Buffalo Bistro Catering

Betty Ann Blue Cloud is a member of Yellow Quill First Nation in Saskatchewan and this is her second year at the market. When she's not at the market she teaches Martial Arts to females 3 evenings per week. She has been doing martial arts for six years and has her first degree black belt. Betty Ann wants to teach women and girls to have more confidence in themselves and to challenge stereotypes about what they are capable of.  Below are her answers to some questions about her business Buffalo Bistro Catering:

Why did you decide to start your own business?

I wanted to be an example for other First Nation peoples to show them that we can be entrepreneurs. I also wanted to represent my First Nation culture through food. If not for the limits imposed by Alberta Health Services I would prepare deer, rabbit, geese and elk in my booth. Last year I served buffalo; this year I'm preparing my meals with beef and chicken.

What sort of items do you serve at your booth?

I make chili, bannock tacos, hamburger soup, beef stew and chicken soup

What is your favourite part about being at the market?

Meeting new people and talking to them about my booth. Many people are interested in First Nations culture and I like talking to them about that. I like representing my culture and people like learning about it.

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Visit Buffalo Bistro Catering at Robert McClure Farmers' Market every Friday from 3-7 PM.

Second Nature

What types of products do you sell?  

Bath and body, home cleaning products, pet supplies and aromatherapy. I also have jewelry that I design and make. All products are homemade & natural, no synthetics. Home cleaning products include: carnauba furniture polish, antibacterial cleaner, gentle liquid soap, and kitchen scrub. Available bath, body and shower products include: silky smooth goats milk body cream, brown sugar body scrub, diaper rash cream, lip scrub, lip balms, headache roll on remedy, arnica balm, bath salts, bath truffles, bath teas, bath oils, shower bombs, and bath bombs. Available pet products include: shampoo and paw protector. Available aromatherapy: Revive Blend, Calming Blend, 911 Cold Blend, Hot Flash Blend, and Cooling Foot Blend.

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As this is a fairly new market, I do not have all my products for sale since they are natural their shelf life is shorter, so I only make small batches and only have my best sellers at this time (Body cream, brown sugar body scrub, antibacterial cleaner, headache roll on, arnica balm, liquid soap and three aromatherapy blends).

What does the term ‘natural’ mean when talking about bath, body and cleaning products?

No synthetics, chemicals, SLS and organic whenever possible.

Why should people purchase natural products over the ones sold in stores containing synthetic ingredients?

The skin is our largest organ and everything we put on it sinks in and goes straight to our bloodstream. Toxins, pesticides, synthetics and other unnatural products are causing many medical problems that could be avoided.

What inspired you to begin making your own natural products?

My own children and pets. Our son was severely disabled and there were many medical items that would require cleaning/sterilization but I didn’t want to use anything that might harm him or our daughter. Children are always crawling on the floor and putting toys into their mouths and I wanted products that were not harmful. Same goes for our pets.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?

Nothing. Everything is a learning curve and I wouldn’t want to miss out on the steps required to learn and grow.  

What is your favourite aspect about taking part in farmers’ markets?

Meeting new people, making contacts, and educating customers about natural products.

Visit Second Nature at Robert McClure Farmers' Market every Friday from 3 -7 PM.

 

Sugar & Thread Creative Collective

Sugar & Thread Creative Collective features Sydney Moore, who creates subversive cross stitch and baking; Karen Dingwall, who makes canned goods and preserves; and Kelly Osgood, a photographer who creates printed cards.

Sydney Moore:

How did you first become interested in cross stitch?

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My mom did cross stitch when I was a kid, so I grew up watching her, and she eventually started buying me cross stitch kits to work on. I loved the idea of creating pictures with thread, and art made on a grid really appealed to me. I can't draw or paint to save my life, but if you follow a pattern in cross stitch, you're going to have a beautiful picture at the end no matter what. I've been cross stitching for 17 years, and I started embroidering just last year.

Where do you find inspiration for your pieces?

I love using pop culture references in my art. I have a note in my phone that is just quotes I get from music, tv, movies and even friends. The juxtaposition of vintage style cross stitch or embroidery with modern rap lyrics is one of my favourite pieces to do.

Do you remember the first piece you ever cross stitched?

It might not have been the first piece I ever stitched, but I remember the first piece I ever finished was a little Christmas tree ornament with Winnie the Pooh and Piglet on it. I was about nine years old when I finished that one.

Cross stitch might typically be viewed as something for older generations – do you believe it’s making a comeback with younger age groups? If so, why?

Fibre art is definitely making a comeback! The more current and relevant version of needlework is Subversive Cross Stitch or Embroidery. One of the more popular designs is "Please don't do coke in my bathroom". Swear words and insults are really popular right now too. There has also been a surge in people using fibre art as a means of protest, or speaking their mind about political matters. There was recently a huge auction on Instagram where artists auctioned off a few hoops and donated all the money to supporting families who had been separated at the border. It's a really amazing community to be a part of.

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Aside from cross stich, you also make baked goods. What are some of the items that you bake?

My husband does the baking, and he loves making bread. He loves to pick something new from one of his cookbooks every week so he's not making the same thing over and over. So far this year he has made sourdough bread, cinnamon sugar beignets and mini chocolate chip cookies.

What is your favourite aspect about taking part in farmers’ markets?

I joined this farmers' market to spend more time with family. My mother-in-law wanted to sell her jars and invited me to join her. I love getting to spend a few hours out in the sunshine with family and friends every week.

Karen Dingwall:

How long have you been preserving and canning and how did it become something you’re interested in?

I've been canning for about five years. I can't remember what sparked my interest, but I took a couple of seminars on how to can and then started with peaches from the Okanagan. I enjoy trying new recipes and finding products that people really enjoy. Canning is a creative outlet for me.

What types of canned goods and preserves do you sell?

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This summer I'm focusing on pickles, chutneys, and bbq and applesauce. 

Which is your personal favourite?

My favourite is the Cinnamon Applesauce – so delicious.  I like it with any meat or in yogurt or just by itself.

Do you have any tips or advice for people looking to make their own preserves or canned goods?

If you're interested in taking up canning I suggest you attend a seminar or read up on the topic because there are serious food safety concerns if it's not done properly. I also suggest making up small batches – you don't have to can 30 jars of pickles at a time. Give them to friends – it's so cool to see someone enjoy something you made with your own hands.

What is your favourite aspect about taking part in farmers’ markets?

My favourite part of the farmers' market is the sense of community that is created with the other vendors and with the customers. 

Kelly Osgood:

What is your background in photography?

Many years ago in the 1980’s, I took a photography program from a community college in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Then I worked for three years for a newspaper. Those were the old days of  darkrooms and black and white photography, when photographers made their own spools of film and spent hours developing film and printing photos.

What do you like best about the art form?

I like the challenge of doing something others haven’t done. I like playing with light. 

Do you have a favourite type of photography (portraits, landscapes, etc)?

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I love water. I love shooting slow speeds on a tripod. If you open your lens for more than 5 seconds, water looks dreamy - waves blur into something soft and calm.

Where is your favourite location to shoot in Calgary/surrounding area?

I love the Bow River. I love to shoot around the bridges – the ones near St. Patrick's Island are my favourite.

What advice do you have for amateur photographers or people looking to take up photography?

Young people are doing some really creative work; there is freedom in not having to worry about the cost of film and so I see a lot of really creative things happening. But if you are brand new to photography, learn some basic composition rules like the Rule of Thirds, learn some basic physics about how light works, and always ask yourself, “What is this a picture of?” and then focus on what that is.

What is your favourite aspect about taking part in farmers’ markets?

I love the community that develops around it and I love listening to live music. 

Visit Sugar & Thread Creative Collective at Robert McClure Farmers' Market every Friday from 3 -7 PM.

Two Pine Farms

How did you first become interested in beekeeping?

We have a large garden at our Calgary home and several years ago we decided to introduce bees to help with pollination and add something to make our garden more of an ‘urban farm’. We took an introductory beekeeping course with Eliese Watson of ABC Bees here in Calgary and it was an immediate connection! Mike continued the learning with Eliese for two years though her internship program and then began building up our own apiaries in areas around Calgary.

What are the benefits of consuming honey?

Unpasteurized honey provides phytonutrients and beneficial bacteria.

How does the taste of honey vary depending on what it is sourced from, climate, etc?

The taste of honey varies based on the flowers the nectar is collected from and the growing conditions for those flowers. Because there are different flowers in different areas and at different times of the year, you can experience a variety of flavours from the same location depending on the time of year.

We love to get honey from different areas around the world as each one is a reflection of the region it comes from. 

We find that some of our honey has a stronger floral taste, while others are more citrus. We just extracted some spring honey that is dominantly from dandelions at our Millarville yard - it seems smoother on the tongue and less sweet than our fall honey, which is from a winter forage pasture of clovers, sanfoin, alfalfa and milk vetch. We’re excited to find out the differences between each of our bee yards this year - come by for samples and let us know what you taste!

What is your favourite aspect about taking part in farmers’ markets?

We love that we can share our passion for honey bees with others, and what makes our honey taste the way it does. This is the benefit of a farmers’ market - the connection between the farmer or maker and the customer, creating a connection between food and those who bring it to your table.

Why is it important to buy local in your opinion?

There are many reasons. Most important is support for local business to create a sustainable community. We also believe that buying local provides an opportunity for consumers to connect with the businesses and make an informed decisions about what they purchase.

What is your favourite food-related way to use honey? 

We make a syrup that is 2 parts honey to 1 part ground fresh ginger (by weight), with a spritz of lemon to taste, and add it to either soda water for a wonderfully refreshing cold drink or to hot water for a soothing tea. We make big batches (2L) of the syrup at a time and will go through it in a few weeks.

What is an interesting fact about bees or honey that most people wouldn’t know?

One pound (454g) of honey is the hard work of 600 bees that fly over 80,000 km to collect nectar from 2 million flowers. Each bee will collect 0.8 grams of honey in her lifetime (all workers are female).

How many beehives do you have at your farm and how much honey do you produce on a yearly basis? 

We have over 65 hives in our 6 bee yards, which are located in pasture or grasslands near Crossfield, Airdrie, Symons Valley, Spring Bank and Millarville. Our smallest yard has 4 hives and our largest has 24. Between all the yards, we anticipate that we will be able to extract 1500kg of honey this year.

Visit Two Pine Farms on their website and at Robert McClure Farmers' Market every Friday from 3 -7 PM. 

1 Hook or 2 Needles

What’s your background in knitting and crocheting ­– How did you first develop an interest? How did you learn? How long have you been doing it for?

My mom tried to teach me when I was a kid. This, however, did not pan out. It wasn’t until my own daughter wanted a knitted poncho that I learned. I was not about to pay $150 or more. So I found a pattern and proceeded to figure it out. From there I learned to make a cotton dishcloth. As I get bored easily, I kept learning more involved patterns for all sorts of things. Then I found a very cute pattern for a pair of crochet booties. Once I had learned how to make these, with help from Youtube, I learned many more things. 

How did you get into selling your crafts?

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My friend is the one that pushed me to take the leap into trying to sell what I make. She introduced me to Kelly and last year was my first year in a market. 

What are some of the items you make and sell with 1 Hook or 2 Needles?

I make pretty much anything that I think is cute. This ranges from clothes to stuffed animals and pretty much anything in between. 

Where do you get the patterns for the designs that you make?

Most patterns I have found on the internet or Pinterest. Not all of them are exactly as the pattern says as some I have had to alter due the finished item not looking quite right. I am a huge perfectionist.  If I don’t like it, I can't bring myself to sell it. 

What is your favourite aspect about knitting/crocheting?

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The best thing about knitting/crocheting is that it's relaxing and I get a cute item when I’m finished. 

What advice would you give to other people looking to take up knitting or crocheting?

For any one that wants to learn but doesn’t think that they can, you absolutely can. There is so much more information out there. Youtube is very helpful and, as most videos on there are done by men, I am pretty sure that anyone can. 

What is your favourite aspect about taking part in farmers’ markets?

Being involved in the farmers' market has lead me to meet new people and put myself out there.

Visit 1 Hook or 2 Needles at Robert McClure Farmers' Market every Friday from 3 -7 PM. 

Shady Lane Estate/West of the 5th

Shady Lane Estate is a family-run Fruit Winery and Distillery from Barrhead, Alberta, which has had family farmers within one mile of the current winery for the last three generations. 

Here is an interview with Nathan Zdrodowski, one of the owners of Shady Lane Estate/West of the 5th, who runs the graphic design/marketing/sales of the winery and oversees the production of their wines and spirits alongside his brother.

 

What is your favourite aspect about taking part in farmers’ markets?

We love meeting our customers and showing off our products that we work so hard to prepare.

What is an interesting fact about wineries/distilleries that most people wouldn’t know?

All of our glass bottles come from Germany. We are an Estate Winery and that means we have to grow at least 75% of our own fruit. 

What is your recommendation for a refreshing summer drink/recipe?

For the Fruit Wines, we love making Sangrias! We have recipes on our website.

And nothing hits the spot on a hot day like a Hard Lemonade. Fill your glass of ice, fill with lemonade and top with 1oz of either our White Lightning, Strawberry Rhubarb or Saskatoon Moonshines.

How many types of fruit do you have on the property?

Strawberries, Raspberries, Rhubarb, Haskaps, Chokecherries, Prairie Cherries, Seabuck Thorns, Black Current, and Saskatoon. Every year we try to plant another variety as well as plant additional fruit to what we already grow

How many bottles do you produce on a yearly basis?

We are producing 15,000 bottles of fruit wine for our 2017 vintage, which should be released this summer.

The Moonshine is very new so we are hoping to produce 15,000-25,000 bottles – maybe more. Time will tell.

Visit Shady Lane Estate/West of the 5th on their website or at Robert McClure Farmers' Market every Friday from 3 -7 PM.

Natasha Perry

What is your background in art?

I'm actually mostly self taught; I took art in high school and one class for fun when I was attending the U of C (my actual background is in Print Media Journalism and Communications).

Very recently, I started experimenting with wood and sculpture, but I've never taken classes in those either, so what I make is usually a combination of my experimenting, mixed with random ideas I find online or around me.

Growing up, I had a lot of medical problems (autoimmune attacks that destroyed my pancreas and thyroid gland), and my home life was very difficult and isolating; art has always been a way for me to express myself – even when I couldn't find the words, to find peace in turmoil, and to identify myself with when I began questioning the world I found myself brought up in.

How would you describe your art pieces?

Very eclectic.

I have a busy mind and want to learn as much as possible. Who knows if it will change, but I'm still searching and it reflects in what I like creating.

Sometimes I make things that are more personal, sometimes less; sometimes my art is complex, and sometimes I try to keep it simple. So far, I haven't settled on a single art form, but I do go through phases. I suppose right now I'm making more rustic pieces with wood, and for my paintings I'm drawn to art deco and abstract, and I always love anything nature oriented.

What does your work aim to say?

It depends on the piece; if it's a larger painting, I will either try to express something very personal (an issue/experience, a problem), or I might just create a feeling/narrative/scene. For other pieces, like with the woodwork, I'm trying to make things that can be used to create a "home." I moved around a lot, and my idea of home isn't so much a set location, but rather the way you decorate the space you live in.

Where do you find inspiration for your art and who are your biggest influences?

Everything, everyone and everywhere!

Since I was little, I would always collect strange things to make my own creations from. I love many traditional artists and other not so traditional. I love looking through galleries, the library and the internet (I have to admit that I have a slight Pinterest obsession). At the moment, my biggest influences are my close family members and the process of trying to set up our own home.

Who is your favourite artist?

To be honest, I don't have a favourite. I like Salvador Dali, the Impressionists and the Pre-Raphealites. There are many modern art pieces I like, but I have to admit that I don't know many of the artists’ names. Winslow Pels is an amazing illustrator, and I used to be obsessed with his art (so much detail and breathtakingly beautiful!)

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What is the first piece of artwork that you ever sold?

Two paintings, to a family member (pictured right).

What is your favourite aspect about taking part in farmers’ markets?

Being able to go out and see other people, see what they are making or growing; the one thing that links everyone together at the farmers' market, I think, is that we all like to be a part of creating on a very primary and fundamental level. It's very rewarding, and you can see the pride that each person has in what they make. Beyond that, being able to talk directly to the people who are coming to see or buy from the farmers’ market is also wonderful, and being a part of a community; it's much more personal, positive, and there really isn't anything that can replace that.

What benefit is there to demonstrating your art in front of market-goers?

I always found that watching other people create was intriguing and calming, and I found it was/is the same when others watch me paint. Some people are curious to see how my art is made, sometimes just to watch the process and sometimes to also experiment with their own art. Also, I like seeing other people's reactions; I'm not always making my art for myself, so knowing what other people like or don't like helps me know what to make (and helps me improve too).

Visit Natasha Perry on her website or at Robert McClure Farmers' Market every Friday from 3 -7 PM.