Saturday, October 16, 2010

The end of the farmer's markets

Montreal has some wonderful, all-year farmer's markets (Marche Atwater and Marche Jean Talon are the biggest and best) but, during the summer, lots of little neighbourhood farmer's markets pop up as well. Last year a couple of organisations (Le Sud-Ouest Montreal, Nourrir Montreal and Agriculture, Pecheries et Alimentation Quebec) started an initiative to bring low cost, healthy, fresh food to some of the, well, poorer neighbourhoods. Lucky me, they started one in Verdun, at the Parc du Souvenir, right near the Verdun metro. Open on Fridays 3pm - 8pm, and Sundays 9am - 3pm, the market is a very welcome addition - the produce is local and super fresh and the prices are super cheap! (Think five jalapenos for $1!) I love it! And though it is small, I think that is part of its charm. I really don't enjoy the "challenge" of trying to find the best produce or the best price at the different stalls in the larger markets, so this "one stall" version, that you can see below, suits me just fine!

It was also at this market that I discovered Sweet Lee's Rustic Bakery, a brother-sister baking team that sells a pretty huge array of muffins and cheesecakes and cookies and crumbles and..... you get the idea! They are looking to open a bricks and mortar stall in St Henri soon, but manned a stall at the market to sell their wares and drum up business! Yum! I would often buy a vegie muffin to nibble on whilst I decided on my fruit and veg....

But, as I alluded to in the title - this weekend marked the final weekend for the market. The cooling weather, the end of the harvest and the fast approaching first snow fall mean that a little outdoor market can't survive the winter. It is part of the cycle of life here in Montreal, and is something that takes a little getting used to for an Australian! But the markets will be back next year and so in February, when it is -25C outside and the little park is covered in snow and I am hurrying past to get into the warmth of the metro, I know one of the things I will be looking forward to!

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