Fresh Roots Weekly Pop Up Market is ON!
We are super excited to share that we will be hosting a weekly Pop Up Market located at the Italian Cultural Centre 3075 Slocan Street in Vancouver starting Wednesday, June 3rd! Every Wednesday, June to October from 4-7 pm you can stop by to stock up on a selection of ultra-local produce grown on our schoolyard farms, farm fresh eggs, and seasonal BC fruit in addition to prepared food from the kitchens of the Italian Cultural Centre. We will also be partnering with Ritchie’s Bakery to host their artisanal sourdough bread pick-up! To get your hands on some of this amazing bread, please reach out to them directly online.
There will be parking on-site, as well as street parking nearby. Look for the orange Fresh Roots signs directing you to our exact location.
At Fresh Roots, we are taking COVID-19 very seriously, and want to share some of the measures we’ll be taking to ensure a safe and comfortable experience at our markets. Our procedures and protocols are informed by the BC Centre for Disease Control, BC Farmers’ Markets, and Vancouver Farmers’ Markets to keep you, our community and staff safe:
- Veggie CSA Boxes will be pre-packed: please bring your own bags to unpack your produce into
- The market will be one-way from entry to exit: Shop, Don’t Stop!
- Cash-free payment encouraged
- Please practice physical distancing. Keep 2m between yourself and others
- Staff will be wearing masks, gloves and washing hands frequently
- Hand sanitizer available for customers
- Sorry, no dogs in the market area
- Stay home if you are sick to keep our markets safe!
Thanks in advance for your support for all the work we do at Fresh Roots, especially during this difficult time! We are grateful for our engaged community!
Last week we talked a little bit about the tiniest inhabitants of our farms – the invertebrates, fungi, and bacteria that decompose plant and animal matter into the nutrients plants need to survive, which in turn become the nutrients we need to survive. But fungi and bacteria aren’t just breaking down the food in our compost, they are making the food in our kitchens and factories!
Like a lot of people, I took the ample time I’ve had in my home over the last few months to make a sourdough starter, and it’s been a wild ride figuring out how to develop and care for my own little colony of bacteria and yeasts (which are a type of fungus) so I can keep them happy and the use them to make some really delicious bread (and pancakes and crackers and biscuits and crumpets and…). Let’s just say, there’s been a lot of baking, and almost all of it has relied on microorganisms to happen.
And it’s not just breads. Fungi and bacteria are essential to making yogurt, cheese, sauerkraut, kimchi, soy sauce, chocolate, kombucha, tempeh, salami, and so much more. Humans have been employing the skills of bacteria and fungi to help us preserve foods for at least 13,000 years! So let’s raise a toast (fermented or not), to these marvelous microbes!
Here are five things to make to help you get to know our food microorganisms better.
Make it Rise
Make it Cultured
Make it for Science
Make it Fermented
Happy International Day for Biological Diversity!
You didn’t know May 22 was the International Day for Biological Diversity? That’s OK. Neither did I when I started planning this week’s Fresh Five to be about biodiversity. Talk about good timing! We couldn’t let this special day go by without acknowledgement, so your Fresh Five is coming early so you can celebrate IDB (as the cool kids at the UN call it) with activities to help you think about biodiversity in your neighborhood, on the farm, and in the world.
Biodiversity is, essentially, all the different kinds of plants, animals, fungi, and microorganisms in an ecosystem. Having a wide variety of living things in a ecosystem makes it more resilient and able to handle change. As humans, like all animals, we rely on other living things for food, clothing, shelter, medicine, and more, meaning that maintaining healthy ecosystems isn’t just about keeping the oceans healthy for whales or the forest healthy for moose (though whales and moose are important!). It’s also about keeping the world healthy for us.
Here are five ways to explore and celebrate biodiversity this week.
Make an Ecosystem Web
Be a Biodiversity Detective
Join the Bird Blitz
Build a Crow’s Nest
Make a Biodiverse Salad
Get out and celebrate diversity!
Our fearless Interim Executive Director, Alexa Pitoulis, chats about all things Fresh Roots on The Conversation Lab with Don Shafer produced by CFRO FM (Co-op Radio Vancouver). Thanks so much for the opportunity to share a little bit about what we are up to these days and how we adapted our LunchLAB in-school meal program along with our partner Growing Chefs! to offer students and families meals out of school during this uncertain time.
Vancouver Co-op Radio CFRO To learn more or to donate visit www.lunchlab.ca
Listen to “Alexa Pitoulis – Freshroots Urban Farm Society” on Spreaker.
After last week’s rhubarb ruminations, I wanted another excuse to talk about one of my favorite not-really-fruits. I love introducing kids to rhubarb by telling them I’m going to let them taste a poisonous plant. It really focuses the attention of a group of excited 9 year olds when they think it’s a life-or-death situation. And it’s true, while the stems are delicious, the leaves are poisonous to humans! They are high in oxalic acid, which in large doses, can cause kidney problems, and even death. Oxalic acid is actually present in small quantities in a number of vegetables, including sorrel, spinach, and chard, but nothing close to an amount that would make you sick. Rhubarb leaves have a lot more oxalic acid, but an adult would still have to eat at least 4 kg of the leaves to reach a lethal dose, and, well, they’re just not that tasty.
Potential lethality aside, rhubarb is fun because it’s one of very few food that we treat like a fruit, but isn’t – it’s a stem! Fruits and flowers and even roots get a lot of attention, but I feel like stems don’t get the love they deserve. Stems give plants their structure and shape and carry water and nutrients up from the roots, and energy in the form of sugars down from the leaves. They are like a plant’s skeleton and circulatory system combined! So let’s hear it for the stalks, spears, vines, canes, and trunks out there, just going about their business without a lot of fanfare, bringing us all the beautiful plant life around us.
Here are five ways to explore stems this week.
Dissect a Stem
See How Stems Work
Learn a Stem’s Story
Make a Three-Stem Dessert
Stay sturdy, and drink your water!
Week Five of the Fresh Five? Well, we just gotta keep that theme going, don’t we? So this week we’ll focus on our Five Senses! Not all people have all of these five senses, but everyone uses at least some of them to navigate the world. One of the best ways to make deep and lasting connections is to engage our senses, and food can be great way to have a mindful sensory experience.
I had a wonderful experience with some rhubarb I harvested from my back yard this week. It was one of those showery days where everything was damp, and the giant rhubarb leaves were wet and rough as I pushed them gently aside so I could find just the right stalks. The cool, firm stalks released from the base with a pop as I pulled them with a little twist. The stalks themselves were a beautiful, shiny blush pink at the base, like the apple blossoms on the tree in the yard, becoming ruby red at the stem end. One of them broke as I was harvesting, and the scent was bright, sharp, and fresh. And I just had to try a bite. It was mouth-wateringly sour, crisp and crunchy, and just tasted alive as only freshly-picked foods can. (I love feeding raw rhubarb to students. It’s a taste they either love, or love to hate!) And that was before I even got it into the kitchen!
Here are five ways to use your senses to experience the world this week.
See Art in Your Kitchen
Touch a Mystery Veggie
Smell a Memory
Hear Your Neighborhood
Taste Carrot Top Pesto
Don’t forget to stop and smell the lilacs!