As dismal as the days seem right now, it is only a few short weeks until the winter solstice and the days start getting longer again.
In the meantime, the Sunday bright spot in the Tri-Cities continues to be the farmers market held at the Port Moody recreation complex.
Nine years ago, the winter market started with a handful of determined vendors every second Sunday. This year — our fourth season of weekly markets — we have expanded to upwards of 25 vendors every week, offering everything from fresh seasonal vegetables, prepared foods and artisan giftware — something to be proud of. It’s thanks our customers that the market remains viable and continues to grow.
And speaking of growing, have you heard about probiotics, those helpful bacteria that grow naturally in our bodies and some foods? We know that probiotics are an effective treatment for all kinds of stomach-related issues; what we are also learning is that probiotics may benefit your heart, too, by possibly reducing cholesterol levels and helping to reduce blood pressure. Further studies are showing promise in other areas.
The common cold, bone health, diabetes and even mental health are all areas that a diet rich in probiotics may have some benefit. And just to make things more interesting, let’s add some prebiotics to the mix, too. Prebiotics are fibres in food that our bodies can’t use as fuel but the good bacteria in our gut can. While not a substitute for medical care, it is something that can easily be added to your diet.
Which brings us to why I am writing about probiotics in a farmers market column. We have some fabulous vendors that make adding pre- and probiotics to your diet easy. One you are familiar with is Walter Harvey. He brings his lovely organic fruit from his orchard in the Okanagan. He also brings pure apple cider vinegar and his famous Tiger Juice — a secret blend with some serious heat that will certainly amp up your probiotic game. Red Barn is also bringing vinegars to market. They have a wonderful line of flavoured vinegars made on their farm in Cawston. We are also welcoming back The Raw Guy; Brian makes superb kale chips that are dehydrated, not baked, so all the enzymes and other healthy things are not destroyed. The chips are also vegan and the flavours are outstanding.
Two new vendors that I am excited about are Koji Salt and Trinity’s Tea. Denver from Koji has created a miraculous salt substitute from fermented rice. Koji Salt adds a depth of flavour that will turn your everyday recipes into something new and different while at the same time reducing your sodium consumption 80%. It is a flavour enhancer that will impart a sweet, salty, savoury, umami that you will fall in love with.
Trinity’s Tea is a premium organic lemon, ginger and honey tea concentrate that helps to soothe indigestion, sore throats and colds. It tastes great and works even better.
Keep an eye open for Alami Foods at the Moody market. A regular vendor at the Coquitlam summer market, Alami makes tempeh, a fermented soybean food. Delicious and nutritious, tempeh can be used in so many ways.
My absolutely most favourite form of probiotics is beer — not the mass-produced kind but the small-batch, artisan kind.
Hello Mariner Beer. We are excited to have Coquitlam’s first craft brewer at the market this year along with Moody Ales. Take home a bottle of beer and pair it with a grilled reuben sandwich on multigrain bread from Gesundheit and you have hit the gut-friendly meal out of the park.
Karen Curtis is the Lemonade Lady (kicslemonade.ca and kicslemonade.blogspot.ca) at the Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam farmers markets. Her column runs monthly.
RECIPE & WORKSHOPS
Here is a recipe for another great meal — use your crockpot.
SAUSAGE & POTATOES
Adapted from The Southern Lady Cooks
2 14 oz cans sauerkraut, undrained (or one 2 lb. bag)
5 or 6 potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 cup water
1 pound Polish sausage, cut into chunks (could use smoked sausage)
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Place sauerkraut and potatoes in crock pot, add spices and water. Place sausage on top and cook 4 hours on high (6 hours on low) until potatoes are done. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
I would also add a couple of carrots from Never Say Die and an onion from Ripple Creek Organic.
Serve this with slices of Love Birds bread from A Bread Affair and a green salad with a simple vinaigrette made with olive oil, Vlad’s honey and a flavoured vinegar from Red Barn.
ADDITIONAL MARKET PLUS WORKSHOPS
Here are several upcoming events and workshops courtesy of the farmers market (makebakegrow.com):
• Christmas Farmers Market: The Dec. 9 market at Coquitlam’s Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex will feature performances by school choirs and local musicians providing holiday music, crafts for kids and Christmas cookie decorating for kids for a small fee.
• At the Dec. 9 market, Celia Chiang from Port Moody Flowers will be doing a winter floral arranging workshop at the Christmas Farmers Market, and at the Port Moody Farmers Market. Details and registration are available via eventbrite.ca.
• Chang will give the same workshop the next day, at the Dec. 10 PoMo Winter Market. Details and registration are available via eventbrite.ca.
• Gingerbread house making for kids will be at the Dec. 17 market from 10:30 to 12:30 p.m. (or while supplies last). Cost is $5 per child.