Borscht and the Farmer’s Market

Borscht

Hello everyone,

Now if you know me, you know how much I love farmers’ markets – fresh produce, baking, pickles and samples galore. I gladly dive head first into the mosh-pit of eager and sometimes aggressive shoppers, bent on getting my hands on so many delightful goodies. Also, if you know me, you know I don’t drive, so when it comes to places to go, walking distance makes a big difference in my life. But when I moved to St. Albert, little did I know that the town is home to western Canada’s largest outdoor market. (John did realize this!)  And how lucky am I that this magical, gigantic farmers’ market is only a 15 minute walk from my front door? Pretty lucky indeed!

Such a vast market has so many interesting things to offer. You have the classics – pottery, furniture, jewelry, pickles, pies and grannies selling knitted doily thingies. But this farmers’ market goes much further than most. The St. Albert market boasts anything you would want and more. Fish, organic chicken, eggs and sauces all over. But wait, I’m just getting started. I frequently buy fresh pasta and pesto, Blue Kettle dressings, or honey. There is an Indian booth, a Mexican booth and a Jamaican booth, that make great na’an bread, corn tortillas and beef patties respectively, all boasting dips, sauces and other frozen delicacies. There are booths offering Greek dips, and by my last count two green onion cake vendors, and at about 4 selling Ukrainian food (people in St. Albert must really like their perogies). Other interesting vendors include the wild mushroom stand, the maple syrup guy, and this booth that sells an assortment of these adorable pop-up cards for all occasions. There is a brownie stand I adore that sells these wonderful little one bite brownies of all different types. I love going to the Happy Camel booth and sampling their pita and hummus (they make the best hummus at the market – I have sampled them all!) There are also food trucks parked all around, and musicians at every corner… I could go on and on. If you haven’t had the chance to go, it’s worth the trip – even if you just go for the samples!
St. Albert Farmer's Market

St. Albert Farmer’s Market

Produce is key to any farmers’ market, and this market boasts a wide variety. From Kuhnlman’s, to White’s (who have the best tomatoes at the market) to Steve and Dan’s gigantic BC fruit stand (I can’t help but stand and ogle the smorgasbord of beautiful fresh fruit at this one), there are dozens of produce vendors often with piles and piles of produce to sell. This market runs Saturdays from mid-June through Thanksgiving weekend, and I really like to take advantage of the ability to buy fresh produce in the summer and fall months, as I am not granted this luxury year round. Of course, It’s not as cheap as the grocery store, but it’s so nice to get fresh vegetables and fruits from a local trusted grower. The fruit is really pricey, so I usually treat myself to only one type of fruit each visit (last week was Reinier cherries) but I admit, I tend to go pretty crazy on the vegetables. Beets, kohlrabi, carrots, onions, fresh dill, green beans, kale and of course tomatoes are some of the regulars to make it into my bag.

John found this wonderful little pull-cart for me at Save-On Foods. It looks like a small golf bag and allows me to buy as much as I want at the market without the use of a car or a guy named John to carry vegetables back for me. John has never turned me down when I ask for his help, but with my new cart, I can head down by myself and load up my cart with vegetables from the market and haul it back home! Pictured below is my last vegetable haul from the farmer’s market.

I look forward to the farmers’ market every weekend, and never fail to enjoy myself. Whether I am there with friends, family, John or by myself, I always have a wonderful time.

So in the spirit of vegetables, I have decided to make Borcht my recipe of the week. With beets, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, fresh dill and any other vegetable you would like to add, a trip to the farmer’s market is a great way to acquire all necessary ingredients for this Ukrainian soup. My Nana makes such fantastic borscht, so I got the recipe and method from her. This classic Ukrainian soup is so simple and takes no time at all to make.

My Vegetable Haul

My Vegetable Haul

TIPS:
– Remember to use the beet greens in your soup
– If you buy fresh beets (like the ones at the farmers’ market) there is no need to peel them as the skin is nice and tender
– This soup freezes very well, providing you don’t add the potatoes.
– Serve with a dollop of sour cream

Ingredient I can’t live without:

SOUR CREAM
Soups, perogies, tacos, chilis and cakes – the perfect moistener for so many things. My Ukrainian soul embraces this ingredient that is critical to life itself.

So try to get out to the farmers’ market this year if you haven’t already, and treat yourself to some fresh local produce before the weather turns on all of us!

Bon appetit,

Julie

Click here to view printable Word version of the recipe:
Borscht

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Borscht

Vary the quantities of vegetables depending on how much soup you want to make.

Beets – use leafs and stems as well
Try using 4 medium beets, more if desired

Any combination of the following:
Carrots
Peas
Green beans
Onions
Cabbage

Potatoes – if you are not freezing

Parsley
Dill

2 – 3 chopped cloves garlic
Salt to taste

White vinegar or pickle juice

Directions:

  1. Fry onions in oil so they are cooked, even a little.
  2. Add all other vegetables to the pot.
  3. Add water to cover the vegetables and then about one inch more.
  4. Bring to a boil. Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.
  5. Add white vinegar to taste – start with 1 tbsp and then keep adding if desired. You can try adding pickle juice as well.
  6. Serve with a dollop of sour cream

Freezes very well (providing you don’t add potatoes)

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