Farmers’ Feast – the 2015 Thanksgiving edition

Giving thanks for hardworking farmers everywhere!

I like that gratitude is a word we hear more often these days. I was raised in an environment where being grateful was reinforced as a very important family value and I’ve consciously strived to encourage my children to count their blessings on a regular basis. I’m most certainly a cup half full person, and one of the things for which I consistently express my appreciation is an abundance of good food. Being a big fan of the Ottawa Farmers’ Market, I feel fortunate to have met many of the farmers who grow much of the food I put on my table. Of particular interest are the area’s many meat producers – from beef to pork to elk to boar and more, there is some very tasty protein being served up at both the Lansdowne and Westboro markets each week. I don’t know about you, but I really like knowing where my meat comes from and how it’s been raised. Meat is a relatively new addition to the Ottawa Farmers’ Market, and a welcome one at that. I really like being able to talk to the farmers to find out what they feed their animals to complement their ‘free range’ lifestyle, as well as looking to the farmers themselves for tips on working with the product they’ve carefully prepared.

Carefully raised meat, handcrafted cheese and delicious fruits and vegetables are just some of the many fall finds at the Ottawa Farmers' Market.
Carefully raised meat, handcrafted cheese and delicious fruits and vegetables are just some of the many fall finds at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market.

After a long and fruitful season, the Ottawa Farmers’ Market will be trimming its schedule after this week to Sunday Markets at Lansdowne; they’ll be outdoors until November 8 after which time they’ll be back indoors at the historic Aberdeen Pavilion. Special Christmas markets will be held Saturdays and Sundays, November 28 and 29, December 5 and 6, 12 and 13, 19 and 20. The 2016 season will begin in the Pavilion on January 10, running every Sunday until the market moves outdoors again in May.

Just in time for Thanksgiving and the first frosty evenings of fall, I’m pleased to present another rendition of the Farmers’ Feast project, one I’ll dub the gratitude edition. I’m thankful I’ll be creating new recipes over the coming days to share with you, using ingredients supplied in a mystery basket I’ve just received from the following farmers at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market:

  • Road Apple Ranch: Osso Bucco-style Beef shanks
  • Elk Ranch: Stewing Meat
  • Pork of Yore: Hot Italian Sausages
  • Rochon Gardens: sweet potatoes
  • Luxy Farm: Delicata squash, shallots
  • Acorn Creek Garden Farm: sunchokes
  • Just Farms: Brussels sprout tree, Poblano peppers
  • Canreg Farm and Dairy: Bee Balm semi hard sheep’s milk cheese
  • Salty Don: Bison Smoked Salts
  • DiversiTea: Ginger Lime Sensation
  • Warner’s Farm: Pears

Stay tuned as I update this post with a handful of what I hope will prove to be recipes that inspire you on your next trip to a Farmers’ Market and check out the Constantly Cooking archives for many other Farmers’ Feast recipes.

Belgian-style Elk Stew

Sunchoke-stuffed Delicata squash

Baked Sweet Potatoes stuffed with Brussels sprouts, cranberries and pecans

Cheesy Brussels sprout and onion dip

Italian Sausage and Vegetable Bake

Braised Beef Shanks Osso Bucco Style

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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