We’re not sure if it’s the idyllic, tree-lined location or the exciting roster of new vendors on board this season, but we can’t wait for the 3rd season of our Hastings Park Winter Market to open on November 5th.
Along with weekly appearances from popular farm vendors like Klippers Organics, Stein Mt. Farm, Golden West, Crisp Organics, and Cropthorn Farm, some new growers to Hastings Park this season include Abundant Acre Family Farm, Salt & Harrow, Ice Cap Organics, and Snowy Mt. Organics.
Popular Agassiz-based organic dairy The Farm House Natural Cheeses will also be adding dates at Hastings Park this year, along with a weekly spot from Golden Ears Cheesecrafters, who produce a range of grass-fed cheeses and butter.
Vancouver’s only meadery, Humblebee Mead are bringing their unique blend of honey-based libations to the market throughout the winter season. They’ll be joined by Sons of Vancouver Distillery, makers of small batch vodka and amaretto, and award-winning Vancouver Island winery Rocky Creek, who produce a selection of reds, whites, and bubblies.
New food carts at Hastings Park this season include yummy eats from Mandalay Burmese Kitchen, who serve up South Asian/Burmese favourites, and Beiju Foods, Vancouver’s first Brazilian food truck bringing savoury, gluten-free options to the market.
For something on the sweeter side, don’t miss Hella Puffs (Greek-style dessert dumplings), and Elephant Garden Creamery, whose collection of handcrafted ice creams include flavours like Vietnamese coffee, genmaicha matcha, and salted gula melaka (palm sugar).
To fuel your market shop, grab a quality brew from the folks at Kafka’s Coffee on Main St. who will be popping up at the market in their bright blue truck every other week starting January 7th.
Other Hastings Park newbies to look out for this season include yummy baked goods vendor Le Bouledogue; gluten free and paleo friendly offerings from Virtue Natural Bakery; handcrafted ferments from lakehouse foods, natural and nutritious baby food options from Tiny Tummies; a selection of microgreens and sprouts from Nutrigreens, and November appearances from The Sharing Farm, BC’s only non-profit farm that grows food for the Food Bank and community meal programs.
Hastings Park Winter Market runs Sundays, 10am-2pm from November 5 – April 29 (closed Dec 24 & 31) at the PNE. There is free parking for market shoppers at Gate 2 off of Renfrew Street. More info on dates/times, location, and vendors schedules on the Hastings Park page.
It’s high season for berries at the markets right now, and we know you’re all hard at work jamming, baking, and preserving them at their peak.
Our vendors are busy too – not only the farmers, but our artisanal food producers who are using seasonal berries in a number of amazing food items in celebration of our 7th Annual Berry Festival this week.
Look out for micro batched Verrry Berrry Shrub from Mixers & Elixirs, limited edition Blueberry & Lavender Corn Bread Cakes from Nidhi’s Cuisine, traditional Blueberry Pieorgies from Old Country Pierogi, and Blueberry Pakoras from Mandair Farms.
Our friends at Odd Society Spirits are also joining in the berry game with a number of seasonally inspired cocktails like their gin-based BC Bramble and High Stakes Lemonade, featuring BC blueberries.
Our Berry Festival kicks off Wednesday, July 12 at Main St. Station Market and culminates with our annual Berry Pie Bake Off on July 16 at Mount Pleasant Market. Don’t miss farm-fresh berry tastings, kids activities, pie sampling, and special edition recipes like the yummy Blueberry Lemon Pudding Pie below from the BC Blueberry Council.
Blueberry Lemon Pudding Pie
- 2 large (100 g) eggs
- ¼ cup (35 g) cornstarch
- ½ cup (80 g) granulated sugar
- ¾ cup (175 ml) 35% whipping cream
- ½ cup (120 ml) whole milk
- ½ cup (115 g) salted butter, softened
- ¼ cup (60 ml) lemon juice
- 4 cups (600 g) B.C. blueberries, fresh or frozen – divided
- 1¾ cups (240 g) graham cookies crumbs
- ¼ tsp (pinch) cinnamon
- ⅔ cup (150 g) salted butter, melted
- For the filling, whisk the eggs in a medium bowl and set aside.
- In a saucepan, combine the cornstarch, sugar, whipping cream and milk. Cook mixture on medium heat, whisking constantly until heated and thickened for 6-7 minutes. Do not boil.
- Whisk half the hot mixture into the eggs. Return to the sauce pan with the remaining mixture, then whisk in the butter and lemon juice.
- Reheat mixture on low heat for another 3 minutes, again whisking constantly, do not boil.
- Transfer to a clean bowl, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour until cooled.
- For the crust, mix the cookie crumbs and cinnamon in a bowl; add the melted butter and mix. Transfer to a 9” pie dish, and press mixture evenly to the bottom and sides. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Fold 2 cups of the blueberries into the chilled pudding, then pour into the pie shell and top with remaining blueberries.
- Refrigerate for 1 – 2 hours. Serve chilled with a dollop of whipped cream.
Jasbir Mandair has been coming to VFM markets since early 2016, and currently sells her berries, mixed vegetables, and hot pakoras at Riley Park, Trout Lake, Kitsilano, Mount Pleasant, and Main St. Station Markets.
She has been growing commercially in British Columbia since 1983, but her farming roots go much deeper to a childhood spent on her family’s farm in the Punjab. VFM staffers recently had the opportunity to talk with her and tour the farm she runs with her son Sajan in Abbotsford.
Q: Both you and your husband Surinder were born into farming in India. Can you tell us what part of India you’re from, and what kinds of crops your families grew?
A: We farmed in the Punjab. My village was a place called Akara in district Jhalandar, and my husband was from Ghari Baksha. We grew corn, wheat, rice, and sugar cane.
Q: How does farming in India differ from farming in BC?
A: Farming in India was different for two reasons. First, the technology of the time period back in the 60s meant everything was still done by hand and animals such as oxen. Even the watering was done manually – we used to have big wells and the water was drawn by a chain attached to a bucket.
The second difference was the crops themselves – they are completely different from growing and harvesting berries. You cut the wheat at the base and put into bundles; the grain was used for food and the straw remaining was used for feed for the animals. With berries, you pick it and pack it into boxes, but you leave the plant untouched.
Q: What is the most difficult thing about farming in BC?
A: BC is the best place for farming, there is no real difficulty… the weather is good, land is good, water is absolutely the best.
The difficulty is in the work of the farm and finding labor, since the new generation isn’t interested to work on the farm. The other difficulty is selling the product to actually make a living. We can have a really good crop but the price that is paid from the cannery is sometimes not even enough to make ends meet. The profit margin isn’t there – the blueberry can be absolutely amazing but the processor barely pays anything for them.
Q: How many family members are involved in the Mandair operation?
A: There are about 5-30, very dependent on the crop and how much it is producing, and the time of the year. We currently have 5 core “staff members” – my son Sajan, his fiancé Veerpal Kingra and her sister Ramneek, Dildar Virdi, and myself. Now that we have raspberry, we have about 20-25 pickers that come to pick by hand.
Q: What’s your favourite crop to grow?
A: I love all three berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries) that we grow but if I had to pick a favourite, I would say strawberries!
Mandair Farms are also known for their great selection of market vegetables, including the popular Punjabi ingredient called Tinde, or apple gourd. Here’s how Jasbir prepares them at home…
Mandair Farms-style Tinde
6 apple gourds, cut into 4-6 pieces
1 onion, sliced thin
1 tomato, diced
1 tsp. cooking oil
1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, cut fine or minced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. tumeric
Salt and pepper to taste
- Sauté onion, garlic, ginger, and cumin on medium heat for one minute in a teaspoon of cooking oil.
- Add the tomato, tumeric, salt and pepper into the sauté mix and cook for 5-6 minutes on medium low heat.
- Add in the apple gourd and cook until they are soft. For a more pasty sauce, add 1/4-1/2 cup of water.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with rice or roti. Also try stuffing it into a tortilla with some sour cream for a delicious, plant-based lunch.