Several times a week, my travels take me by Central Park, Winnipeg’s most diverse community. During the summer I’ve noticed the weekend market, and recently I’ve seen advertising for a Fresh Food Market. I’d only noticed the sign on the door of Knox United Church, and hadn’t wandered in. I also knew that Knox had started a community kitchen.
Then I received word through Facebook that Heather Daymond, a MB Food Blogger member, was making pies there with her business Shut Ur Pie Hole. So, I thought, this might be a good time to visit, and meet another food blogger face to face, and maybe eat some pie.
I arrived just after 11 am which was opening time for the market. As such, there weren’t a lot of people who had arrived to participate. They had about 4 long tables set up where people were selling either baked goods or fresh produce. I saw Heather and went over to her table, and found out that she was there selling her product along with Recbecca Hadfield, another member of the MB Food Bloggers, who was selling her granolas bars.
While we were chatting, a woman came over, and seeing my briefcase wondered if I was a city inspector. The woman was Natasha Ross, who is the coordinator of the Fresh Food market and the Community Kitchen project. I assured her that I wasn’t the inspector, but asked if I could see the kitchen anyways. She said yes, and I was taken into the back for a look.
The kitchen is rather sleek looking. It has a great layout with plenty of room for people to manoeveur. The cooking and storage units are all professional grade and are laid out in an aesthetically pleasing as well as functional manner.
While I was in the kitchen I met Sergio and Lovelin. Sergio was making Filipino Spring rolls and dessert rolls, while Lovelin was making pork skewers. Both of them are getting the opportunity to try out their cooking skills on a kitchen to table basis. This is one of the goals of the Knox Community Kitchen, particularly as it relates to the neighbourhoods diverse character. Below are several pictures taken in the kitchen.
After touring the kitchen, I went back out into the hall to purchase some food. There was a limited supply of fresh vegetables on sale. These come from Peak of the Market and from local suppliers. The hope is as summer progresses that there will be more local supply included.
Fresh Foods to Go
One of the noticeable qualities of the fresh fruit and vegetables, was that the prices were very good, and you could buy in small quantities. As a single person I notice that you usually only have the choice between one or the other. Given that the fresh food market is located in an area with no nearby grocery stores, and many people living off of quite limited income, this is a real good thing.
As far as takeaway food was concerned there was also a table with bread and one with cheesecake.
Both looked very appetizing, but in the end I purchaseed a granola bar from Rebecca and a pie in a jar from Heather. I had tried Rebecca’s bars a couple of years ago, and was happy to find that they are just as good now as they were then.
I took the pie in a jar back with me to St. Philip’s. Once there I followed Heather’s instructions for heating in th microwave, and then gave it a try. I had the pecan pie, and it is definitely a winner. The filling was appropriately gooey, and the crust maintained a crispy character even after being warmed in a microwave.
Fresh Food to Stay:
After seeing Sergio and Lovelin at work in the kitchen, I was eager to try some of the fresh food that had been produced. I didn’t end up trying the pork skewer, but they looked great, and at $3.00 each are a good bargain. Instead I had the $6.00 combo that was on offer. This included Pancit, 4 small spring rolls and a larger spring roll. Both types of spring roll had plenty of filling and a great deal of flavour. The tables have been simply yet pleasing decorated, and there was live music being played for people to enjoy with their meal.
The fresh food market is scheduled for every second Friday until the end of May. After that I believe they hope that the fresh food market will become part of the open air market that regularly operates in Central Park during the summer. If you’re in the area, stop by the fresh food market and try what’s on offer. This is another great project that Winnipegger’s need to find ways to get behind.