Penticton has a thriving farmers’ market that operates in the downtown every Saturday from mid-April until the end of October.
M and I try do our weekly fruit and vegetable shopping there.
We go early to avoid the crowds and we bring along our list and the shopping bags. Since all the produce is seasonal, we have to be ready to make adjustments.
Today we found beefsteak tomatoes, white peaches (on the lower left in the photo – the best peaches ever!), patty pan squash (in the bags), and honeycrisp apples. We also found mushrooms, basil, yellow beans, plums, and of course, sunflowers!
Cloudberries or aqpik are a fabulous northern treat! Growing very low to the ground in boggy or damp areas, cloudberries resemble raspberries or small blackberries in their shape. When they’re ripe, they turn from red to a golden amber. They are sweet but also tart and they can be turned into wonderful jams or sauces or are completely yummy just on their own.
Cloudberries love to grow in cooler climates and although it’s not impossible to do so, they have been rather resistant to cultivation. They are very delicate and do not travel well; it’s best to pick them and then use them as soon as possible.
In some areas they have been protected from commercialism. High in anti-oxidants, especially vitamin C, they are a truly complete food. And besides, they taste so good!
I love blueberries, or as they are also known in French, bleuets. The early French and English explorers invented these words for their languages as they had never before encountered the intensely blue berries. Of course, they were already an ancient staple in the diets of many indigenous peoples.
Blueberries are native to North America and they prefer the cooler climes. Most bleuets purchased in the stores are cultivated, but wild ones are frequently available as well.
They are yummy just on their own or in a pie, pudding or cake. The best part? These sweet little flavour bombs are packed with nutrients which research suggests may protect against heart disease, cancer, cognitive decline, and diabetes.
Pretty great that this terrific treat is also good for you!
The Okanagan Valley is quite famous for wine grapes, but for many years before that it was well-known for its fruits and vegetables, especially its tree fruits.
I am not usually a big lover of fruit, but there’s nothing quite like a fresh peach, warm from the sun, gently sweet and juicy, slightly tangy but not acidic. And that heavenly peachy perfume! Such a treat!
So as I sit on the equivalent of a massive glacier, I can always dream sweet summer memories of peaches. Mummm, I can almost taste one.