Apart from the sunshine and the big family turkey dinner and watching the Oilers game with my dad and playing on a real grand piano, the best part of my trip home was a visit to the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market on Saturday. I went with Patty—one of my oldest and dearest friends who has recently grown an impressive mountain man beard—and his girlfriend Erin and we wandered the stalls looking for the best crab apples and Saskatoon berry jam. Now there are markets in Vancouver of course—Granville Island being the best and most famous example—but the Old Strathcona market is just so homey, with all the booths telling you exactly where everything comes from (proudly grown in Calmar, Alberta!) and you know that most of the time the person you’re buying that crab apple from is the very same one who grew it and picked it off the tree. Or off the ground.
Generally, Vancouver has a serious advantage over Edmonton in the eats department. But there is one thing you cannot get here and that is Saskatoon berries. When we are at our most prairie girl-esque, Ariana and I have lamented how much we miss Saskatoon berry pie or Saskatoon berry crumble or Saskatoon berry jam. So after she had what can only be described as one of the worst days in history on Thursday I was determined to find the perfect Saskatoon berry jam to bring back for her from the market. And I did! After going around to all the stalls I decided to buy from the little old farmer lady and her husband, who you could tell had probably been making jam since before my parents were even born.
Once I had purchased the amazing Saskatoon berry jam, there was the little problem of transporting it home on the plane. You can’t take it in your carry on luggage because obviously you might be mistaken for a terrorist. A Saskatoon-Berry-jam-bomb wielding terrorist. So Colleen helped me to wrap the jars (I bought one for myself too of course) in newspaper and those squishy things that apple pears come wrapped in and ultimately inside a ziploc bag. Those jams were not going to break.
And they didn’t! And Ariana’s day was made. Seriously, she was so excited you’d think I got her a new car or a framed picture of Matt Saracen or something. And now whenever I eat toast I get to experience not only the deliciousness of Saskatoon berries, but also get to feel like a prairie girl again for a few minutes. Yeehaw.