Spring is sprung — even though it is officially over in a few days — and our farmers markets are finally showing some local produce besides last years carrots.
Most importantly, asparagus is here. I have been buying and grilling it for almost a week now, and I don't see Noshette and I getting bored of it anytime soon. Another sure sign that more local veggies are on the way is the appearance of rhubarb in our markets, our forests, the side of the road, and also in my community garden plot.
Strawberries are also here, but it is only the beginning of the season and they will get so much sweeter as soon as next week. I had a few Mexican and Californian strawberries during the winter and they just didn't do it for me. They were big and they were red, but the interiors were white and the sweetness just wasn't there. I will most probably be making our family's year supply of strawberry jam in the coming days as the market is filled with berries and the prices go down a bit. Right now a pint of local strawberries will cost $4.00 (Canadian) while 2 pints of California strawberries will only set us back $2.00. The world is a strange place.
I've been dying for a decent tomato for months, and I'll still have to wait a fair bit until I can enjoy Montreal tomatoes, but a couple of vendors are selling Quebec hydroponic tomatoes and Lebanese cucumbers. I bought some and they were pretty good. Not as good as outdoor, but way better than our normal winter tomatoes from Mexico and California that taste like cardboard.
The farmers markets in Montreal are not truly farmers markets in the true sense of the word as there are vendors selling pineapples and mangoes right next to their local berries and romaine lettuce. Unless you ask, you may not know where your food is coming from. Ontario Farmers Markets has recently started a program to try and create a few markets that are 100% farmers markets in Toronto. The Torontovore complains about it, but I think it may be a good idea.
After a long and hard winter, where I ate far fewer vegetables than normally eat during the wintertime, I am overjoyed that the season has finally arrived in Montreal. I can't wait to shop at our markets, enjoy the bounty of my CSA, and also to eat from my own community garden plot, where I recently got my very own plot. There will be posts about all of these food sources very soon.