The market was absolutely bumping last weekend! We are in full peach season, a wicked amount of veggies are in rotation, and there is no shortage of yummy treats being offered from so many great vendors.

I was really excited to snag some unusual finds at Spectrum Farms. These vendors offer up tasty baked goods, and a large variety of produce. Immediately their purple cauliflower caught my eye. The darker coloured cauliflower looks like a “designer vegetable” but it’s actually grown because of the functional pigment in the vegetable. The hot and smoky summers we’ve been experiencing in recent years make for really difficult growing conditions, especially for light coloured produce like cauliflower. Growing cauliflower with extra pigment allows it to resist burning and shrivelling up from heat and smoke.

In addition to its striking appearance, this purple cauliflower packs a little extra nutritional punch. As is, cauliflower is a great source of fibre and B-vitamins. Having extra anthocyanin in the plant lends vibrant purple colours and loads of antioxidants. Spectrum Farms also had some orange cauliflower which similarly contains the plant pigment beta-carotene. Both varieties taste like typical white cauliflower, and can be used in cooked dishes or snacked on raw.

While I was browsing the cauliflower selection I also noticed a few pints of goji berries in their display. Goji berries are often sold in their dried form, and can be used in place of raisins or any other dried fruits. Historically goji berries have been used in ancient medicine to treat eye, kidney, and liver diseases. Moving into modern medicine and nutrition, goji berries make for a great snack to boost energy, immunity, and healthy digestion. They are also unusually high in protein for a fruit, containing all 8 essential amino acids. The fresh berries are yummy to snack on by themselves, but could also be added into smoothies, yogurt or other dishes that might typically use berries. The berries could also be cooked into a sauce to pair with meats or vegetables in savoury dishes. The high levels of Vitamin C in goji berries can actually aid in the metabolism of iron, so using these berries in meat dishes, will allow your body to optimize this vitamin-mineral pairing.

I love seeing local producers try out new growing strategies to bring something different to the market. I also love hearing about people’s culinary adventures with new ingredients! Looking forward to seeing what else Spectrum Farms will be up to this harvest season.

In Good Food,

Reede Hawton

Nutrition Rep