October is one of our favourite months. The pesky flies have left with the summer weather but the air is still pleasant, just right for outside chores. There are lots of comforting routines involved in getting ready for the cold season - things to put away, things to take out of storage, plans to make, summer tasks to wrap up. There's still fresh local produce on the market and opportunities to squirrel away just a little more home-grown produce for the winter. Food, instinctively, is on all of our minds; we celebrate the season of plenty with Thanksgiving dinner and prepare for the season of scarcity by stocking our freezers and pantry shelves.
Lots is going on
In food this month:
- Sunday October 2nd the Bay Street Film Festival will showcase the Food Security Research Network's local food documentary "Northern Grown" featuring some of your favourite vendors from the Market.
- Vote ON Food and Farming on October 6th. Your friends in food urge you to consider your candidates' food and farming platforms before marking your ballot.
- Lakehead University will host World Food Day in the Agora on October 13th. Organizer Lee-Ann Chevrette of the FSRN, who you may recognize from her Boreal Forest Teas table at the Market, says the theme this year is "Rising Food Prices." Everyone is welcome - visit the Food Security Research Network for the event schedule.
- Bring Food Home, probably Ontario's biggest biennial food and agriculture conference, takes place in Peterborough at Trent U October 27th through 29th. Foodies from all over Canada will get together to share information, tackle some of the challenges facing local, regional and provincial food systems, and discuss how we can build a sustainable structure that benefits everyone.
Here at the Market, things they are a-changing - for the better, we think. With the upstairs space now available to us we're seeking new vendors to join our team and making plans for a Christmas Market that will showcase some of Thunder Bay's most talented artisans and crafters. If you know someone who would benefit from a table at the Market, please send them our way.
The Market Schedule
- Thursday Produce Markets have wrapped up for the year but there are still a dozen produce vendors attending Saturday markets; the smaller number means John can fit them all up front of the Dove Building instead of around back. On their tables you'll see squash, potatoes, onions, root vegetables, apples and LOTS of delicious local garlic.
- This Saturday only, October 1st, the Market will be partnering with the Go Green Expo and as part of their event running simultaneously we'll be open extended hours: from 8am until 4pm. Be sure to check out the workshops, educational displays and more next door in the Coliseum Building and discover some new avenues to a cleaner, greener lifestyle.
- We'll also be open extended hours during the CLE Fall Into Winter show taking place October 14th through 16th. See us in the Dove Building while the Show is on: Friday, October 14th from 4pm - 8pm, Saturday October 15th from 8am - 4pm and Sunday October 16th from 11am - 4pm.
What's New at the Market?
Our new upstairs space has given us room to double in size and we've already started populating the second floor with interesting new vendors. Some of our long-time friends have taken advantage of the sunlit and airy space and moved upstairs, kit and kaboodle, to display their wares.
Bobbi from Crazy Horse Studios likes the big white display wall behind her new location upstairs so much that she's been inspired to create large art to take advantage of it. Check out Bobbi's 7' fabric panels painted with Hallowe'en motifs. As always, Bobbi's fabric art is hand-painted on all-weather fabric with waterproof paints and will make awesome one-of-a-kind decorations for your yard or home.
Another Bobbi, "Bobbi Brooke" is offering one-of-a-kind jewellery made with a neat assortment of vintage buttons, beads and feathers found at antique shops, in attics and brought to her by clients seeking to preserve pieces of the past. Owner and artisan Aimee Turpin says she started using found items because she wanted to do something special with her grampa's name buttons from his old military uniforms. The resulting pieces were so popular that she began making custom pieces for friends and family, eventually branching out into a full-scale enterprise.
Among other new things, upstairs you'll find Elli's Hats & Headbands, Bling for Less, Cupcake Pops, the Great Northwest Coffee Co's new corner cafe and a display from Petrie's featuring funky functional beach bikes. Be sure to make the climb up to see!
Shikha's Kitchen brings ready-to-eat Indian food to the Market. Proud new owner Shikha tells us her uncle Hasan, who does most of the cooking, has 24 years of experience as a chef in Toronto. He proudly describes how he specializes in blending his own whole fresh spices. Recently he took the time to show us, by way of example, the rice they serve with every order: whole cloves, whole peppers, whole cardamom and more. Each week Shikha's Kitchen will rotate in a new menu item for your delectation, served with rice, salad and a homemade chutney dressing. Get there early to get yours; their steam-trays were empty by noon the first Saturday they attended, and while they're increasing quantities to compensate, demand is also growing as the word gets out.
Riverbend Farm is a dairy farm in the Slate River Valley south of the city. Wilma Mol, her husband and their four children have been practicing additive-free yogurt-making to keep themselves supplied for some time now, and are ready to begin making their product available to the public. Using non-homogenized local milk they've developed a product completely without additives, and so the label on the containers reads simply "whole milk and probiotic culture." It's not your regular store-bought yogurt, which is regularly thickened with additives like cornstarch and gelatine, and so the consistency may surprise you, but if you've been looking for a pure, natural yogurt Wilma and the kids will be happy to give you a free sample and tell you more about their process.
We haven't placed them yet, but watch in the coming weeks for vendors like TYC Catering, coming with diabetic baking, The Glass Lady with her stained glass art and supplies, and Fiorine Lucas with her fabulous Thanksgiving ham staple: Champagne Mustard.
While we don't have any artisan processors offering fluid milk in our area, Beatrice does do business with local dairy farmers and supplies local grocery stores first rather than shipping milk away and then back again. If you've been looking for a source of local fluid milk you can purchase Beatrice products sourced and processed right here in Thunder Bay - just look for the plant code on the top of the carton. The Thunder Bay plant code is 1503, which means if you see those digits on a Beatrice fluid milk product (everything from Whipping Cream to Homo to Skim) it came from the local plant processing local milk.
Foodie Tip: Storing Garlic
"Garlic Mark" Boles of Cattails Farm says you can store our local hard-stem garlic for a year. Some of his customers are still working off of supplies purchased last fall. Mark recommends keeping the garlic somewhere it will be exposed to the air in an environment a little cooler than room temperature and NOT in the dark; he says the dark makes it think it's been planted and that it's time to sprout.
This summer provided fantastic growing conditions so there's lots of local garlic available at the Market; conditions were also good for curing so you should be able to store it well over the winter. Stock up! Growers like Mark are harder to reach once they stop attending Market so if you'd rather be spending your money on zesty local stuff that will store well instead of grocery-store stuff that will be sending up little green tendrils a week after you buy it, get yours while it's still easy.