Just when I thought I had half-failed on my goal for this month’s CFEP post, I received a phone call from the local producer I had set my sights on writing about this month, literally minutes after I posted my entry. Fortuitously, this month’s partial failure turned into a double treat.
Two years ago, I met a wonderful, passionate lady at the Maxville Farmer’s Market, named Anne. She had a large table of gorgeous, colourful and unique produce and it immediately caught my eye. After a lovely conversation with her, learning that many of her vegetables were grown without chemicals, I was even more impressed. Anne’s beautiful spirit and colourful cornucopia drew me in, and taste was the clincher – my son Elijah approved too. I quickly decided Anne would be the local grower I’d be buying the majority of my produce from throughout the summer.
Anne Cadotte and her husband Gilles moved to North Glengarry in 1978, where they first began their business of raising game birds and bees. They decided to make a change some time later, and Anne began to focus on growing fresh herbs and vegetables. Her desire was to build a business on the premise of offering unique and high quality produce to her customers. For a number of years, Anne ran a stand in the Byward Market of Ottawa. In order to compete with so many other producers selling their wares, she had to be different. She quickly realized that anything being sold by others that was indeed unique was being imported, so she set out to experiment with growing non-traditional vegetables. Fifteen years ago, Anne was the first to bring zucchini and sweet coloured peppers to the Byward Market – a pioneer in expanding the palates of Ottawa residents! She educated those that visited her stand about the sustainable growing process and about the vegetables she could access.
As she grew her loyal clientele, they would look to her for new and exciting products. She even had international clients who, when visiting from abroad, would bring her seeds for her to try out in Canada. This experimentation with new seeds takes great patience and faith, but Anne certainly feels the results are worth her labour.
Anne no longer travels to the Byward Market, but instead visits many of the small-town markets closer to home, in and around the areas East of Ottawa.
Anne tries to use less and less pesticides and herbicides in her work, seeking non-chemical techniques like transplantation. This often leads to more work going into her crops, which further evidences her commitment to high quality, healthful crops.
Amongst her stunning selection, you will find:
• Edamame soy beans
• Shishito peppers
• Padron peppers
• D’espelet peppers
• Charentais melon
• Pink garlic
• Cranberry beans (a personal favourite of mine which bring back great memories of shelling in my grandmother’s backyard and her delicious soup)
• Red and white endive
• Heirloom tomatoes
• Oyster mushroom culture/bags
I asked Anne to share a favourite recipe with me. Not surprisingly, she told me that her most favourite meals are simple ones that highlight the natural characteristics of the produce. She enthusiastically described the way she and Gilles enjoy their gorgeous, multi-coloured heirloom tomatoes, accompanied by freshly made herb pesto. She declared that when you have fresh, tasty vegetables picked when they are truly ripe, and gorgeous herbs right out of the garden, the ingredients and their natural flavours speak for themselves.
Anne has been successful in meeting her objective of providing unique and superior produce, and her customer-centered focus inspires me to go back to her time and again. But only by meeting her in person, will you have the full experience of her enthusiasm and warm spirit. You can find her at one market or another on most days during the growing season; for example Friday afternoons in Maxville and Saturdays in Alexandria.
(photo courtesy of http://www.savourezottawa.ca )