Saturday, April 6, 2013

Markets, in the mood to shop and workout

You could be forgiven for thinking I was a bit cranky yesterday. That's ok. I wasn't, not really. I did have that glass of wine, and watched the new Sherlock, A Scandal in Belgravia, with the comments turned on. Usually in these the movie soundtrack is still audible, but it was all a bit muddied. Still interesting. This is my favourite episode of the six, and I can't wait for the next three. "Rat. Wedding. Bow." PBS, Fall 2013.

My old swim flip flops are really old, almost 30 years old. The soles will go forever, though they are starting to show wear. Actual wear, on flip flops only worn back and forth to the pool. The top fabric has been coming apart for a while now, leaving flecks of bright red plastic stuck to my feet. I just about had heart failure the first time I saw that. I saw these cool flip flops on sale at Tri It and had to have them.

We also wanted to check out some changes to the Crossroads market. Given the exact time we left home, we started at La Boulangerie. I had a crepe that was as light as air, filling, and very yummy. Crepes aren't even my favourite thing. Their food is wonderful. As we ate the place filled up, and up, and no surprise there. I mean, look at this:

Then it was off to Crossroads. Which is just off Blackfoot Trail, but it's not called the Blackfoot Market, and neither is the Calgary Farmer's Market, which is also just off Blackfoot. The actual Blackfoot market is well off Blackfoot and is outdoor only. It's called the Crossroads because it used to be next to the Crossroads Hotel on 16th Ave, which hotel is now called something else. 16th Ave is still 16th Ave, except where people call it the Trans Canada Highway.

I hope you're all still with me. Life in Calgary is complicated sometimes what with all the change. It's a happening kind of city. Back to the Crossroads. I've never liked it much. There is a chunk of it that is second hand sales that look like a seedy flea market. That's still there, seedy as ever. But the majority of it has been brightened up, with new vendor signs. This is really quite nice. The honey place is the best in the city, and the fruit and produce market is very good. Some of the food vendors are very good too. There are some wonderful smells walking through. Linda is a bigger fan of the market than I am, but she's been there lots more.

Then it was off to Try It. I was actually in the mood to shop, and buy, which is rarer than hen's teeth. Got the flip flops, some swim paddles, and some speed laces. Looked for run shorts, but all they had were a medium women's, and my butt is never going to fit into those. They looked nice though. They are expecting to get a lot of stuff in soon, as they sell off existing stock. As always, the staff are friendly and helpful.

Then to Calgary market for bison. The truck was a bit late, so we had to hang out a bit. Which is SOOO painful to do there. I got a smoothie with peanut butter, banana, a hint of chocolate, and maybe some other stuff. Tres yummy. Linda had a mango smoothie, which I don't normally care for, but it was really good. These were from the smoothie place at the far south end. The bison eventually arrived.

I love hanging out at that market. I'm not sure why, but the vibe is perfect for me. Everything we've ever bought there has been good, at the very least. Regular readers will know I rave about Yum Bakery, Olson's High Country Bison, Big D's, both coffee places, Simple Simon Pies, the fish place, Chokolat, Knifewear, the Cherry Pit, and several others that I know where they are and what they sell, but can't recall their names at the moment.

Back home I lounged around being lazy, watching video on the iPad. Then playing with Trello to start organizing the front yard work that needs to be done. Needs very badly to be done, and has needed for a little while.
The little cards can be sorted, filtered, searched, and moved around into different lists. Tap them, and on the back you can get further description, a checklist, and attached documents. You can tell from the little icons what's on the back. I don't need the functionality, but you can use it to collaborate with other people. You can create your own work flow lists, but To Do, Doing, and Done are the default. Kind of fun to play with.

After a while I got up the ambition to get on my bike, and had a pretty good ride. Nice warm up, then pedaling moderately strongly, at a good cadence. No squeaks or complaints from my legs. They felt fairly strong and smooth. The only thing they didn't like was standing up, and even that's not nearly as bad as it was. On the bike a bit over 45 minutes.

Then onto the mat to roll my calf especially on the ball, and other parts of my legs. Core, including plankaday for 95 seconds. A pretty good day, even if it is kind of foggy and freezing drizzle out.

Back to Olson's. You might be wondering why I linked that, and not the others. The others are good, don't get me wrong. One of the reasons we like shopping at the farmer's markets is the quality of the products. End of story. The food tastes better. Bison and lamb is pretty well the only red meat we eat now, and Olson's is where the bison come from. Here's a link to nutrition info about bison, which is one reason why we're eating it, rather than beef. Bison burger is $20 per Kg, or just over $9 per pound for those that still think in an archaic system. Maybe some people think that is expensive.

Go ahead, buy cheap meat that has been shot up with antibiotics, growth hormones, and fed who knows what, slaughtered by the thousand with chancy sanitation, and eat that. Feed it to your kids. Try not to think about the XL beef recall last year, the largest in Canadian history. Try not to think about the Harper government cutting back on funding for food inspection. The next recall could be bigger, or arrive too late for your child.

As long as people continue to make their buying decisions based on price and nothing else, our system will continue a race to the bottom. The winner will be the producers who can best cut corners and shave costs. That means lead and cadmium in toys for children. Poisonous products in pet food and powdered milk. All to save a few cents. When they go pointing the finger to find fault, one of the little fingers points at you, the consumer who shops at Walmart because it's cheap.

Capitalism was about the mix of cost and quality. The theory is that consumers will be offered a mix of products at varying prices and quality. Some will prefer lower prices and lower quality. Others will prefer higher prices and quality. The two are linked. But everybody wants a bargain now, and expect everything to be on sale, or at a lower price than last year. Then they wonder why products don't last very long.

Then they wonder why their children and pets are getting sick. It's directly related to what you feed them.

Get it together people. I'm happy to pay the people that produce good food. I want them to stay in business so I can eat good healthy food. The only way that will happen is to buy from them. So I'm happy to see busy farmer's markets, and try to encourage people to shop there.

Here's a list of the local markets. Some are seasonal and outdoors. Try them out and see which you like best, and support the people growing real food. Look for you at the market one day!

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