When it comes to farmers markets, we seem to have good timing. We always arrive just on the right day, and Fredericton was no exception. Our time there was short, but we managed to get in two of the very best things to do in the city: the Boyce Farmer’s Market, and a taste of New Brunswick’s quintessential brews from Picaroons Traditional Ales.
The Fredericton Boyce Farmer’s Market is one of Canada’s top 10 community markets, and one of my personal favourites. It spans a large parking lot and a multi-corridored building, and is full of great produce, interesting crafts, and a HUGE selection of ethnic and prepared foods. Even in the winter, it’s one of the most well-attended markets I’ve experienced.
Samosas are one of the Boyce Market’s most popular treats. Each week, long lines consistently protrude from both samosa stands throughout the markets hours. We didn’t make it to these stands, however, because we were de-railed by what we now refer to as our greatest market find of the day: a charming (and CHEAP) Lebanese food stall inside.
We could not believe all the homemade goodness that was on offer; for just $10, we had a lunch of dolmades, hummus, baklava, falafel, tabouleh, labneh, and flat bread with Za’atar, a middle eastern spice blend which typically combines dried herds (including oregano, basil, and thyme) with sesame, sumac, and salt.
We were especially excited to dig into our hefty porton of Labneh, a type of soft cheese that’s relatively simple to make. I suspect labneh is somewhat similar to Les Faisalle, the first stage of the oldest cheese in North America. If you’re interested in trying your hand at cheese-making, click your way over to the Dirty Apron blog where Lindsay posted a two-step labneh-making tutorial (Making Labneh Part 1 and Making Labneh Part 2).
Picaroons Tradition Ales is a unique microbrewery based in Fredericton, winner of the 2011 Canadian ‘Brewery of the Year Award’. It is New Brunswick at heart. Their ‘Dooryard Summer Ale’ tributes the provincial term for ‘backyard’; ‘Simeon Jones Amber Ale’ is named for an old brewer and former mayor of Saint John; and a ‘picaroon’ refers to a pirate/roguish individual or an old logging tool used to turn logs as they floated down the Saint John River.
Picaroons English ales are distinct because they’re fermented at room temperature. While cold-fermentation is much more common amongst brewers, this warmer fermentation allows the beer to take on more interesting flavour characteristics, and develop a more full-bodied finish. They describe the ‘Winter Warmer’ as a “big, strong hug of a beer; all signs point to heading oceanside on a blustery day, and cracking a Winter Warmer.
You can visit Boyce Market every Saturday, and here’s some good news: at pubs around Fredericton, you will be able to find a pint of Picaroons ANY day of the week.