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Have I told you, I adore farmers markets?

Maybe it’s a food thing, maybe it’s a culture thing, but there’s something about going to the market in my summer dress that makes me feel, well… nice. It’s no surprise then, that I attend markets about three times a week.

By now, I’ve gotten to know the vendors at the markets I frequent and I seem to have a routine down. On Mondays I visit Sandra of Kind Organics at the Sorauren Market for some petite greens ($6) and salad blends. On my way I also indulge in a little popsicle action from my Popsicle Guru (see previous post) before stopping by Matchbox for some colourful easter egg radishes ($2) and Monforte Dairy for some fresh Haloumi ($5). By Wednesday, I’m on my home turf at the Bloor/Borden Market. I usually visit the gentlemen at Marvelous Edibles first–they’re my favorite–for some spicy greens ($4), eggs ($2.50) and herbs. Next I hit up the Vanhart’s for some heirloom cherry tomatoes ($5) and purple carrots ($3). This market also has fantastic meat vendors and a SLEW of fruit producers, too many to name really. I usually end up lumbering home, bags over flowing, tripping over dangling carrots greens. Thursday, I bike down to Dufferin Grove for some wild flowers($2-$20), sheeps milk ice cream ($2.50), fresh baked bread ($3) and the best peaches in Ontario ($4). Saturday, by which point my fridge is usually over flowing, I try and make my way out to the Evergreen Brick Works for Clement’s Crepes ($7), Cookstown Greens–I adore their corn shoots ($4) and anything else my heart may desire.

There are other markets as well, but the week is only so long and I can only eat so much! Shopping at the markets means I get the freshest produce, I get to meet my producers and I support farmers directly. After all, Farmers Feed Cities, and it’s important.

What do I do with my bounty you ask?

WELL… My favorite discovery has been an unlikely one. The award for most delicious farmers market find goes to the humble carrot. There is something about a fresh carrot, pulled from the ground at dawn, that has blown my mind.

All carrots were white in the past. The orange was bred into them, possibly by the Dutch who are known to be the finest carrot growers in the world. Nowadays, you’ll be hard pressed to find a white carrot though. Whether they’re purple, yellow, orange and almost-red, carrots are begging to be roasted (or even grilled!). The nutrients in carrots are not well absorbed when eaten raw, as they’re bound up in the fibers and tend to just pass through the body. Cooking helps release them, as well as the large amounts of sugars stored under their skins. I don’t peel my carrots, I simply scrub them before roasting. I also don’t buy giant, bitter, thick skinned carrots though!

The prefect carrot is actually rather simple. It is fresh, crisp, firm, unyielding and still has its fresh greens tops. I simply cut them in half length-wise and toss with a little bit of olive oil. After they’ve been roasted to a perfect golden crispness, I sprinkle over some flaky sea salt and serve. For some extra flare, try this awesome dressing, inspired by one of my inspirations, The Sweet Beet.

Minty Garlic Yogurt Dressing (for the Perfect Carrot!)
1/2 cup Yogurt
1 tbsp Olive Oil
2 Cloves of Garlic, Chopped
8 Mint leaves, Chopped
1/2 Lemon
Salt & Pepper to Taste

Zest the lemon and squeeze it’s juice. Mix together remaining ingredients. If dressing is too thick, add some water. Spoon over warm carrots and serve.

I served them with some spicy salad greens and grilled lamb loin chops, but they would be fantastic with anything from turkey to bison, even solo!

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2 thoughts on “The Perfect Carrot…

  1. Pingback: Lamb Vindaloo to make ya Stuh-stuh-stutter… « MoreThanBorscht

  2. Pingback: Taste Tested: The Perfect Carrot | Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance

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