As a child I loved winter. Winter was everything to me. Never complained about the cold, about the snow. We used to play all day long, vehemently denying that it was so cold and we got so wet that we could not feel our hands anymore. The only thing that could get me into the house on a perfect snow day was a good dose of classic cartoons. That and some warming food or drink to keep the energy going. I chose to embrace winter with everything it had to offer. Endless days of ice-skating, making snowmen, steaming mugs of hot chocolate, this is what I remember. Time went by very slowly (in a good way) and I was convinced that everyone had it as good as me. I would have also bet my bottom dollar that all my friends from back than would be my friends forever. And nothing would ever change.
Than one day I found myself at the shoe store looking for boots that don't have slippery soles. That's when I realized things have changed. Even though my daily cartoon dosage was not limited to two anymore, I could stay up as long as I wanted and yes, I could finally have chocolate for breakfast, I felt like I lost something forever.
Nowadays I'm trying hard to look at the world with a child's eyes, even when it's -20 outside, and it's slippery, windy, slushy and miserable.That's where the food comes in. Memories of hot mint tea, warm baked potatoes, steaming bowls of hot soup, aromatic baked squash, they all help when you're trying hard for a different perspective on things.
Saturday morning I decided to finally check out the Wychwood Barns farmers market. Not knowing much about it, I was almost too late, getting there right before they closed. This wonderful new project on the Toronto foodie and cultural scene is so much more than a farmers market. The space used to be an old streetcar repair barn. Now it's home to artist's studios, a farmers market, a greenhouse and 12 not-for-profit environmental and cultural organizations.
The Green Barn is operated by The Stop Community Food Center. The Green Barn will operate a sheltered garden, and outdoor bake oven and a compost demonstration site. It's a great place that strives to increase access to healthy, culturally appropriate food while building community and challenging inequality. To find out more, donate or to volunteer please click here.
On Saturdays this farmers market is the place to go if you're looking for delicious, seasonal local food and produce. You can buy everything from organic squash, cabbage, carrots, apples, sauerkraut, honey, the freshest, most delicious smoked white fish from the Georgian Bay to ready made goods, like empanadas, fresh artisanal bread, hot chocolate and more.To find out more about Wychwood Barns click here.
I bought some squash, honey and smoked fish and hurried home because this was going to be a perfect winter's day.
Baked Pepper Squash with brown sugar and cinnamon
1 pepper squash
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350F. Cut squash in two and clean out both cavities. Melt butter. Add sugar and cinnamon to melted butter. Mix well. Cut each squash half in two. Brush with half of the melted butter mixture. Bake covered with foil for 30 minutes. Take off foil and bake uncovered for 25 to 30 more minutes, basting with remaining melted butter.