Anne DesBrisay is the restaurant critic for Ottawa Magazine. She has been writing about food and restaurants in Ottawa-Gatineau for 25 years and is the author of three bestselling books on dining out. She is head judge for Gold Medal Plates and a member of the judging panel at the Canadian Culinary Championships.
They have lots of pretty things at Whole Foods, but they don’t have Tibetan yak. If you need yak this week, you need to do this. Head to Whole Foods and buy a few things. They need to add up to twenty five bucks (won’t take long). Get your parking pass stamped, return to your warm underground car, deposit your purchases and walk the five minutes to the Cattle Castle, where you can spend the rest of your 90 minutes of validated parking spending the rest of your money to support local producers.
The second stall on the right as you enter the grand old building is where you’ll find artist-farmer Rosemary Kralik and her pasture-raised Tibetan yak. The meat, that is. Rosemary famously (at least that’s what put her on my map) partnered with chef Jamie Stunt (then of Oz Kafé) for his winning Gold Medal Plates 2012 dish. The plate featured loin of yak along with a special bottle of Ashton Brewing Company’s beer. (And a lot of other things as well, but this post is about the Farmers’ Market.)
Kralik sells her yak (plus Highland beef, smoked lamb and other treats) on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., bringing wares from her farm, Tiraislin Fold, in Maberley, Ontario.
The Winter Farmers’ Market in the Aberdeen Pavillion was launched last Sunday. It seemed to me about a fifth the size of the summer version, which meant we could hit most of the stalls.
Other than yak, we bought frost-sweetened carrots and Jerusalem artichokes from Rainbow Heritage Garden, winter kale from Acorn Creek, squashes from Bryson Farms, venison from Trillium Meadows, honey from the Kositsins of Ottawa Valley Honey, Beau’s-Wurste sausages from The Elk Ranch, apple cider from Hall’s, freshly rolled oats from Castor River, plus beets, corn salsa, and a container of spicy edamame hummus from Katie at Needham’s Market Garden. Then before heading for the canal, we joined the winter queue (much shorter than the summer one) for a loaf (or three) of Art-is-In bread.
The music is much better at the Farmers’ Market too. They were playing Adele at Whole Foods. We got King of the Road on double bass at the Cattle Castle. All under the same roof where you can buy yak. How’s that for a splendid Sunday outing?