppers
Pepperhead Chris Paulusma of Paulusma’s Greenhouses is full of what he calls “useless trivia” and we call “pretty interesting stuff.” For example, did you know that the difference between a green bell pepper and a red one is maturity? In our neck of the woods, we see a lot more green peppers than red because the cooler your climate the longer it takes and the more difficult it is to vine-ripen peppers to the stoplight colours that look so great against salads and sauces. Stop at Chris’ stand for an appetizing eyeful of colour: green bell peppers, red bell peppers, “rainbow” peppers (bell peppers transitioning from green to red: gorgeous!) and a mouth-watering variety of spicy peppers from all over. Among the baskets on Chris’ table we’ve spotted habaneros, jalapenos, peperoncini, anaheims, these gorgeous poblanos (right) which beg to be stuffed, and teeny “hot as hell” potted pepper plants you can put in your window and carefully harvest in tiny increments. Light conditions permitting, Chris plans to be with us through November.
With Thanksgiving on its way and Christmas not so far behind it, this is the time to get a jar of Michael’s Orange Brandy Cranberry Sauce from Little Doo’s Farm & Kitchen. Sure it’s easy to get the commercially canned stuff, but why settle for “the usual” when you can have “the bomb?” Michael uses five ingredients: real cranberries, orange juice, sugar, water and enough brandy that you get a little zip, but not so much that your turkey will be overwhelmed by the fumes. Want to make your own? Check out Michael’s cookbook “The Best of Little Doo’s” for the recipe – and get your copy soon, it’s a popular Christmas gift item.
From September 2012
the Kale Mystery: Solving Supper One Step at a Time
What is kale, exactly? Scientifically speaking, Kale is a member of the brassica family; related to cabbage, broccoli and collard greens. You’ll see it on a number of vendors’ tables right now, we’ve spotted the edible varieties at Boreal Edge, Sleepy G, Boer Gardens and Tarrymore Farms so far and the decorative plants with the gorgeous powder-purple centres at Paulusma’s Greenhouses. But don’t try eating them – the culinary stuff can be scary enough for the kids.
Kale is rich in beta carotene, vitamins K and C, lutein and calcium and has been described as a cancer-fighter for its sulforaphane content. It’s one of the first things you’ll see on producers’ tables in the spring, and one of the last things remaining in the fall – it’s a hardy veggie, and not enough is said about it and how delicious it can be.
Kale is usually served cooked (in stir fries, steamed, sautéed with garlic and onions and even shredded into pasta sauce) but we were really excited at a recent “Market Taste” cooking class at Giorg Ristorante when chef Terry Crompton shared and demonstrated a recipe for eating it raw as the green in a salad. Kale is usually pooh-poohed as too tough to eat uncooked, but Terry demonstrated how kale can be treated with a salt massage to bring out its hidden sweetness and tenderness. Check out the recipe below and find out how delicious raw kale can be!
(thanks to our friends at Giorg Ristorante for sharing this recipe with us)
Kale, large stems discarded, leaves finely chopped
approx. 1 tsp coarse salt
apple cider vinegar
diced apple (try a crispin or pink lady, or a crispy local variety of your choice)
toasted pine nuts
Massage kale with salt in a large mixing bowl for at least 2 minutes. Pour vinegar over the kale and toss to coat. Fold apple, feta cheese and pine nuts into the kale.
Cupcakes in :20
Ever had a sweet craving and absolutely nothing in the cupboard or freezer to satisfy it? We have! So we were really excited to learn that Brule Creek Farms has a new solution you’re going to love – and it will let you sample local flour the easy way, too. Andrea’s new Chocolate Cupcake Mix has all the dry ingredients already measured and mixed; just add egg, oil, milk and boiling water, mix for two minutes and bake for 15. We tested it at home and it really is that easy. Keeping a package handy in the pantry means you can satisfy that sweet craving in under :20, and the results? Perfect, moist, fluffy cupcakes every time – and an easy introduction to baking with local flour.
"Even the water in the pot smells right!"
Over the past few years a couple of other vendors have developed versions of the ubiquitous hot dog weenie; most notably Shannon the Squash Queen began bringing a delicious product to Market last year that brought smiles to the faces of children of Eat Local supporters across the city. While Shannon's sausages are undeniably delicious, they're different from the store-bought kind in their consistency, which is similar to a smokie dog, but finer and skinnier. Scott Poluyko of Sandy Acres Farm wanted one that was virtually indistinguishable from the commercial kind, and after almost a year of careful trialing with their friends at European Meats SAF has come up with a weiner Scott says makes him a happy guy. Sandy Acres' new hot dog weenies are fully emulsified, like commercial weiners, and taste almost exactly the way you'd expect a big name brand to taste. The difference? "The skins have more snap," Scott says. When you bite into one you know it. And there's one more big difference: these dogs are made with pure pork meat, not the by-products commercial producers are trying to smuggle out of the plants and into your fridge, or as Scott says, "No L and A in these dogs whatsoever!"
New Vendor Welcome: Sandpiper Gourmet
Jennifer Miller loves beautiful food. You'll figure that out as soon as you look down at the cakes on her table, and then you'll have a terrible time deciding which of those beautiful cakes will be sampled today. Fortunately, if you can't make up your mind, you have options: Jennifer sells her cakes by the slice, so you can take a couple and share them around. Every week you'll find a few of her favourites at Market, like the decadent German Chocolate cake, a rich cheesecake or the dark chocolatey flourless Black Beast, but the rest of the table will be filled with cakes made based on customer requests, delightful new recipe finds or Jennifer's mood. Recently she's brought treats like the Opera, soaked in coffee liqueur, and the Raspberry Almond, a white cake with raspberry filling and almond butter icing. For sweet-loving Market friends we recommend a stop to peruse the selection every week, just so you don't miss anything new, and if you're interested in a whole cake Jennifer brings 6" rounds in limited quantities or makes full-sized cakes to order. Please stop by Sandpiper Gourmet and join us in welcoming Jennifer to Market!
While paper gift bags have become much more popular than gift wrap in the past decade, we'd like to suggest an even more green and value-laden idea: instead of disposable paper, why not place your gift in a hand-made tote bag? Your loved one can keep the tote to pass on with another gift, turn it into a book bag, pet tote or grocery bag or, as in the case of this beautiful tote from Head in the Clouds, use it as a handbag. Look for handcrafted totes and purses from vendors like Head in the Clouds and Moss Cottage on the first floor, or check out Designs by Dawn on the second floor for smaller versions for little hands.
From August 2012
The Sweeter Side of Climate Change
We almost didn't believe Teresa when she handed us a bedding-out plant she said was a watermelon. As if you could grow watermelons in Thunder Bay. Well... we won't eat crow or our hat but we were very happy to eat the single round gem that grew on that little vine, and we're very happy to tell you that the whole crop at Teresa's All-Natural has done very well and she's bringing small round watermelons to Market right now, as is Susan from Tarrymore Farms. Thunder Bay watermelons may be small but they're juicy, crispy and - we think - tastier than the overbred variety you find at the grocery store. Best of all, they've got seeds! Saving a few could mean fresh watermelon in your own garden next summer.
Visit Teresa's All Natural and Tarrymore Farms' veggie stand outside to get yours while supplies last!
Which Way? Your Way!
Budding designer Tuija Hansen shares space at the Market as part of the Craft Collective, adding her own fashion flair to the group's heady brew. Tuija's specialty is gorgeous handmade clothing created from recycled fabrics, organics and other found fabrics that attract her clever eyes. Recently we discovered her Multi-Way Dress, something cost-conscious fashionistas should love even better than a store bargain for being at least ten dresses in one clever package. Made of jersey and printed cotton panels, the Multi-Way comes in two lengths and features an attached sash that lets your imagination rule your outfit. Wear it as a halter, a one-strap, cap sleeves, with a big bow in the back and more. Visit Tuija and the Craft Collective on the second floor to see it for yourself!
Crispy, Juicy Goodness to Go
Market vendors are usually the first to try each other's new products and, like most families, are brutally honest with one another. So when Karen from Bare Organics shoved P'Sizzle Garden's new Mango Apple Salad under our noses recently and commanded us to TRY THIS, IT'S FANTASTIC, we did. No surprise - it was indeed fantastic. While it may not contain local ingredients (global warming's going to have to step it up if we want local mangoes) it is delicious, fresh, home-made and good for you, earning it a good 4 stars out of 5 on the Market scale. Chunks of mango and apple combine with carrot slivers, green onion, herbs and - of all things! - fish sauce to create a sweet and savoury crispy salad that you'll want to try with Eastern cuisine or even as a take-to-work lunch.
From July 2012
What the Fudge?
Ever since they got their new equipment Jane and Doug at Chocolate Cow have been an unstoppable force for chocolate goodness. First they came out with their melty scrumptious Maple Fudge, then the sinful Rocky Road, then the aromatic Orchard Fudge with bananas and berries, and now… Turtle Fudge. Chocolate Cow's Maple and Chocolate fudge team up with their crunchy Garbanzo Beans (a great alternative to nuts and a big favourite in their peanut and tree-nut-free kitchen), chocolate drizzle and gooey caramel to make a bar that has to be sampled to be believed. Fortunately Doug and Jane offer samples every Market day, converting believers by the hundreds. Get yours pronto: they won't run out or anything, but life is short - why spend another minute without having had a taste of something this fantastic?
The Loin Ranger
Sandy Acres Farms' Limousin beef is grass-fed and grain-finished for a meat that's beautifully marbled without a lot of excess fat. We've sampled most of their steaks and are big fans of their strip loins and "petites," but haven't had a lot of experience with their roasts. Recently we found a whole sirloin roast in their freezer and snapped it up right away: look at it, doesn't it scream BARBECUE ME? For those of you who might be a little nervous about cooking a whole roast on the barbecue, we're going to include the how-to and some photos of the final product in our next Newsletter, coming out on Wednesday, July 4th. If you haven't yet, sign up for the Newsletter now and you'll receive insider Market info, gossip, product spotlights, recipes and household tips every month.
Mad Over Hats
Smiling Laura of Elli's Hats & Headbands has a dynamite collection of hats for the summer, usually at prices much lower than you'll find in stores. Look for the lady with the pretty flower in her hair on the second floor and spend a few minutes finding the right one to keep the sun from your shoulders! We fell in love with this broad-brimmed white straw number embellished with white polka-dotted brown ribbon, it made us feel like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. In addition to ladies' brimmed and beribboned hats in many styles Laura also crochets baby bonnets and caps, including summer-weight versions great for baby showers and christening gifts.
From June, 2012
Stop or I'll Eat Shoots!
Pretty much anyone who's eaten at a higher-end restaurant in the GTA in the past year or two will have had an experience with micro-greens. Lots of us up here haven't had the opportunity, though, so if you find yourself staring suspiciously down at a bag of tiny baby snap pea shoots mixed with the first tender leaves on a new sunflower plant don't feel bad. Just take it home and eat it - eat it all. Micro-greens come in lots of shapes and sizes, from tiny beet leaves to delicate shade-grown corn seedlings, and usually offer a tiny taste of the vegetable they're supposed to become. In haute cuisine they become gorgeous garnishes, stunning salads and lip-smacking additions to stir-fries; dans ma cuisine Queen Street Market Garden's shoots mixes become nutritious, delicious additions to Justin and Caitlyn's already-formidable greens mix. Bring a little Big City into your kitchen: the sugar snap pea and sunflower shoots they currently bring to Market offer add wonderful flavours and a gorgeous texture to salad and we recommend a fruity dressing, nuts and small bits of your favourite ripe stinky cheese to round things out.
Not Shish Kebab, FISH Kabab
The steam trays in front of Shikha and Hasan at Shikha's Kitchen emit tantalizing odors every time their lids are lifted, and they're lifted often. Many Marketgoers have made a taste of India a recurring item on their Saturday and you'll often see vendors nibbling furtively behind their tables; their pocket food's becoming terribly popular among a group of people that often eats on its feet. In addition to their samosas (wow) and onion pakoras (yum) they also offer lunch combos featuring their creamy Butter Chicken or Chana Masala with rice and salad, and these (see right) Fish Kababs. Love crab cakes? These will fill an empty space in your heart - and belly - that you didn't know existed. Made with tuna, salmon, Hasan's magical blend of whole spices and potato (yes they're gluten-free!), these are available in a combo or straight up, joining the aforementioned samosas and pakoras as one of the new snack-on-the-go favourites at the Market.
If you've passed by this gorgeous leafy vegetable until now, it's time to take some home and try it out. Known for its high nutritional content, Swiss Chard delivers high doses of Vitamins A, K and C, lots of iron and many of the much-valued phytonutrients found in other members of the beet family. Unlike beets, Chard has been bred to contain its flavour and goodness in its leaves and upper stalks, so you'll see them at Market bound together in leafy bunches with no roots. There are several varieties of Chard that grow with yellow, white or red stalks; here in Thunder Bay most of our growers bring a rainbow mix to Market. Chard is often compared to spinach in terms of flavour. Like spinach it can be added to other dishes (it's great on pizza, in pasta dishes and in soups) and in its "baby" form makes a delicious and pretty addition to salads but our favourite way to eat it is sauteed in mass quantities, usually as soon as it becomes available in the spring time. Mature Chard can be somewhat bitter, but cooking mellows it and brings out the subtle flavours. Ask Teresa Daniele from Teresa's All Natural for her best bunch!
Recipe: Garlic Sauteed Swiss Chard
|1 bunch Swiss Chard 3 tablespoons butter|
2 cloves fresh garlic
pine nuts or sunflower seeds
| ||In a lidded frying pan melt butter over medium-low heat. Smash garlic cloves with the flat of a large knife and chop roughly; add to melting butter. Maintain low heat to prevent browning. Meantime wash, dry and roughly chop Chard; add to butter, increase heat to medium and cover pan. Stir frequently and once Chard has wilted scatter a handful of pine nuts or sunflower seeds into it, toss and serve. Makes a great side-dish for grilled meats!|
Almost Too Pretty to Eat
In the lettuce greenhouse at DeBruin's Greenhouses racks and racks of white troughs hold hundreds of heads of butter lettuce in varying stages of development, their snarls of delicate white roots holding them steady in gentle rivulets of nutrient-enriched water. This week's Market batch is at the front of the rows and as you gaze down into the closest head you'll realize its soft, smooth unfurling leaves look remarkably like flower petals and that the whole head most resembles a giant green rose.
Butter lettuce is difficult to grow outdoors with any success, which explains the demand for DeBruin's greenhouse-grown crops: under the poly dome the lettuces are protected from sunburn, insect predation and wind that can detract from their smooth perfect greenness, highly prized for sandwiches and salads. Its flavour matches its texture for delicacy: slightly sweet and literally buttery-tasting, this lettuce is best matched with light citrusy dressings and fresh herbs; we think the cucumbers and cherry tomatoes also available from DeBruin's are all you need to turn this lettuce into a full bowl of salad goodness.
It's Bug Season Again
On the cooler days they stay undercover, but we've picked up a few bites on the odd afternoon when the sun comes out: our least-favourite part of summer seems to have outpaced the warm weather this year and those flying devils are getting aggressive.
If chemical-powered bug repellent is totally repellent to you, you've probably already discovered the lemony-herby all-natural Revenge Outdoor Spray produced by local aromatherapist Irene McFarlane at ORYSI. But did you know about Baby Bug? Little ones need protection from bites too, and lower-concentration Baby Bug gives it without upsetting sensitive skin. If you, like we do, maintain a "going out" pack with bug dope, sun block, band-aids and a spare hat, Baby Bug and Revenge belong in there!
From May, 2012
Size Wow: Full-Figured Gorgeous
She designs most of her rack pieces for sizes that sell the fastest, a necessary evil when your passion is your livelihood, but Joyce Seppala's most excited when a fuller-figured woman asks for something just for her. "Clothes can give us so much pleasure," she says, "both the wearer and the viewer benefit when we wear beautiful things."
Full-figured women often choose dark clothing to hide themselves - but why? Clothes cut just right will do more for you than hiding behind something dark and drab, Joyce says, and then delivers: among her clients are a number of full-figured ladies who have discovered that Joyce's pieces showcase their assets and give their wardrobes juicy pops of colour and texture that draw compliments from all over.
Looking to add a feel-good piece to your wardrobe? Get started by browsing Joyce's racks and then talk with her about what you like best about her clothing and your body; she'll help you find your inner diva.
New Vendor Hide5
New vendor Don Bayes of Hide5 has been doing leather work for over 40 years. These days he focuses mostly on one of a kind and custom pieces. He also runs leatherworking seminars and carries raw materials available for other crafters and artisans. Don believes in craftsmanship and stands by every product he produces.
His display demonstrates his well-rounded approach to his craft: on his table you'll see everything from buttery buckskins to teeny bikinis, saddle and tack work, porcupine quill work, leather carving, leather braiding and so on. Whether your interest is in belts, handbags, clothing or jewellery, you'll find it in leather on Don's table. Our eye was instantly caught by his Mad Hatter top hat: a little bit Dali, a little bit Carroll, a whole lot fantastic. Stop by and admire this and other great pieces every Saturday on the second floor!
With the weather as unpredictable as it is at this time of year you don't want to be committing to shivering over your grill for long periods of time, but you've been waiting all winter to get out there in a teeshirt... what's the solution? Check out two great products available at the Market that will satisfy that craving to cook meat over flame in double time, reducing goosebumps to a minimum and giving you that BBQ goodness you've been waiting for...
The Wild Rice Patty
Made from Cornell Farms' flavourful beef, Rainy River District wild rice and a secret blend of seasonings, we found the Wild Rice Patty a very satisfying "quick and dirty" bbq solution. Keeping a 4-pack of these on hand in the freezer is a great idea for late-in-the-day meal solutions as they thaw quickly. Cooking them is a delight; there's enough fat in them to prevent sticking and give you nice caramelized grill marks, but flare-ups are minimal. The wild rice adds a wonderful light nutty flavour and keeps the patties from shrinking up or in, so although the patties aren't overly thick they're a nice size. We ate ours on smaller buns and the patties hung over the edges in a very satisfying way. Hint: try them with a few slices of Thunder Oak Smoked Gouda melted on top for extra yum.
The Elk Smokie
"Meaty" and "lean" are the first two words to come to mind to describe these cured sausages, which cooked up without any fuss whatsoever - no hissing, spitting or even much sizzling, which in the world of health concerns usually means one thing: minimal fat content. This is not a smokie for eaters who enjoy greasy chins and fingers, but if you've been missing the taste of sausage because of your diet they should please you - and your health advisor - a great deal. Cut open, Rainy River Elk's Elk Smokies reveal that yummy red "cured" look throughout and maintain it through cooking, so your sausage looks as appetizing as it tastes. Another attractive aspect is the natural density of elk meat: if you usually eat two smokies you'll probably settle for one of these, despite their appealing flavour - we found them very filling.
Sweet! Here, After
No barbecue is complete without a finger food dessert, and it's hard to beat a butter tart. It's even harder when you've got five different varieties to consider, and at Little Doo's Farm & Kitchen that's exactly what you'll find: traditional Raisin, No Raisins, Pecan, Turtle Tarts and the Pecan and Raisin variety, which is definitely in the running for our favourite. Michael's pastry, like most of our Market bakers' pastries, has been practiced to perfection - it flakes, it crumbles, it melts in your mouth and tastes so good you'll find yourself hunting for the crumbs left on your shirt-front. Try it at your own risk, though, because once you've had home-made pastry this good you'll never look at the store-bought stuff the same way.
Trade Necessity: the BBQ Apron
Local artist Bobbi Braun of Crazy Horse Studio hand-paints a selection of aprons, tote bags and other items with sturdy washable fabric paint to make sure they're not just fun to look at - they're functional, too. Her BBQ aprons are made of sturdy cotton designed to take the beatings of endless BBQ summers while protecting your civilian clothes from grease spatters and sauce stains. If the selection on her wall - which regularly includes pigs, bulls, wild boar and even the infamous "mankini" design - doesn't have what you're looking for, talk with Bobbi for a custom design just right for you or your favourite BBQ fiend.
More Fresh Goodness
We're always excited to report on the produce season, and never more than in the spring when goodies are first starting to arrive at the Market.
Teresa Daniele of Teresa's All Natural recently advised us she'll be attending the Market starting May 12th, joining Boreal Edge Farm, Belluz Farms, Queen Street Market Garden and DeBruin's Greenhouses who have been with us for a few weeks now. Teresa promises fresh spinach, zesty arugula, many types of lettuce and salad greens, radishes, onions, Swiss chard and kale.
Excited to fill your Market bag? We are - we've been waiting all winter for this. Get cooking!
From April, 2012
You'd expect that if a business like Nor West Sled Dog Adventures started offering homemade dog treats at the Market they would be fantastic, and they are. Talented dog-lover Jennifer Evans has recently come out with two varieties: "Jerky Bites," which are lean strips of dried beef with no additives whatsoever, and "Chow Downs" shown at the right. Chow Downs are made with whole wheat and all-purpose flour, skim milk powder, bacon fat for delicious flavour and egg for healthy coats, and as we've discovered ourselves, dogs love'em. Hand mixed and cookie-cut into a variety of shapes and sizes, we're giving Nor West's new Chow Down treats two paws up for making Rover roll over!
Practical Necessities for Sweater Types
If you're a believer in sweater maintenance you may have felt frustrated over the lack of appropriate tools. Sweater shavers make terrible noises and run through batteries like you own shares in Energizer; they're hard to find and their lifespan isn't usually much more than a sweater's. Frustrated? Wishing you could take those nasty pills off before you pack your warm wear away for the season? Stop by the Knit'N'Needle Shack and ask Doreen about her soft pumice Sweater Stones; they're a natural, gentle way to rub off pilling without undue damage to your fabrics. As you rub, the rough Stone cuts the tiny threads holding pills to knits. The sweater itself has more tensile strength than the Stone, so small pieces of pumice flake off as you use it instead of it rubbing your sweater raw. It makes an elegant and natural solution and one we recommend with Earth Day coming up this month.
If you've been missing Liisa's lovely smile and warm welcome every Saturday morning you'll be pleased to know the Fish Shop has returned to the Market for the year and is installed once again in their location on the west side of the Market vestibule. The Fish Shop, out near Amethyst on the Trans Canada Highway, has been a Thunder Bay icon for decades. First operated by Liisa's mom on a smoked-fish basis only, it's become under Liisa's brilliant imagination a community stop where folks can find fresh local eggs, baking, seasonal produce, homemade meals to go and a collection of locally-made gifts that will knock your socks off. Meet Liisa at Market for their famous Superior trout - both alder-smoked and fresh - as well as whitefish, pickerel and other locally-available fish. She's also got a mouth-watering selection of ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fish meals and sides. Please join us in welcoming Liisa and the Fish Shop back to Market.
Vanderwees Farms' jumbo-sized eggs are a rare commodity in Thunder Bay - unless you've got the inside scoop. Just in time for Easter, Tyler Breukelman has begun coming to Market with his uncle's potatoes as well as the hard-to-find Jumbo Whites from Vanderwees. Meet Tyler and pick up yours every Saturday!
From March, 2012 Mushroom Quiche
Bernice and Dennis Woods are still expanding their repertoire of baked goods at the Market. Our latest Berni's Baking finding, the Mushroom Quiche, is available in both family and personal sizes. Starting with their rich and flaky butter pastry, the talented twosome whip up a light and fluffy filling of eggs, cream, cheddar and Swiss cheeses jammed with ham, onions and mushrooms and dotted with chives. We suggest serving it with a nice green salad (Belluz Farms offers local greens right now!) to complement the hearty serving of meat and dairy embodied in this rich and delicious quiche.
Handwashing Fixation's Delight
Whether you're a gardener or just someone who really enjoys the feeling and soapy smell of clean hands, you've probably discovered the nosegay of textures and scents on the table at Moss Cottage. Made by hand from natural oils and plants, Moss Cottage's Urban Farmchick scrubbing soaps just keep getting better. Awhile back we discovered the Oatmeal Scrub - great for whole-body exfoliation - and were really excited to find these two new varieties of hand soaps to take home: Rosemary Lemon Mint, blended with crushed vanilla bean for scrubbing, and Orange Coffee Scrub, both olive oil-based and super-saturated for richness.
Based on the recent trend of brand-name pump soaps appearing in guest bathrooms, we predict a corresponding rise in popularity of soaps like Kate's among supporters of the Shop Local movement. Looking to make a nice gift to a friend? Skip the mall and check out soap makers like Kate at the Market. Paired with a pretty soapdish from Early Snows Pottery you'll make a gift that's practical, useful and attractive - and support two talented local artisans making great natural products.
If you're a fan of kielbasa, a lover of garlic sausage, a sucker for smoked goodness, head over to Bogdala's Smoked Meats and check out the wide-format Garlic Coil, a huskier version of the traditional favourite. This bigger brother to our favourite inducer of Garlic Coma (oh, those heaven-scented naps) allows for larger chunks of meat to be squeezed into the casing, making for a nice firm sausage that can be sliced thinly for sandwiches. For us, the only way to keep ourselves from eating it all off the cutting board was to promise to cook it first. Accordingly, we can now advise you that the fat Garlic Coil can be cut into 1/4 inch rounds, skinned and fried quickly for use in egg-and-English-muffin sandwiches (it's the perfect diameter), fried in small wedges to season a Caesar salad and, still our seasonal favourite, cut into generous chunks for toasting on sticks over a fire: must be included on the shopping list for any ice-fishing trip or poker run!
Eye Candy. Tummy Warmer.
Kerri, the magic spoonsmith behind the table at Baba's Ukrainian Food, smiles knowingly when people gasp at the colour of the homemade Borscht stacked in tubs before them. The big windows on the second floor tempt customers to lift the tubs up to the light to admire the way the sun gleams through the candy-red contents while she grins and says to us, "it's all in when you add the vinegar."
When you eat something that looks so candy-like in colour, you almost expect it to be sweet. Baba's Borscht, we learned when we took our own jewel-toned tub home to sample, is certainly not. Rich and brothy, vinegary and salty and just-right beety, there's nothing candy-like about this robustly-flavoured savoury soup. Packed with a variety of bite-sized vegetables and bits of pork, this soup proved both delicious and hearty; this colour commentary gives Baba's Outrageously Red Borscht two spoons up for both flavour and style.
Thunder Oak Cheese Farm's Smoked Gouda
Much to the pride of the Schep family and everyone who supports their award-winning cheese-making, Thunder Oak Cheese Farm's Smoked Gouda was recently featured in the Canadian Dairy Farmers' publication "All You Need is Cheese." Cheese expert Anne-Marie Shubin described Thunder Oak Smoked Gouda as "elegant and sweet," with a "rich, milky quality" that doesn't overwhelm the "smoky aroma and clean finish." She recommends it on short rib sandwiches or boiled new potatoes, snacked on with dill pickles and invited to barbecue nights. She also recommends it in "a main course salad tossed with grapes, leftover rice or pasta, nuts, and bitter or baby greens." Agreed!
From February 2012
Spring's Coming - Get Your Share!
Boreal Edge Farm will be at the Market selling CSA shares into March. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and is a way of teaming up with your favourite farmer for mutual benefit: while you pay in advance, you're guaranteed a fair share of fresh and delicious local produce, made available every week for pickup in town or at their farm. In addition to standards like carrots, greens, peas and beans, you'll receive veggies you may not have tried before, adding an element of adventure and discovery. Baskets are designed to provide your family with enough veggies for the whole week. Got a small family unit? Consider partnering with friends to split a share.
The official state treat of Maine, the Whoopie Pie was invented by East Coast ladies looking to use up leftover cake batter. They'd sandwich a creamy filling between two cakelets and include them in their husbands' lunch pails as a treat. Known as "whoopie!" pies for the responses those happy husbands made upon their discovery, the Whoopie Pie has become a more common phenomenon all over North America. Bernice Woods of Berni's Pies makes her generous-sized versions with delicious red velvet cakelets instead of standard chocolate, and fills them with a sinful/heavenly mixture of marshmallow fluff, cream cheese and butter. They're tender, a bit crumbly, and infinitely more satisfying than the chemical-laden commercially-produced varieties: two thumbs up and some finger-licking for Bernice!
Boreal Forest Teas' 40 Below
Looking for a way to warm up after an outing? Boreal Forest Teas' collection of sustainable, organic and wild-harvested teas offers a variety of yummy, caffeine-free blends. We love their 40 Below: in addition to brewing up a delicious pot of Chai-like tea, it can be steeped in hot apple juice to make a sweet, hot cure-the-winter-blues beverage for kids of all ages. Great for taking the chill out of a cold day, soothing cranky tummies and improving immune function, each package is loaded with star anise, cloves, ginger and cinnamon. Not only will your mouth and tummy thank you, your home will smell wonderful!
H&P's Pineapple Rhubarb Jam
Pat's Perfect Pineapple lineup has a new star member. Productive Pat of H&P Jams and Jellies, always looking for a new way to stock her pantry, started mixing tart rhubarb with zingy pineapple and came up with this sweet result: a smooth yellow jam that spreads on toast like morning sunshine. It's got rhubarb zip and pineapple zing in spades, balanced with enough sugar to make this treat suitable for breakfast and an ideal filling for tarts, Danish and the odd ends of pastry left over from a pie-baking session.
Release Your Inner Child
If you're like us, you sometimes feel a little envious of the unbelievably cute hats you see kids wearing around these days. You may already have checked out the Owl Eyes, the Horse Tails and the Double Poms on the table at Elli's Hats and Headbands on the second floor of the Market and coveted some of those tiny-sized items for yourself. Covet no more - with a word to nimble-fingered Laura you can order any hat made in any size, in the colours you like!
Not quite brave enough to start with one of the helm-style Owl Eye toques, we asked instead for a Double Pom, knitted from cloudy-soft marled wool. It's one of the comfiest hats we've ever put on and we can now understand why the kids are so happy to wear them: no itching, they're wonderfully warm and they mold to your head perfectly. Why let the little ones have all the fun?
Bee23 My Valentine?
Michelle Hamer joined the Market before the holidays and has become a regular fixture on the second floor. Her warm smile and enthusiasm has earned her many new friends among Market customers and you'll often see browsers sniffing and rubbing their wrists in front of her table, where she sells her wax-based line of natural beauty products.
Valentine's Day is fast approaching, and if you're looking for a luscious gift of local goodness a visit to check out her products is an absolute must. Beeswax, a natural antiseptic and emollient, makes the perfect frame for the essential oils Michelle uses in her formulations, which are all chemical-free and long-lasting balms you'll want to smooth on year-round.
Michelle's gift boxes are meant to hold a few different products. A typical gift for someone else, she says, will include a scent and a Hotty Body Balm (she offers three heavenly flavours of each product).
Bee23 offers a special deal on her gift box: stuff it with three products and receive a 10% discount on the whole thing; make it four items (because gee, this one would smell really good on you!) and you'll get 15% off your purchase.
From January 2012
Chino's Vegetarian Coney Sauce
Meat-eaters-turned-vegetarian often tell us they still suffer guilty meat cravings. The most common "dirty secret?" Hot dogs, we hear, are number one. Veggie dogs can be pretty tasty, but they often lack the oomph a real dog brings to the table, and true die-hards miss (gasp!) the Coney Dog option.
You may remember us dissecting Don Sacino's Coney Sauce last summer. Since then Don's been working on improving its shelf-life, and has come up with this vegetarian version that includes all the delicious and aromatic spices of the meaty version, but will also store longer. Vegetarians can open a jar of Vegetarian Coney Sauce and simmer for half an hour to achieve vegetarian perfection, while meat-eaters can toss in a handful of ground beef, simmer and enjoy the carnivore's version. Either one tops a dog deliciously, and makes an easy addition to any hot dog lunch.
Bare Organics' Baby Balm
We talk about Baby Balm almost every year at this time, because it's practically a necessity for anyone suffering the ravages of winter. Recognized by many appreciative parents as a wonderful alternative to zinc-based diaper creams, Baby Balm acts to both moisturize and protect skin. Made with a blend of organic emollients like shea butter, olive oil, coconut oil and sunflower oil, it was originally intended to prevent and clear up diaper rash for owner Karen's sensitive-skinned children. Since then Karen and many Bare Organics customers have discovered that it works great on winter-dry feet and hands, soothes and protects windburned cheeks and softens rough elbows and knees.
You Can Use Plastic
Sandy Acres Farm has taken the plunge and now offers a card terminal for purchases at their table. This makes it easy for folks to put deposits down on sides and quarters and shop their on-site freezer for dinner purchases, and throughout the week they're able to accept Interac, Mastercard and VISA on meat deliveries. "It's much more convenient for our customers," part-owner Scott Poluyko tells us, "and the response has been great." While visiting their table recently we watched a customer notice their new sign and put their cash back into their pocket, choosing instead to pay with plastic.
"I only came with $40 in my pocket," the customer said. "Now I've got a little more cash to get some of the things I'd forgotten I needed while I'm here."
Thanks for taking the plunge, guys! We're sure your customers - and maybe the other vendors - appreciate the move.
The Boneless Cross-Rib Roast
It can be tricky, buying meat wrapped in brown paper. Especially when you don't recognize the label. We're still not sure what a blade or a hip roast is, but this week thanks to Tarrymore Farms we got to examine, cook and devour a Boneless Cross-Rib Roast, one of several cuts that commonly come out of our local abattoir. The Cross-Rib is a rolled roast cut from the shoulder, or chuck, of a steer, and is often labelled as a pot roast. For us, it was an opportunity to pull out the slow-cooker and prep dinner before we left the house, so we could come home to a dinner-scented kitchen and minimal dish duty.
A slow-cooker is a real asset, especially when you're busy and the weather's cold. Just add meat, cut veggies and liquid, turn it on and walk away. Come back at the day's end to minimal preps.
For this roast we sliced two cloves of garlic and, using a small knife, inserted the slices into slits in the roast's surface. Then we peppered it all over and browned it quickly in a skillet before covering it in the slow cooker with carrots, parsnips, onions, celery and potatoes. A big splash of leftover red wine provided the liquid, a couple of bay leaves a nice herby flavour and voila! Dinner-to-be. We cooked Tarrymore's cross-rib roast for 6 hours on High and removed the lid to find it still juicy and the proteins nicely broken down, so not only could you cut it with a fork but it sliced nicely when cold - great for sandwiches. At dinner time we poured the liquid into a small pot, thickened it with a little flour/water slurry and used the resulting gravy to juice up the whole plate, sopping up the remains with crusty bread.Looking for more Market Features? Click here for product highlights from 2011.