How can one describe the taste of a fresh, fresh beet? Sweet, with something of the earth about it. Beets from a store can’t approach this flavour. Typically, the time from field to market gives them the leisure to transform their sugars into starch.
If you don’t grow your own beets, the city has an increasing number of simple solutions: Farmers’ markets.
Two operate within a fairly easy stroll from home. On Thursday, my man and I walked to the one in East Lynn Park. Except for some unsatisfying moviehouse popcorn and hot dogs at a double bill* on Friday, we’ve been feasting on that bounty since.
On one night we had beet tops with a grating of nutmeg, steamed yellow and green beans with a splash of EVOO and lots of garlic, and BBQed organic bison burgers. Inspired by guess-which movie, my man made us a snack of home-made bruschetta on organic hot pepper bread. Last night, we ate the golden beets, lightly buttered, with the rest of the beans, and masses of fresh sweet corn. I sprinkled Cajun seasoning on mine, a gift from a friend just back from New Orleans. Why don’t we always eat like this?
Farmers’ markets are becoming much more accessible, and for this we should be grateful. The bison stand was giving away copies of a handsome magazine called Edible Toronto. A trip to the publication’s website will take you to this list of farmers’ markets in the Golden Horseshoe area which lists 25 markets in Toronto, not counting ones nearby in areas such as York, Durham or Peel Regions.
Even if you do grow your own, there’s always something you don’t have room for. In case of crop failure, or in case of deep need before your own harvest ripens, there’s a market close by waiting to see you. This is one case in which the freshness can be beet.
*An unusual pair of films, gustatorially speaking: Julie & Julia and Moon. In the former, “Julia Child” and “Julie Powell” whip our appetites into a frenzy. In the latter, the main character played by Sam Rockwell feeds almost exclusively on vacupacked baked beans.