The markets are vibrant and exciting all year through!
by Isabelle Létourneau
Fall is a wonderful season to visit public markets. Apples, root vegetables, the latest arrivals of leeks, peppers and eggplant, not to mention the varieties of squash and pumpkins that appear in huge heaps this time of year. Visitors to the markets have a wide selection to choose from to make all sorts of delicious meals.
If you want to know more about the Jean-Talon Market, its artisans, vendors and growers, there's a new book out by Susan Semenak, "Market Chronicles: Stories and Recipes from Montreal's Jean-Talon Market”. This gem of a book highlights the market at its best in every season. You'll find seasonal recipes and portraits of merchants and growers who are passionate about their work and the people they meet every day. By the way you can read our report of the book, below.
The markets are exciting, not only because of all the great products but also because of the activities that take place. Let's have a look at what's been happening. This fall, Atwater Market celebrated with the return of its traditional Octoberfest, which continues to grow each year. More than 44 micro-breweries were at the market Thanksgiving weekend to show off and share the flavours of their tasty beer. To close the outdoor season at Jean-Talon Market, you were invited to a mystery event on Saturday, October 22nd -- high noon at the center of the market. Did you like this surprise?
Even when the markets return inside for the winter season, they will still keep their vibrancy and vitality. The vendors and growers will be there to warmly welcome you with their quality, fresh produce.
The winter mall at the Jean-Talon Market was installed the week of October 24th and Atwater Market's winter mall is now up since early November.
Hope your future visits to the market are good ones!
To be a locavore is to eat mainly local products
by Jean Gagnon Doré
Our collaborator Michel Lambert wrote Histoire de la cuisine familiale du Québec, published by Éditions GID. Four volumes have been published and the last one is still to be written. This prolific author embraces this vast subject and knows how to help us understand the food choices and eating habits of our ancestors.
His research consists of discovering local produce and cuisine that come from the rich history and soil of Quebec. The fourth book, just out, is on the St. Lawrence Plain and the traditional products from the farms there. It's over 1,100 pages and reflects the practices and recipes of hundreds of people whom the author names and thanks for their collaboration, not to mention all the anonymous contributors whose recipes are also in this book.
It's truly a privilege for us to count Michel Lambert among our collaborators. His views and well-documented discussions help us understand our traditions, diet and contemporary agricultural habits.
Nourishing winter reading
Below is an excerpt from the conclusion in Michel Lambert's book. We believe that this book provides an interesting explanation for a new approach to food in Quebec and elsewhere and we invite you to get a copy. It's filled with rich material and it's ideal reading to nourish your soul during the long winter evenings, while you stay warm and cozy.
"We've been talking for the last few years about locavores, people who choose, as much as they can, food that is cultivated or grown as close to where they live as possible. This is the direction that agriculture has to take in the future by returning to its original purpose: to bring food closer to man!
"This new agricultural trend has many faces. We're talking organic farming, fair trade, local, natural, and ancestral food etc. We're also talking about a healthy diet that follows seasonal availability of produce rather than pursuing selfish whims such as having strawberries and asparagus in January at the expense of the planet and our local farmers.
Chickens in the city, jars of preserves, stashes of supplies, bags of frozen fruits and vegetables
"The return to traditional farming would be one of the solutions. Several urbanites have chosen to buy their weekly baskets of fruit and vegetables from local farmers, others are raising livestock, game or poultry to keep in their freezers. More and more people are replacing flower gardens, very fashionable in the 80s and 90s, and growing fruits and vegetables instead. You can find them on balconies and roof tops, and in backyards. Alleys are even starting to be put to use for gardening. We're starting to see chickens in the city, families preparing jars of preserves and freezing bags of fruits and vegetables that they've picked in local fields and orchards. All these positive initiatives help reduce the use of imported products that have become the mainstay of major grocery chains.
Further on in the conclusion of his book, Michel adds: "(...) the bodies responsible for our food, our farms, forests and fish and seafood products, must encourage the need to choose food locally and this will provide us with an independence that is essential for our survival as a people." (...) "My books are here to help (chefs) choose recipes according to our cultural roots."
Histoire de la cuisine familiale du Québec, Volume 4, la plaine du Saint-Laurent et les produits de la ferme traditionnelle
by Michel Lambert
Les Éditions GID (2011)
To shop at the Jean-Talon Market is to experience lasting relationships along with the seasonal harvest
by Jean Gagnon Doré
The book, "Market Chronicles: Stories and Recipes from Montreal's Jean-Talon Market” by Susan Semenak published by Les éditions Cardinal is like a magnificent photo album, a real gift for friends and lovers of the most famous of Montreal's public markets! A book brimming with smiles, stimulating conversations and enthusiastic exchanges, it's a real reflection of "the market experience", where you can find lasting relationships along with the seasonal harvest.
We've been going to the Jean-Talon Market since 1933; soon it will be 80 years, that's four generations of 20 years! Some of the farmers have been there since the very beginning, selling their urban clientele the riches of their fields, picked daily just 20, 30 or 40 kilometers from the market. The clientele is naturally loyal to the Jean-Talon Market; they have their haunts, the things they love, their favorite products and their farmer friends!
For many, the book written by Susan Semenak, journalist, culinary author and artist, has the effect of making us feel the connection between all these wonderful people. It has the ability to bring us to together and to take us away and remind us of scenes in this beloved and appreciated "theater of life."
It must be noted that Albert Elbiria's photos, shot with natural light only, really accentuate the market's authentic character. The book has a really natural feel to it, with everyday dialogue, and recipes from real kitchens, either from the author Susan's or from the local farmers, even from yours or mine...
June's first strawberries
"Personally, I never go to the market with a menu in mind or a strict shopping list. I walk around from one stand to another, I wander, and I improvise. I have my favorite products and those that I wait for; maple syrup when it arrives at the market, apples, fresh meats, and June's first strawberries…I have my friends that I visit, the Tremblay's, the Lauzon's, the Trottier's, and the Rémillard's…" explains Susan Semenak.
In this photo book, certain pictures stand out: we notice that the stalls have changed, that they've gotten considerably bigger over time – to meet the needs of the 21st century population! We can smile thinking about the fact that we're no longer buying live animals to eat, chickens, lambs, etc.: "When I was 6 years old, says Susan, I went to the market with my maternal grandfather and we bought a fish; it was in a bag and was still very much alive and kicking!" While it's not exactly like that today, it's still a wonderful sensory experience.
But the relationships have stayed the same: between those thirty some farmers who are in their fields early in the morning and then who proudly come to sell their products to Montrealers that same day. That's what draws people to the markets – "a guarantee of a perfect vegetable, a freshly picked tasty berry, or an ear of corn bathed in sunlight!"
Market Chronicles: Stories and Recipes from Montreal's Jean-Talon Market
by Susan Semenak, photos by Albert Elbilia
Éditions Cardinal (2011)
The book is available for purchase at Jean-Talon Market's Librairie Gourmande.
Lamb Stew with Fall Vegetables
par Nicole-Anne Gagnon, resident chef
- 2 tbsps of olive oil
- 1 lb. of lamb, cubed
- 1 onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 carrots, sliced into rounds
- 4 parsnips, sliced into rounds
- 4 potatoes, diced
- 1 ¾ cups of bouillon
- 3 ripe tomatoes, diced
- Aromatic herbs, to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Brown the lamb in the olive oil.
- Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 3–4 minutes until translucent.
- Add the carrots, parsnips and potatoes and cook for another 4 minutes.
- Add the bouillon, the diced tomatoes and the herbs.
- Simmer until the vegetables and lamb are tender, approximately 45 minutes.
- Season to taste.
Corporation de Gestion
des Marchés Publics de Montréal
155 Greene Avenue, 3rd Floor
Montreal, Quebec H4C 2H6
Director of Communications: Isabelle Létourneau
Website: Jean Gagnon Doré
Graphic design: Sad Dog Design
Web design: Technoh Web Services
English translation: Schrenk Communications
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