Thorny Super Foods at St. Norbert Farmers' Market

The St. Norbert Famers’ Market is an essential Winnipeg experience.  The market started in 1988, with just eight vendors and very few customers. Through 25 years of relationship building, the market has grown slowly and steadily to now support 130 full-time vendors, up to 50 casual vendors, and a HUGE amount of foot traffic on market days.  Saturdays are the busiest, but you can also find a good selection on Wednesdays, when we were there. 

We wandered the market stalls and stumbled across products made with Seabuckthorn, a fruit we have now seen a few times: first at Highwood Crossing Farm, then at Lucky Bastard Distillery, and finally at The University of Saskatchewan Plant Science’s horticulture department.  Each time, seabuckthorn was praised as a super food, high in vitamins, minerals, omegas, and much more!

We chatted with the folks at Solberry Seabuckthorn, who have created a whole line of products made from prairie—and specifically Manitoban—seabuckthorn.  The berry is native to China, but was brought to Canada in the early 20th century to be used as a ‘shelterbelt’—a way to combat wind and soil erosion.  Seabuckthorn is a hardy plant resistant to frost, and adaptable to a wide range of soil pH, making it a great plant for harsh northern climates.  The berries, though hard to harvest amongst their thick brush of thorns, have been making their way into mainstream consumption.

Solberry’s soaps, lip balms, purees, and syrups all looked quite compelling, but what really won us over was the seabuckthorn sorbet. 

It’s made by mixing seabuckthorn puree with honey, then it’s frozen; the result in an intensely flavourful (and healthy!) icy treat.  If we weren’t living out of a tiny car without refrigeration, we would have picked up a whole case.