As long as everything is apple-based, we’re fine

Next week is the 16th edition of Pointe à Callière’s 18th Century Public Market in the Place Royale in Old Montreal.
Markets are enjoying a renaissance in Montreal, it seems, and there’s a growing number of truly local, seasonal markets. Of course, we have our big, wonderful, stalwarts, like the Atwater market (walking distance from home) and the Jean Talon market, but it’s interesting to see that in many neighbourhoods, tiny local markets are springing up. Most are weekly or even monthly, and most are only open from May to September, but it’s nice to see.
In places like our borough of Verdun, for instance, lower incomes usually mean a vicious circle of low quality produce – people cannot afford high-end supermarket prices, so we end up with low-end supermarkets, which naturally stock the second or third-grade produce, not to mention the cheap junk food. More calories, fewer dollars – this is how low-income families end up not eating well.
So local markets, stocking local, seasonal produce, offer cheap, good food. Yay!
Now, the downside to this is that we’re in Quebec. This is not a political statement, it is a geographical statement. The sad fact is, there isn’t much fresh local produce for at least four months of the year, unless we count apples (which apparently, and weirdly, grow year-round).
We love the idea of eating local, but we’re also committed to our weekly menu strategy – every Saturday, while we sip coffee and read our electronic paper, we plan the supper menu for the week, then compile the grocery list based on that menu. This means we only buy what we need for the week, rather than getting to the end of the week and regretfully chucking what was once a really lovely fresh vegetable.
So my quandary with the local market idea was that the menu-based shopping list means NOT being seduced by the prettiest vegetables, but knowing ahead of time what we need – but local means that what we need isn’t necessarily on hand…
Then I found SOS Cuisine, one of a few sites that list what’s available when, according to the growing and harvesting season. The SOS Cuisine site has the added advantage of links to recipes for all the produce, as well as a ‘forecast’ of what’s going to be in season over the next three weeks.
Tada! Now we can check out what’s likely to be on offer at the local market, plan the menu accordingly, and prepare our list as usual. We’ll try not to be too smug 🙂

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