Exploring local markets in Hamilton and eating in season
In Hamilton, we are very lucky to have so many great farmers’ markets. Majority of them only run from mid-June to mid-October, but there are a few that run all year. Here are just a few of them:
One of the things I love about the farmers’ market is trying new vegetables. Kohlrabi was a new one I tried last year and it is a member of the brassica oleracea family, similar to broccoli or cabbage. When I come across a new vegetable, I usually ask the farmer the best way to prepare and most of them will also give you a sample to try. Sometimes the farmers may even have recipes to hand out for those less popular items. This helps encourage people to branch out of their comfortable zone. Another great way to try new vegetables is signing up for a CSA basket. Last year I signed up for one through ManoRun, and we loved it! Every Saturday I would walk down to the Locke Street market and pick up our small share. CSA baskets are not only convenient, but you are also able to switch out an item if you’d prefer to have more or less of something.
The Ottawa Street market is a great place to pick up large bushels of fruits and vegetables for canning. Danielle and I went here to pick up the pickling cucumbers when we made pickles. The farmers usually have seconds baskets off to the side, and you can get a large amount for a lesser price – this is perfect for preserving.
With fall in full swing now, you will find a lot more root vegetables and squash. This site is a great resource to see what foods are in season, and all the farmers’ markets in Ontario. I love brussel sprouts and spaghetti squash, as well as pie pumpkins. Pie pumpkins are awesome because you can use them to decorate around your home, and then slowly use them for yummy baked goods or savoury dishes. If there are any pie pumpkins leftover at the end of October around our home, I like to roast them and make pumpkin puree to freeze and use throughout the winter. One of our favourite recipes is this pumpkin loaf. I’ve added chocolate chips too, and it’s so delicious!
What are some of your favourite market items? Do you prefer spring (garlic scapes – the best!) or fall (butternut squash!)? If you have any favourite recipes, please share!