The quest for the finest local, seasonal foods just got easier with the opening last week of the new Savour Ottawa Field House at the Parkdale Market.
At a well-attended launch event on May 13, guests joined representatives from Savour Ottawa and the city in toasting the new field house. Most appropriately, glasses of Hall's Apple Market Sparkling Cider were raised amid delighted cheers. In addition, the farmers were on hand to share samples of their products with eager shoppers.
The opening of Savour Ottawa Field House is the culmination of four years of diligent effort on the part of many people, particularly Philip Powell, the city's markets manager.
He noted that the farmers included in this new collaborative effort all welcomed the opportunity to have a showcase for their products and a chance to get out of the rain occasionally, given that so much of their business involves selling at open-air farmers' markets or their own farm gates.
"A venture like this helps farmers to focus on looking after the business of growing," he added.
"Our goal is to make these 10 people into celebrity farmers by putting more of their food into the community. There's nothing more wonderful than meeting the people who actually grew the items you are going to serve at your table."
The Savour Ottawa Field House is a well-equipped food boutique selling nothing but local foods grown and produced by Savour Ottawa-certified farmers.
It was recently refurbished to include refrigerators, freezers, preparation counters, and sinks. This will enable 10 farmers, who will take turns minding the store, to showcase their amazing local foods - ranging from organic beef to fruits, vegetables and cheeses. It will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays through Sundays.
City councillor Katherine Hobbs was on hand for the opening and warmly welcomed the vendors to the Parkdale Market, located in the heart of Kitchissippi Ward.
"This initiative is a first in Ottawa," she noted. We later learned that the city plans to roll the Savour Ottawa Field House concept out to other municipalities across North America, as an example of a ‘best practice' for supporting and sustaining local agriculture.
Among the delicious nibbles provided at the launch were several cheeses from Fromagerie les folies Bergères, tasty organic beef skewers from Acer Farms, heavenly apple crumble pie from Hall's Apple Market and much more. It was impossible to resist buying some more goodies to bring home after tasting these treats.
Sampling will be a regular feature at the new field house on the wide sidewalk in front of the structure. The farmers I spoke with confirmed that they will be preparing new items all season long, often combining their own products with those of other field house vendors to promote the many fine local foods available.
The new vendors at the field house are:
- Acer Farms (organic beef)
- Bekings Poultry (eggs)
- Bryson Farms (organic & heirloom vegetables)
- Dusty Lane Farms (lamb)
- Fromagerie les folies Bergères (cheese)
- Hall's Apple Market (apple products)
- Halsall's Honey
- Le Coprin (mushrooms)
- Stanley's Olde Maple Lane Farm (maple products)
- Trillium Meadows Red Deer & Wild Boar Farm.
This brings the total number of vendors at the Market up to 27.