Embrace your local produce at the Farmer’s Market

I picked up some Asian greens this afternoon, not from an Asian grocery store but from my neighbourhood Farmer’s Market.

The booth I drop by first is loaded with a myriad of vegetables and fruits. The Chinese gentleman tending the booth was no stranger to me. I’ve seen him at other farmer’s market such as Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam and Vancouver.  He recognizes me as ‘The lady who does cooking demonstrations with our products’ which I do now and then. With a big smile, he often gives me ‘Pick of the day’ to use for the demo. “Just picked this morning!” is what he keeps telling everyone.

To thank him, I usually shop at his booth first. Today, after paying for a bundle of Chinese broccoli, 2 small bundles of watercress and eggplants, he adds a small box of cherry tomatoes, beets, baby carrots and a couple young cucumbers into my bag. To me, talking to farmers from our backyards is major fun Farmer’s Markets offers. The equally exciting reward for visiting the market - to be able to cook and serve the family a meal using farm-fresh produce!

Needless to say, some of the groceries in my bag will have to go into the fridge for later use. I am able to make a lovely summer soup using 2 skinned chicken thighs and the watercress.  The cherry tomatoes and cucumbers are perfect for a ‘red and green’ salad; all I need to add are cheese, olives and dressing. As for the eggplants, beets, carrots, this is what I am making:

Sauté Root & Vegetables with coffee and wine sauce Served 4 on plain rice


2 tbsp. vegetable oil

2 tbsp chopped garlic

4 slices chopped ginger

1 lb. assorted roots and vegetables (beets, carrots, eggplants, etc.) into ½” slices

1 tsp light soy sauce

1 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp regular coffee

1 tbsp brown sugar

¼ glass cold water

1 tbsp red wine

1 tsp sesame oil

Pinch of salt

½ cup chopped fresh basil


  1. Heat oil in pan or wok on high
  2. Add garlic and ginger, sizzle for 10 seconds.
  3. Add root vegetables, stir well. 
  4. Add soy sauce, oyster sauce, coffee and brown sugar, sauté for 1 minute. 
  5. Pour in water, stir well, cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on medium-high.
  6. Add in wine, mix well, cover and cook for 15 seconds.
  7. Add sesame oil and salt, stir in basil. Ready to serve.