Building Community thru Local Food – Fast Affordable Farmers Market Meals

We sometimes hear complaints from people that don’t shop at farmer’s markets that they are too expensive, or that they don’t have time to prepare dinner. For the same price as a couple of fast food meals, you can put together a nutritious and delicious meal for a family of four. If you were at our opening day market you may have seen Chef Fred Soofi create a meal from a variety of vendor supplied foods.

You can do the same thing, and at the same time engage the rest of your family or some friends in the preparation of a great meal. You can use the recipe below from the Dieticians of Canada. Just substitute any vegetables that are not in season with something else you find from our vast array of vendors. We have vendors that sell regular home-made pastas or gluten-free varieties. You can add protein including beef, fish, or chicken. And there are cheeses, baked goods, and a variety of condiments and spices to add some flavour. If you are short on time, consider frying or woking your vegetables.

Roasted vegetables pasta

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Roasting vegetables brings out deep, rich color and flavor. Add the nutty taste of whole wheat pasta, the sweetness of fresh basil and a hint of salt from the Parmesan, and this recipe will please your whole palate.

  • Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C)
  • Rimmed baking sheet, lightly greased
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled 6
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided 60 mL
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar 45 mL
1⁄2 tsp freshly ground black pepper 2 mL
Pinch salt Pinch
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1⁄2-inch (1 cm) pieces 1
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1⁄2-inch (1 cm) pieces 1
1 onion, cut into 1⁄2-inch (1 cm) pieces 1
3 cups cubed butternut squash (1⁄2-inch/1 cm cubes) 750 mL
2 cups eggplant (unpeeled), cut into 1⁄2-inch (1 cm) pieces 500 mL
2 cups chopped asparagus (1⁄2-inch/1 cm pieces) 500 mL
12 oz whole wheat penne pasta 375 g
4 tomatoes, seeded and diced 4
3⁄4 cup lightly packed coarsely chopped fresh basil 175 mL
1⁄3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 75 mL
  1. Cut the tip off the top of the garlic cloves. Place on a small piece of foil and drizzle with 1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) oil. Scrunch to enclose garlic in foil. Roast in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven, leaving oven on, and let cool slightly. Squeeze garlic from skins, discarding skins; coarsely chop garlic and place in a small bowl. Whisk in vinegar, 21⁄2 tbsp (37 mL) oil, pepper and salt; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss red pepper, yellow pepper, onion, squash and eggplant with 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil. Spread vegetables on prepared baking sheet. Roast on upper rack of oven, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes or until almost tender.
  3. In a small bowl, toss asparagus with the remaining oil. Add asparagus to baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender and lightly browned.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain, reserving 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) of the cooking liquid.
  5. Transfer drained pasta to a large serving bowl and toss with the reserved cooking liquid. Add roasted vegetables, tomatoes, basil and roasted garlic mixture; toss well to combine. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Serve hot or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours (let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before serving).


Cutting all the vegetables to the same size ensures that they will cook evenly.
Serve with grilled vegetarian sausage to add protein to this meal.

Nutrients per serving

Calories 313
Fat 9.2 g
Saturated Fat 1.8 g
Sodium 249 mg (10% DV)
Carbohydrate 52 g
Fiber 7 g (28% DV)
Protein 11 g
Calcum 126 mg (11% DV)
Iron 2.6 mg (19% DV)

Diabetes Food Choice Values Per Serving:
2 1/2 Carbohydrate
2 Fats



Growing Local Food – Farmers’ and Gardeners’ Best Friends

Insect Pollinators InitiativeWhen we talk about growing local food, we should keep in mind the important role that pollinators play in our food system. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, honeybee pollination in B.C. is responsible for over $200 million per year in agricultural production. While the honeybee is the most famous pollinator, there are over 450 species of bees in BC. Other pollinators include hummingbirds, butterflies, flies, beetles, and wasps. How can we protect these creatures that are so important to our local crops?

There are several things that are impacting the health of pollinators including pesticide use, climate change and severe weather events, disappearing habit, viruses, and the Varroa mite. Honeybees can also be subjected to the stress of long journeys as they are transported for crop pollination. The 800,000 acres California almond crop requires the transportation of bees from over 26 U.S. states. Local beekeepers can only supply a third of the required pollinators. The impact of large tracts of monoculture can have a significant impact on honeybee mortality rates.

The Lower Mainland region depends heavily on the health of pollinators for many of our food crops. The region is the primary berry growing area in BC and approximately 90% of the blueberries, cranberries, and raspberries are pollinated by honeybees. With over 20,000 acres of blueberry crops grown locally, honeybees are an important part of our food system. Follow this link to “my Garden footprint.” for more  information on the threats to our pollinators and measures that you can take to help.

What to Plant in Your Garden

SFU Professor, Elizabeth Elle offers the following advice for making your home pollinator-friendly.

“To make your garden a refuge for pollinators, you should aim for the following:

  • Long bloom times (early spring is especially important!)
  • Lots of variation in shape, size, and colour–this attracts lots of variation in pollinators
  • Large patches of each kind of flowering plant–about a square meter of each, if you have space
  • No pesticides, of course!  And we encourage you to be forgiving of some ‘weeds’ like clover and dandelions

Consider nest sites:  bee condos, places ground nesters can use, and plants with hollow stems.”

If you follow this advice you will be creating a safe environment for these creatures to thrive. This will help increase the yield of the plants in your garden and tree fruits in your neighbourhood.