Food local products

St Norbert Farmer’s Market-Saturday Shopping


Last Saturday, I found myself part way down Pembina Highway in the morning. After my breakfast I thought that it would be a good time to head out to the St Norbert Farmers Market.

I try to get out there once or twice a year. Despite it being beyond Winnipeg’s Perimeter Highway, there is still transit service out there, and I was not far from one of the Bus Rapid Transit stations. The rapid transit system had just opened at that time, and it’s still good to be able to use it for trips such as this. 

When I first arrived I took a little stroll throughout the whole site. A good portion of the market is under the all season canopy that opened last year. However there are also a lot of vendors on the grounds surrounding the canopied hall. Most of the food vendors, and particularly the ones offering meals, are located in the area outside the tent. I didn’t pick any up this time around, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much fresh produce was already available at the market.

After going for a wander, my first stop was just inside the main entrance to the canopy and a visit with my friend Natalie, owner of Rawnata. One reason for visits to the market is getting a chance to talk to Natalie and her husband Jason, the times he’s there. I also picked up one of her spelt buns with raisins that she sells as The Bread Lady.

St. Norbert Iced tea
A refreshing iced tea from Johnnies Sticky Buns. The bright sun keeps the image from being as sharp as I’d like. Well that and my poor photography skills.

Having already eaten one sticky bun, I didn’t buy one when I stopped by the Jonnie’s Sticky Bun trailer. Johnnie’s has closed down their Portage Avenue storefront to concentrate on mobile sales. Given that it was reasonably warm, I decided instead to pick up an iced tea. This hit the spot as it wasn’t overly sweet but had plenty of flavour. 

St Norbert Treats

Despite having eaten a fairly substantial breakfast, after I had walked around for a while, I was ready for something to eat. Just outside the north side of the canopy is a little booth called Ker Breizh, which sells sweet and savoury crepes. They also are located on the Provencher Bridge in one of those little trolley stalls they have set up. Being that it was lunch time I opted for one of the savoury crepes.

Farmers Market Menu
The Menu for Crepes Kerb, at St Norbert Market

The savoury crepes are made with buckwheat flour, and you can get them with anywhere from two to four filling, with the prices reflecting the number of fillings, as you can see in the photo above. I went with the two filling version choosing the Smoked Beef and Tomato fillings. The savoury crepes also come with the offer of Dijon Mustard. The finished product is brushed with butter to give it an extra bit of goodness.

Farmers Market crepe with butter
A buckwheat crepe with smoked beef and tomato filling. This is a really buttery treat.

 Yvonnick Le Loric who along with his partner Ketty Pichaud owns Ker Breizh was manning the griddles. He does a great job of tending to more than one griddle and answering questions from the customers. I really enjoyed my crepe, and knowing that they have a location just off Tache gives me reason to try some different ones later one.

As I continued my journey around the St Norbert market, I still couldn’t decided what I wanted to purchase and take home with me. I noticed that there were two Kimchi sellers there, and that sort of settled it for me. I had seen Cook’s Creek Kimchi at the Downtown market, but had never purchased any. Then on Saturday I ran across the Ferment For You. Both offer a Korean style Kimchi, so I figured I would buy one of each and take them home for a bit of a taste test. The video for that is below.  

After making the video I wondered whether or not crispy or soft was the preferred style in Korea. This article suggests that Kimchi should be crispy. If any of my readers who are from or have spent time in Korea could fill me in on that, I’d greatly appreciate it. 

Finally I picked up some Kerr Apple syrup. Another one that I forgot to take a picture of. I’ll try and get it added in the next day or two. 

Yesterday afternoon, after a side trip to visit the Theatre by the River garage sale, I took a trip up to the Farmer’s Market in St Norbert.  Before talking about the market itself, I have to say I really appreciated the way the new rapid transit system from Winnipeg Transit, accommodated my trip. Not only was the trip reasonably quick, but my transfer allowed me to make the trip on one fare, which is always  a bonus when traveling by bus.

The market itself contains a wide variety of vendors, both of food and of arts, crafts, and occasionally, furniture.  I can’t afford the furniture, and arts & crafts hold no real appeal for me, so my visit was concentrated on the food.  As a tip, if you wish to get fresh produce, arrive early, as by the time I got there around 2pm, the selection was greatly reduced and much of what was there, was beginning to wilt significantly.

A lot of things at the St. Norbert's Farmers Market were sold out.
As the sign says, almost all of the produce they had brought was sold out by the time I arrived. Must have been a good day for them out in St Norbert.

Of course not all the food was sold out, there were also a lot of baked goods and other selections to choose from.

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A selection of frozen, homemade pies.
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An up close look at the offerings.

I made purchases from two of the stalls at the St Norbert market.  The first was a package of farmers sausage from Funk’s Meats.  I really liked this sausage, as it had a mild flavour with a gentle smoked accent to it.

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My purchase. I just missed being able to get in the shot before it went into the bag.

The other place I made a purchase from was The Bread Lady.  The Bread Lady is Natalie Dueck.  Natalie and her husband Jason are friends of mine from back at the time when we attended the same church.  As the name of the stall indicates bread is the main product on sale, but Natalie also sells a variety of snacks, including her award winning Chocolate Hemp Snackers.

The snackers are thin and kind of chewy. They have a  gentle sweetness that come from the blue agave nectar and dates.  I ate two of the thin wafers while I was waiting for the bus back to downtown, and they provided a nice lit energy boost for me.  I also picked up the Vegan Omegan and Crushed Flax breads.  Both of these are good, hearty bread.  The Vegan Omegan is good if you wish to get some of your omega oils from a source other than fish.  It also contains blackstrap molasses which come through strong but not overpowering.

Natalie uses certified organic ingredients when possible, with an emphasis also on local and sustainable ingredients as well.  Leftover bread from the St Norbert market days, doesn’t go to waste either, as Natalie and her family donate it to the South East Helping Hands food bank in Steinbach.

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Here’s Natalie holding the Chocolate Hemp Snackers and the Crushed Flax Bread that I purchased.

Of course, if you want to grab something to eat as you wander around the St Norbert market there are plenty of opportunities to do that as well.  Below is a picture of a spring roll truck, but there are also burger, perogies, even Danny’s Whole Hog.  If you need to wash it down, there’s homemade lemonade among your choices.  I ended up picking up a fine cup of Bolivian Dark Roast coffee, from the Green Bean Coffee Imports tent.  It was Organic, Fair Trade and delicious.

J.T. Spring Rolls out in St. Norbert
The spring roll truck that is often on Broadway, but wasn’t when I visited the other day.

By Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food.