Like going to a farm, without going to a farm
There's just something so gratifying about buying your food straight from the farmer that it feels unfortunate we can't do it all year round. As autumn starts fading away so do farmer markets, and we are again compelled to visit the good old chain supermarket. Nothing wrong with it, we have to get our food from somewhere, right? but that joyous feeling of walking around the colourful rustic aisles is replaced by the dullness of routine and the shiny plastic containers 90% of products in a regular supermarket are packed in.
Visiting Gardener's Market has the power to make you feel like you're going back to basics, the way it used to be. Farmer comes, displays their produce, you taste, you chat, you ask for a discount and then you laugh, kids walk around in wonder at the multitude of things they didn't even know existed!
There's a sense of community, a more humane touch on things, like you're actually buying produce from actual humans putting on the table the fruit of their work and not just some brand or supermarket. Not saying these people don't work as hard, but knowing you're supporting Pauline the strawberry lady or Robert the fishmonger kinda makes your heart smile and wish it could be so all the time.
A hidden gem
We've been living in the south shore of Montréal for quite a while and it's a shame we only recently got to discover this place. Routine is an evil devil and regular supermarkets are a bit too convenient for us to get the urge to see what else is there. Fortunately, our search for a greener approach paid its dividends with a surplus.
La Prairie is one of those (subjectively) small jewel towns you seldom find around. Le vieux La Prairie is as charming as the name itself. Walking around its streets is like going to the past (a past were people wear Nikes and park their Chevrolet Spark on the street) but the past nonetheless. 350 years of architectural heritage have imbued this place with a je ne sais quoi that can't be explained yet it can't be denied. Little coffee shops, fancy restaurants and L'Alsacien, a bistro where a huge tree raises right through the middle and a dazzling kougelopf is served make of La Prairie a thing of fairy tales.
Just a couple of weeks left
Sadly :( only a couple of weeks are left before Gardener's Market closes for the year, but on the bright side, if you give yourself the chance to go you'll be able to see the intensity of colours and flavours autumnal produce brings with it, get a pumpkin or two and while you're at it, take a walk around le vieux to have a coffee, an ice cream or if you feel like romance's in the air, maybe book a meal for two Chez Julien or at l'Ours Caverne Culinaire.
So there you have it, there's still time to encourage the local economy, treat yourself while at it and remember how privileged we are to have such diversity virtually next door; diversity of people, of places and produce. I know it may sound a bit contradicting that I talk about encouraging local while I like to use exotic ingredients, but I think we start seeing fireworks if we have the ability to mix and balance our stuff with what comes from abroad.