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Farmers Markets
September 10, 2010
Jam-Packed Fall Schedule at Farmers Markets

Being the avid food trend watchers that we are, we haven't missed the obvious fact that canning and preserving, once a hobby associated with mums and grandmums, is now hot business again, and with a whole new generation. Especially interesting is that many of these new enthusiasts are living in city apartments and don't even have an apple tree in their backyard to justify it.

Not since the era of victory gardens has there been so much talk about Kerr jars, sugar vs pectin content, and where to get a good price on a bushel of pickle cukes. Only now, the chat is taking place on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as opposed to over the backyard picket fence. We are just waiting now to see notices for pantry parties (like Christmas cookie exchanges) -- "I'll trade you a jar of bread and butter pickles and a salsa for your canned peaches and a jar of strawberry jam." We're sure they already exist, we just haven't run across the evidence yet.

To us it seems like all this preserving frenzy is a natural extension of the craze in recent years for home baking and cupcakes. And the two are probably influenced by the same modern situation: a need to economize by cooking at home, and the inevitable dilemma of the new and successful gardener (called the "zucchini effect"): what to do with the bumper crop? Even the fear of BPA in commercially canned products. People start out with the old-fashioned solutions out of necessity, and then discover that the process is fun.

Plus, there's the emotional factor. Even if you know you are unlikely to eat your way through 12 jars of jam before the snow thaws next spring, just looking at the rows of jewel-toned jars on the kitchen counter gives you a feeling of accomplishment that other domestic tasks in life seldom do.

So all that being analyzed, there are two great events to take note of, taking place tomorrow (Saturday, September 11) at the East Vancouver Farmers Market at Trout Lake.

First up is their Tomato Festival, featuring a heirloom tomato sampling table (find out what a "Radiator Charlie" and a "Mortgage Helper" tastes like); a tomato beauty contest (there is some fierce competition between farmers); and they will be having a naming contest for a 'new' heirloom tomato bread by Klippers Organic Farm. In short, this Saturday will be your one stop shop for all you ever wanted to know about tomatoes, especially heirlooms.

Then next ... the Vancouver Farmers Markets will be producing a new public educational series, Preserving the Bounty of the Summer Growing Season. Due to popular demand, the market will be offering free quick and simple demo classes at their various markets from mid September to mid October that will teach people how to pickle, dry, can, ferment, freeze all sorts of fruits and vegetables to be enjoyed throughout the winter. (See the schedule below.)

The first seminar is taking place this Saturday at Trout Lake and will feature a demonstration on canning a traditional Italian tomato sauce. The free demos will run all day. There will be recipes and tip cards for people to take home as well.

Market organizers are anticipating a big turnout for both the tomato festival and the preserving sessions. Says Shayne Hoobanoff, Public Engagement Manager for the Farmers Markets, "This is the logical evolution in the momentous local food movement that's happening in Vancouver - people want to re-skill themselves in the arts of preserving local food throughout the winter. We're modernising the preservation methods to accommodate smaller kitchens and smaller needs."

The program is being funded with Vancity's enviroFund grant.



Tomato Festival
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Freezing
Trout Lake
Denise Fantinato, former VFM vendor
7 - 8:15 a.m.
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Drying
Main St
Andrea Potter, Rooted Nutrition
1 - 2:15 p.m.
3 - 7 p.m.

Saturday, September 18, 2010
Freezing
West End
Andrea Potter, Rooted Nutrition
7 - 8:15 a.m.
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Freezing
Main St
Andrea Potter, Rooted Nutrition
1 - 2:15 p.m.
3 -7 p.m.

Saturday, September 25, 2010
Pickling
Trout Lake
Andrea Potter, Rooted Nutrition
7 - 8:15 a.m.
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Canning
Main St
Denise Fantinato, former VFM vendor
1 - 2:15 p.m.
3 - 7 p.m.

Harvest Festival
Saturday, October 02, 2010
Pickling
West End
Andrea Potter, Rooted Nutrition
7 - 8:15 a.m.
9 a.m - 2 p.m.

Sunday, October 03, 2010
Canning
Kits
Denise Fantinato, former VFM vendor
8 - 9:15 a.m.
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Saturday, October 09, 2010
Drying
Trout Lake
Andrea Potter, Rooted Nutrition
7 - 8:15 a.m.
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Saturday, October 16, 2010
Canning
West End
Denise Fantinato, former VFM vendor
7 -8:15 a.m.
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.








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