Market News

Q & A with Jasbir of Mandair Farms

Jasbir cooking up her famous veggie pakoras onsite at the market

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…

Tinde, aka apple gourd
© FoodFellas4You

Mandair Farms-style Tinde

Ingredients

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

 

Directions

  1. Sauté onion, garlic, ginger, and cumin on medium heat for one minute in a teaspoon of cooking oil.
  2. Add the tomato, tumeric, salt and pepper into the sauté mix and cook for 5-6 minutes on medium low heat.
  3. Add in the apple gourd and cook until they are soft. For a more pasty sauce, add 1/4-1/2 cup of water.
  4. 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.

You can find Mandair Farms weekly at Main St. Station, Riley Park, Trout Lake, Kitsilano, and Mount Pleasant Markets. To search for their complete market schedule, click here.


What's Fresh at Mt Pleasant Market-July 9th

In Season:

Blueberries | Garlic Scapes | Raspberries | Salad Greens | Summer Squash | Chard | Green Peas | Radishes | Potatoes | Eggs | Cheese| Seafood | Honey…Check out the full IN SEASON LIST HERE!

© VANESSA VORBACH

Make sure to also read the latest In Season blog post that features green peas and summer squash.  Check it out for cooking tips and a delicious fresh pea hummus recipe!


Do you make a great pie?

Berry fest – It’s almost time again to celebrate our annual Berry Festival at Main st. and Mount Pleasant Markets Yay! There will be tons of fun Berry related activities for all! We will be hosting a Berry Tasting, Kids Activities and of course our BC Berry Pie Contest!

Where/When?

Main St Farmers Market (No Pie Contest) – Wednesday July 12th from 2pm to 6pm

Mount Pleasant Farmers Market (Pie Contest Day) – Sunday July 16th from 10am to 2pm

Do you, or do you know someone who makes the best berry pie this side of the Fraser? Please sign up and or spread the word. Competitors are encouraged to source their Berries on Wednesday (July 12th) at the Main St Market (No Pie contest at Main St. Market) to use for their Pie Entries at Mount Pleasant on Sunday July 16th. We’ve got great prizes this year – 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will all go home with a berry related something!

  • Link to Pie Contest Entry here
  • Berry Fest Info Page here

Vendor News!

Did you know that Mt P regular vendor Salt and Harrow are now Certified Organic! A long road and a lot of work…Congrads you guys:)

Help welcome NEW vendor to MT P market Savory Sausage! All of their handcrafted sausages are blended with fresh milled spices and herbs, premium cuts of locally raised Fraser Valley meat are then mixed to create the freshest tasting sausage available. Yum!


 Summer Market Schedules

Trout Lake – opened May 6, 9am-2pm – North Parking Lot, John Hendry Park

Kitsilano – opened May 7, 10am-2pm – 10th Ave. & Larch St.

Mt Pleasant – opened May 28, 10am-2pm – Dude Chilling Park, 8th & Guelph

Main St Station – opened May 31, 2pm-6pm – Near Main St. Skytrain

Downtown – opened June 1, 11am-3pm – Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza

Riley Park – opened June 24, 10am-2pm – 50 East 30th Ave.

 

 


Join the conversation! Find us on Facebook and follow @VanMarkets on Twitter and Instagram – make sure to tag your Mount Pleasant photos and videos #MtPleasantFM!


Happy Canada Day weekend!! Let's celebrate at Mount Pleasant

Member Appreciation Day!

Bring your membership cards because this Sunday is Member Appreciation Day! Keep an eye out for member special signs on vendor tents for some good deals!  Not a member?  Sign up online, or at the information booth on market day!


In Season:

 

 

 

 

Strawberries | Garlic Scapes | Raspberries | Salad Greens | Mushrooms | Chard | Turnips | Radishes | Potatoes | Zucchini | Eggs | Cheese| Seafood | Honey…Check out the full IN SEASON LIST HERE!


New Vendors!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BCB HONEY FARM is new to Mt P Market!  They run thousands of hives throughout the Lower Mainland and Peace River in an effort to make B.C. independent from imported bees. Their bees pollinate on a wide variety of crops: blueberry, cranberry, raspberry, and other local crops found in British Columbia. The honey is local and they sale it Raw,Unpasteurized and Unfiltered which makes it great for people with seasonal allergies.

Be sure to stop by and give them a warm Mt P welcome:)


Summer Market Schedules

  • Trout Lake – opens May 6, 9am-2pm – North Parking Lot, John Hendry Park
  • West End – opens May 27, 9am-2pm – 1100 Block of Comox St.
  • Mt Pleasant – opens May 28, 10am-2pm – Dude Chilling Park, 8th & Guelph
  • Main St Station – opens May 31, 2pm-6pm – Near Main St. Skytrain
  • Downtown – opens June 1, 11am-3pm – Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza
  • Riley Park – *NEW* opens June 24, 10am-2pm – 50 East 30th Ave.

Discover our six other summer market locations on our Markets Page.


Join the conversation! Find us on Facebook and follow @VanMarkets on Twitter and Instagram – make sure to tag your Mount Pleasant photos and videos #MtPleasantFM!


What's Fresh at Mt Pleasant Market-June25th

In Season:

Strawberries, raspberries & cherries! All at the market this week! Check out what your local farmers are expecting to bring to market this month HERE!

Fresh Sockeye Salmon

Make sure to visit Blue Comet Seafood this weekend for some fresh Sockeye salmon fillets from the Nass River in Northern BC.  Celebrate the sunshine with barbecued salmon fillets and veggies like zucchini and potatoes!


 

Have you tried Take a Fancys ice cream or her latest creation-yummy ice cream sandwiches? You can get both this Sunday! And don’t forget your spoon:)

Help welcome NEW vendor to MT P market The Royals Kombucha Brewhouse! Their delicious craft brewed kombucha is made with 100% organic ingredients. 


Summer Market Schedules

  • Trout Lake – opens May 6, 9am-2pm – North Parking Lot, John Hendry Park
  • West End – opens May 27, 9am-2pm – 1100 Block of Comox St.
  • Mt Pleasant – opens May 28, 10am-2pm – Dude Chilling Park, 8th & Guelph
  • Main St Station – opens May 31, 2pm-6pm – Near Main St. Skytrain
  • Downtown – opens June 1, 11am-3pm – Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza
  • Riley Park – *NEW* opens June 24, 10am-2pm – 50 East 30th Ave.

Discover our six other summer market locations on our Markets Page.


 Join the conversation! Find us on Facebook and follow @VanMarkets on Twitter and Instagram – make sure to tag your Mount Pleasant photos and videos #MtPleasantFM!

What's Fresh at Mount Pleasant Market- June 18th

Berries are back!!

Plus: arugula, beets, bell peppers, carrots,  chard, collards, cucumber, eggplant, kale, leeks, micro greens, mustard greens, green onions, herbs, potatoes, radish, rhubarb, rutabaga, salad greens, shallots, spinach, spring onions, sprouts, strawberries, sunchokes

Meat & Seafood:

beef & lamb, chicken,turkey, lamb, bacon, cod, salmon,pork

Other product:

craft beer, wine, & spirits, breads and baked goods,  pickles & fermented foods, preserves


New Vendors!

We’ve got some brand new vendors onsite this weekend at Mount Pleasant. Lets give them a warm market welcome!

One Arrow Bacon: locally sourced, hormone free, and naturally smoked bacon

Humblebee Meadery: is Vancouver’s only meadery. Mead is one of the oldest alcoholic drinks known to man and it’s all alcohol derived from fermented honey


Summer Market Schedules

  • Trout Lake – opens May 6, 9am-2pm – North Parking Lot, John Hendry Park
  • West End – opens May 27, 9am-2pm – 1100 Block of Comox St.
  • Mt Pleasant – opens May 28, 10am-2pm – Dude Chilling Park, 8th & Guelph
  • Main St Station – opens May 31, 2pm-6pm – Near Main St. Skytrain
  • Downtown – opens June 1, 11am-3pm – Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza
  • Riley Park – *NEW* opens June 24, 10am-2pm – 50 East 30th Ave.

Discover our six other summer market locations on our Markets Page.


Join the conversation! Find us on Facebook and follow @VanMarkets on Twitter and Instagram – make sure to tag your Mount Pleasant photos and videos #MtPleasantFM!