Thursday, July 30, 2015

Martin Dyck, Manager of Operations, Saskatoon Farmers' Market

Martin Dyck shows Batman around the Market

The Saskatoon Farmers’ Market will be celebrating its 40th anniversary on August 22. That’s a significant achievement and a great deal of credit needs to be given to the market manager who keeps thing running smoothly. Deb Claude managed the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market for 18 years, retiring in June 2015. Stepping into Deb’s shoes, as Manager of Operations, is Martin Dyck.

I was curious to find out more about Martin and his plans for the market, so I sent him a list of questions. Here are his responses:

1. What is your background and what led you to apply for a job at the Saskatoon Farmers' Market? 
I grew up just outside Regina in a farming community. I spent seven years in radio and have owned my own business a few times. I guess "entrepreneurial" would sum it up.

My wife, our youngest son and I moved to Saskatoon four years ago when I had an opportunity to open a branch office of a Regina-based business. After my three-year contract was finished with them, they decided to pull out of Saskatoon, but I had grown to love it here and had no interest in leaving this beautiful city.

The Farmers' Market is full of entrepreneurs. Every booth is its own little business and everyone is working for success. That many energetic people under one roof seemed like a great place to work. So when the job was posted, I applied. And it turns out I was right, it is a great place to work.

2. What are your responsibilities as Market Manager? Which part of the job excites you the most? 
My responsibilities at the Market are so varied. From working with our great vendors making sure everyone has their spot on market day, to time in the office answering emails, to budgets, to changing the odd light bulb.

I love the interaction with people. The people of Saskatoon are great! Market days (Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday) are my favorites. I get to interact with the vendors and the customers. I'm a people person, so mingling with customers throughout the day makes things so much better.

3. What can we look forward to at the Market? In the next 6 months? In the next year? 
The Saskatoon Farmers' Market is celebrating 40 years beginning with a huge celebration on August 22nd, and we are looking forward to a year of special events to celebrate. Of course, the ultimate goal is to see the Market get busier and busier.

We have cafés that are open 6 days a week that I consider one of Saskatoon's best kept secrets. It's like a mini food court. Right now we have Riverbend Plantation Café and Garlic Guru. Soon we will have a Mexican restaurant called La Taquiera Mexicana. They are currently working on their spot and will be open soon.

4. What is on your wish list for the Market? 
My wish list for the market would be more room for more vendors. The more the merrier! I would eventually like to see us grow in to a place that is busy every day. I would love to see our food service people busy 6 days a week. If we can find a way to get downtown people to come over for lunch or a coffee, they could see the food we have here and the service that is second to none.

5. What do you hope to achieve as Market Manager?
World peace through vegetables. No, just kidding. I would like to achieve the same things everyone in the Riversdale area wants – a busy, vibrant and friendly neighborhood. The Riversdale area has changed so much even in the short time I have been here. It's the place to be.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Flavourful Saskatoon, July 26, 2015

Symphony Vineyard, Saanich

Bruno Cherry Sunday, Aug. 16
Bruno Cherry Sunday is on August 16 and includes a sour cherry u-pick, pancake breakfast, cherry sundaes & hot food canteen, entertainment.

I’m delighted to be back on my feet and housesitting in Victoria for the next 5 weeks. I plan to report on some of my food finds in the hope that they will stimulate similar ideas in Saskatoon.

Breakfast Variety
I had brunch at Shine Café in Victoria this week and was thrilled to discover lots of vegetarian/vegan options. I had Eggs Benny Provence – French toast smothered in zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, fresh spinach, goat cheese and Provencal herbs with two poached eggs and pesto hollandaise.

It was a tough choice as I was very tempted to try Karin’s Brunch – any 4 of 9 vegan dishes ranging from hashbrowns and granola to a black bean patty, avocado, or sweet-chili sesame tofu.

Shine Café only serves a breakfast menu and is open from early morning to mid-afternoon.

Locally Produced Yogurt
Tree Island Gourmet Yogurt is a small-batch dairy processor. They use whole milk from grass-fed cows and traditional kettle cooking. There is a layer of cream on top of their yogurt. They flavour their yogurt with local fruit and honey and aren’t afraid to be different with flavours like Chai Latte, Orange Blossom Cardamom, Coconut Lime, and Pumpkin Spice.

Spicing Up the Corner Grocery Store 
Willow Park Grocery in Oak Bay is a corner grocery store with a difference. The owner is from Birmingham, the curry capital of the UK, and he makes and sells a wide variety of fresh and frozen curries. The owner became the chef when his cook quit and he needed to ensure reliable service for the students and teachers of two large neighbourhood schools.

I picked up Turnip Curry, Dahl, Rice Pilaf and Gulab Jamun as well as a frozen container of Mixed Peppers Curry.

Food bridges so many cultural divides, and it’s wonderful to see our differences being promoted rather than hidden.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post regular profiles of culinary entrepreneurs, new restaurants and new food products. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Monday, July 20, 2015

Flavourful Saskatoon, July 20, 2015

Fresh, crunchy vegetables on an onion baguette make a great sandwich at City Perks

Stellar Gourmet Mushrooms 
I’ve been jealous of the folks in Regina for a while now as they could purchase organic oyster mushrooms from Stellar Gourmet Mushrooms at the Regina Farmers’ Market. Well, now we can too! You’ll find them at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market on Saturdays and Sundays.

Churchill’s British Imports 
Churchill’s British Imports is moving to 3130 8th Street East, beside McNally Robinson. Their tentative opening date is September 1, 2015. They are still open at their Cumberland Square location until Saturday August 8, 2015.

Urban Agriculture Open Houses, July 29 & 30 
The Saskatoon Food Council is hosting Urban Agriculture Open Houses from 6:30-9:30 pm, July 29 and 30.

Gluten-Free Beer 
Gluten Free Loki in 6 packs and single bottles is available at the Paddock Wood Brewery. The gluten test results came back negative at the 5 ppm level, and that is the lowest resolution the tests can go. Under 20 ppm is considered gluten free.

Anita’s Perogies
Anita’s Perogies, located in Hampton Village, is making perogies just the way her mother did. You can order them by the dozen. Current flavours include Smoked Gouda & Roasted Pink Lady Apple, Cottage Cheese & Dill, and Rhubarb & Lemon Curd. I haven't tried them yet, but they came highly recommended by Lindsay Adams.

Stellar Gourmet Mushrooms

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post regular profiles of culinary entrepreneurs, new restaurants and new food products. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Drift Vista Lounge, Riversdale

Summer – sunshine, warm breezes, flirty dresses, and bare skin. And Drift Vista Lounge is the perfect place to celebrate the season with its second-storey verandahs, wide-open garage doors and fans. Not to mention an appetizing collection of tapas and Spanish wines.

Now, this isn’t to say that Drift Vista Lounge won’t be a wonderful place to while away a few hours in the winter. It will just be different. I can imagine lazy conversations or solitary daydreams looking out the windows at the city lights.

The best part of all about the view is that you can’t see the freeway. Instead there are green, leafy trees, both up close and across the river. If you can’t make it to the tropics, this is a satisfactory substitute.

I shared a meal and a bottle of goRu el blanco wine from Jumilla (the perfect summer wine – light and fruity) with my brother and his wife. We shared two small plates and a large one. There are lots of vegetarian options, and I’m sure that some of them are vegan.

Who knew that marinated olives taste so much nicer when they’re warmed up!

The Serrano Pepper Poppers are stuffed with Manchego cheese and served with Black Garlic Aioli and Marinara sauces. They were excellent, although you should be prepared for a bit of a bite.

Adri’s Potato is served with Oregano Feta, Tomato, Sea Salt, and Tzatziki. I thought they were a bit plain and would try something else next time.

The Grilled Cheese Greens combines fresh Spinach, candied Figs, sliced Almonds and a slab of wonderfully salty Haloumi. This was my favorite dish (and I forgot to take a photograph).

Desserts are fun – you choose between a spoonful of Cheesecake with Berries, Chocolate Crème Anglaise with a Gingersnap Cookie, and Watermelon Lime Granita. And they’re small enough that you can have more than one!

Drift Vista Lounge is located above Drift Sidewalk Café at 339A Avenue A. The Lounge is open from 4-10 pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays and from 4-12 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. It’s available for special event bookings from Sunday to Tuesday.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Flavourful Saskatoon, July 13, 2015

Fresh Veg. & Coffee 
Our Farm is selling local, chemical-free veggies Saturdays from 8 am to noon beside St. Joseph’s Parish Hall. They’re joined by Vector Coffee, an espresso bar catering service run by Daryl Grunau, recently voted Best Barista by Planet S Magazine.

El Mercado Las Palapas 
El Mercado Las Palapas, Broadway Avenue, now has a kitchen and is serving up breakfast tacos, waffled churros, vegetarian scrambler, tortillas, and more.

Summer Gardening Program for Kids
Ag in the Classroom is hosting a summer garden drop-in program every Friday from 10-12 at the Garden Patch with activities, crafts and games.

YXE Beer Fest, Aug. 28-29 
Saskatoon’s first outdoor beer festival will be held in Rotary Park, August 28 & 29 – local food trucks, local bands and lots and lots of craft beer. Tickets are now on sale at and at Congress Beer House.

Indigenous Agriculture 
Wanuskewin has undertaken an indigenous agriculture project growing traditional plants using traditional methods. Part of the garden is a replica of Buffalo Bird Woman’s early 1900s garden (here’s a description of some of her techniques). Knowledge keepers are sharing information on things like traditional seed songs and seed keeping techniques.

Breakfast in Burgundy 
Raymond Blake is infatuated with Burgundy – its food, its culture, its bakeries and restaurants – but, most especially, its wine. Breakfast in Burgundy: A Hungry Irishman in the Belly of France is for those of you who dream about buying a house in one of France’s premier wine regions.

Meal Kits 
Meal kits are becoming an increasingly popular way to serve homemade meals with a lot less effort. In most cases, you receive a box full of pre-measured ingredients and recipes for a week’s worth of meals. The Purple Carrot offers vegan meals and they look really tasty – Jamaican Jerk Spiced Seitan with Coconut Jasmine Rice, Spicy Teriyaki Tempeh Tacos, Backyard Buffalo Ranch Caesar Salad – a service like this would encourage me to become vegan. Luke’s Local, San Francisco, offers a variety of options from heat-and-serve prepared meals to fresh produce and meal kits.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post regular profiles of culinary entrepreneurs, new restaurants and new food products. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Monday, July 6, 2015

Flavourful Saskatoon, July 6, 2015

Spring Creek Garden, Saskatoon Farmers' Market

Temperance Brewing Co-operative, July 29 
Temperance Brewing Co. is hosting a meet-up at Amigo’s Cantina at 7 pm, July 29. Non-members are encouraged to attend: “The more we work together to grow the co-op, the closer we get to reaching our goals of brewing beer, opening a brewpub, and building a home for Saskatchewan's growing community of beer lovers.” 

Wolf Willow Winery
Wolf Willow Winery in Outlook produces cherry and haskap wine from Saskatchewan-grown fruit. They’re serving wine and refreshments (e.g. pie, quiche) on the patio from 12 – 8 pm, every day in July and August.

Banff Tea Co.
I’m enjoying two refreshing, summery teas from Banff Tea Company. Both would make great iced tea. Sansangria is a fruit tea with dried apple, carrot, grapes, pineapple, hibiscus, beetroot, orange peel, lemongrass and natural flavouring. Pink Grapefruit is a white tea flavoured with rosebuds, orange peel and natural flavouring.

Cidercraft is a biannual magazine about the people, places and apples in the current craft cider movement. It’s well designed with a range of interesting articles. The current issue includes a profile of Aspall’s Cider in Suffolk, England, a review of the different types of yeast that producers are using, and marketing trends.

Who is drinking cider? They’re 50% men, 50% women; college-educated; craft and import beer drinkers; and 80% are under 40.

Nutritional Medicine Course 
Very few doctors study nutrition in medical school. Two Chicago doctors are trying to remedy the situation with a four-week culinary nutrition class for medical students, which combines information on treating diet-related disease followed by a healthy dose of hands-on cooking.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post regular profiles of culinary entrepreneurs, new restaurants and new food products. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).