Farmers Market Challenge: Week Ten

Last week I had my heart set on pierogies, I even started this post before the purchase, only to discover the Old Country Pierogi stall was nowhere to be found.

This week, the pierogi table was back and the flavours were aplenty.

So many flavours, so hard to choose.

I’ve been doing this challenge for 10 weeks, and have become a face known to several of the vendors – mostly of the veggie ilk. I love my veg! But farmers’ markets aren’t just produce. There’s meats, baked goods, prepared foods, beverages, even high-end crafts.

It’s those vendors that have mostly eluded my attention.

It was time to go out of my comfort zone – pierogi style!

To be honest, pierogies aren’t that new to me. Coming from a family with a Russian background, pierogies and borscht were prominent features on the weekly menus. But as I grew older, and more health conscious, I started sneering more at the unhealthy components of those crescent-shaped dumplings than longing for their taste.

Can you blame me? My history of them involved smothering them in sour cream and butter!

But, after walking past the Old Country Pierogi table several times over the last few weeks, I started to wonder, are they really that unhealthy? Could I find a balance between their yummy goodness and my desires for being on the up and up with good nutrition?

I was determined to find out.

I had initially wanted a more risqué flavour, like the spinach and feta, but with a four-year-old in mind, we ended up with the potato and cheese. We boiled and baked them instead of sautéing in a vat of oil. The first two bites I took were as is, no topping.

They were dry.

Too dry.

And so, with a salivating mouth, and no other options coming to mind, melted butter was poured on top.


In hindsight, a dollop of salsa, or balsamic vinegar, or whipped avocado would have been great healthy toppings.

The $9 bag contained 12 HUGE pierogies. Did I mention they were huge? They were huge! I thought I would have five; I was full by the last bite of the fourth. My son had two, exclaiming their yumminess with every bite, and my husband had six.

Besides the butter, they were a hit.

This week’s loot:

Old Country Pierogi:

  • 12 cheese and potato pierogies: $9

Zaklan Heritage Farm:

  • 1 head of lettuce: $3
  • 1 bunch dandelion stems: $3
  • 1 garlic bulb: $1.70
  • 1 bunch cilantro: $2
  • 4 roma tomatoes: $2.50

Ripple Creek Organics:

  • 2 cucumbers: $2.50

Harvest Direct Farms:

  • 4 jumbo Jonagold apples: $5

Fresh Quality Produce:

  • 1 zucchini: $1
  • 2 corn: $1

Bread Affair:

  • 1 baguette: $4

Muy Rico:

  • 1 pico de gallo: $5

Total spent was $39.70, leaving 30 cents extra for next week.

Bruschetta made from this week’s market tomatoes, garlic, and baguette.
Bruschetta made from this week’s market tomatoes, garlic, and baguette.

Also new to us this week was the discovery of dandelion greens.

As soon as I saw the dandelion greens mixed in with the mustard greens under the Zaklan tent, I was intrigued. (Odd factoid about me, I am one of the few in this world that love dandelions as a flower; they’re the only flowers I don’t kill!) Owner Gemma McNeil suggested we mix them with an anchovie-based dressing, but I’m not one for caesar salads, so I mixed them with the other greens and drizzled lemon on top.

The taste was strong and bitter. I tried them again the next day with an apple-cider, oil-based vinegar dressing that was much more effective in tempering the bitter. But overall, my husband’s assessment was perfect: they’re nowhere near as good as mustard greens.

You win some, you lose some.

The challenges series.