Last weekend was the semi-annual Third + Bird local goods market. 2019 marks 10 years that Third + Bird, which operated originally as a small Christmas market, has been in operation. For the first several years it was held out in Transcona, and because that’s an area that, in spite of having routes so named, is poorly served by transit, I had never attended.
Then, about three years ago, they moved into the basement of the downtown Hudson’s Bay store. This means it’s now within walking distance from where I live. Despite the market’s success and new downtown location I had actually forgotten that it was occurring this past weekend. This market is one where you pay an admission to get in. However, unlike the Winnipeg Night Market, the proceeds from the admission fees go in part to support local and global projects such as The Nepali Women’s Co-op.
One of the other things I like about the downtown location is that there is a lot of floor space. This means that there is plenty of room to wander around and look at things. At most booths there is plenty of space to allow you to stop and observe things. The market carries all sorts of goods, but I’m generally only interested in the food items for sale. So, as I was wandering around I was looking for food and for companies I haven’t tried before.
Third + Bird Local Food
One of the features of Third + Bird is that it has a fairly decent sized food court. There are four or five vendors there selling meals, and beverages, among them Red Lake Coffee Company. and Green Carrot Juice. At the same time, dotted throughout the market are other food and beverage sellers. Many of them are selling samples of their products or selling baked goods to be enjoyed with a beverage.
The first item I tried was the pecan tart from Old Church Bakery. Old Church Bakery is a bakery out in Steinbach, Manitoba specializing in sourdough goods. I was at the market on Saturday afternoon with plans to head to St. Philip’s for our Chinese Dinner later on that afternoon. Wanting to make sure I didn’t eat too much, or end up with too much to carry I chose one of their pecan tarts. They make a nice and gooey pecan tart and one that would definitely be “worth the trip” visiting the bakery to pick up.
Given the nature of Third + Bird the tendency of the food vendors is to largely focus on gourmet and luxury goods. Witness the S’more above. This is the Folk + Fire Rocky Mountain S’more which contains a cookies and cream hand-crafted marshmallow. A chocolate biscuit(definitely a step up from a graham cracker), and Belgian chocolate. Each marshmallow is toasted with a kitchen torch before being assembled. The S’mores are available in kits, and the company also offers them as event favours for weddings, etc.
I really enjoyed this, but I was a bait disappointed when on my first bite, almost all of the marshmallow came out of the cookie.
I’ve written already about the Mr. Biltong Biltong, However, they also make another product called Stokkies. These are a kind of beef jerky stick. If you are serving them you might want to cut them up into bite size pieces. Otherwise make sure to get your teeth sharpened ;before you give them a try. While the Biltong requires a good chew, the Stokkies require a good bite. to get through. I once again went for the Red-Hot Habanero flavour and wasn’t disappointed by the heat.
The next item I picked up was Theresa’s Sourdough Noodles. These are most definitely a once in a while treat for me. Based on the idea of a serving of pasta being 85 grams of dry pasta. This package contains two servings for $8.00. Price aside, I really enjoyed these noodles.
I wasn’t quite sure how to prepare them. However, when I got to St. Philip’s it occurred to me that I had the last meal from a Hello Fresh box that I hadn’t prepare yet. So, I looked through the box and tried to pick out what would go well with the noodles. I ended up using one of the packages of the green beans and one of the packages of the almonds that came in the Hello Fresh box. The only other ingredients where some butter, salt, and pepper. Combining the ingredients together created a nice. light lunch. The video below explains how I prepared the dish.
The final item I picked up at Third + Bird was some fermented salsa from Flora and Farmer. Flora and Farmer is one of my favourite local food brands. Kim, the owner, has recently opened a bricks and mortar location called Preserve. Preserve is located just off of the space where Hildegard’s bakery is, and is accessible through the bakery.
While Flora and Farmer focuses mainly on various jams and jellies, the company also offers a an interesting variety of other items. my favourite would be the applekraut, a delicious mixture of apples and cabbage. I’m hoping in a week or two to pick up some pickled carrots when they are ready.
This salsa is a fermented one. As a result it has a deeper and richer flavour than your typical store bought variety. I ended up testing it out with simple plain potato chips, but would recommend that you find some good crunchy tortilla chips to enjoy with it. Preferably the scoop variety. I’d also suggest that you make a visit to Preserve whenever you get a chance. In addition to being a talented producer, Kim is also an engaging individual who will offer plenty of insights in ways to enjoy the purchases you are making.
There’s another product I want to add here. This isn’t one that I picked up at Third + Bird. It is however another local, Manitoba product. They are called Fire Chips, and they are made by Tomahawk Chips, an Indigenous potato chip company from Riverton, MB. I really enjoyed these chips when I tried them.
Their consistency and flavour reminded me a little of Hickory Sticks. One of the things I really liked about these chips is that there was a good bit of spice to them. Not the fieriest, but there is definitely fire here. I’m also glad to see an Indigenous company having success, and hope that more Indigenous produces will soon be making waves in the market place.
Third + Bird’s next big market will be their late November Christmas Market. However there are several pop-ups and other markets happening between now and then. Check their website for when the next one is happening.
Finally, one more video of a recent attempt at preparing a Hello Fresh meal.