Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Upcoming Winter and Holiday Markets

The apples, pears and onions in our kitchens are telling us that winter is just around the corner, but before we officially pull out our mitts and warm winter hats, we would like to take a moment to look back on the summer markets that brought in so many people in search of berries, zucchini and summer flavours of Sticky Spoon jam.

The Vancouver Farmers Market in the West End is truly a picturesque venue. In the heart of downtown, nudged between heritage homes and a beautifully restored community garden and park, the West End market is possibly the prettiest of all markets. Ever.

We attended our very first Trout Lake Market this year as well. Loyal shoppers have been visiting this market for decades and, in addition to being somewhat bigger than the other venues, its location makes for a perfect family day; a large park for a picnic, a lake for swimming, an area designated for dogs to run free, many food trucks if anyone happens to be peckish... why would you want to shop for groceries anywhere else?

And then there is the sophisticated Shangri-La Market, where all the vendors go out of their way to make every vegetable and pastry look particularly exquisite and the chef and staff put such efforts into welcoming Sunday morning wanderers and shoppers.

We had a great time and want to thank everyone who visited us this summer. On the bright side, you no longer have to keep track of your favourite vendors' market locations: the Winter Market hosts them all every Saturday morning at Nat Bailey Stadium.  If the rest of the Winter is anything like last Saturday, market days will be filled with sun and warm weather and shopping for produce and locally prepared foods will be a treat. Find us at Nat Bailey for the Winter Market on the following dates: February 9th, March 9th and April 13th 2013.

Lately, Sticky Spoon has turned into a holiday jam factory; gift boxes are being made, stamps and pairing tags are stacking up in abundance, special orders are being filled, visits to the post office are more and more frequent and we have been setting aside many cases of jam for these markets so a wide variety will be available for purchase, including new flavours.

You can find us at the Got Craft Market on Sunday, December 9th from 10am to 5pm at the Croatian Cultural Center, 3250 Commercial Drive. 50 bags of goodies will be given away to the first guests on that day and half of these will include small jars of Sticky Spoon jams so we recommend that you arrive early... We have seen a sneak peek of many of the items that will be put into these swag bags and trust us, they are worth it. We look forward to attending and shopping ourselves! Shop local this holiday season; we know we will. 

We will also be participating in the 17th annual VFM Holiday Market, at the Croatian Cultural Center as well, on Saturday December 15th from 10am to 4pm.  Many of our favourite vendors will be under one roof and it draws a big crowd every year.

To everyone involved in creating great summer markets, thank you. Now, let the winter market season begin... See you soon!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tomato Jam

Oh tomatoes. The season could never be long enough. Every year they pop up at the market and seeing them is such a sign of summer’s height. So many colours, so many flavours! Stripes, spots, round and oblong, big and small. It’s dizzying and amazing and we always come home with more than necessary, yet never have trouble eating every last one. As happy as this time is, their arrival also brings the recognition that summer is on the wane. Once tomatoes, corn and peaches are here, we know that squash and apples and pears are soon to follow. That basil has a limited time left, that berries are nearly over.

So what to do with the knowledge that cooler weather is lurking around the corner? Preserve that tomato goodness to enjoy in the middle of rainy winter, of course! 

Tomato jam may be somewhat lesser known, but tomatoes are a fruit, after all, and their sweet, acidic flesh creates a beautifully balanced preserve. At home we’ve been known to muck about with all manner of tomato jam, but for Sticky Spoon we stuck to a classic red tomato jam with warm spices, citrus juice and just a pinch of chili flake. The resulting jam is sweet and tangy and ever so slightly spiced. Think of it as a tomato condiment for a grown up palate.

Our men are particularly fond of this jam with grilled sausages and on burgers, though it is also rather lovely with nice, sharp cheddar on crackers or in a grilled cheese sandwich. This is a personal favourite, as it is extremely versatile. Eggs are a natural partner, and we’ve even used it to add a bit of zip to our fajitas.