roasted farmer's market vegetable salad: aka - simple sexy summer salad from surrounding soils.

I arrived at my auntie Jen's door yesterday to find a box of fresh goodness waiting for me. She's heading off to her other house in the land of Nova full of Scotians, so she was passing along the produce she wouldn't use before she left to her oh-so-loving-and-adoring goddaughter.
My godmother is a marvelous woman. So strong, funny and wise. I don't know what I would do without her. She is a community health nurse in the Richmond area who has a strong interest in community gardens and local agriculture. She receives a box weekly filled with local in-season goodies from a garden right in the city. It's interesting that there are these pockets of agriculture woven throughout the cement structures of urban life - it's quite beautiful really. There is a lovely little community garden down on Davie Street - it makes me smile every time I walk by.
Look at the colours, smell the earthyness, feel the sharp crunch in your teeth - oh the loveliness of fresh produce. Even the little clumps of dirt add some character to bulbous garlic and strong lines of chard. Carrots gain even more texture and look less manufactured that those clean tubers you find in florescent-lit grocery stores.Only the simplest of dressings need to accompany vegetables such as this, for they have their own strong flavors all on their own.
There are a number of farmer's markets that are easily accessible in our hip-yet-hippyish city. is a great website for looking up the different locations. Personally, I think I will meander over to the Main Street Station one after work next Wednesday - just hop on the skytrain and hop off at one of my favorite buildings in all of Vancouver - the old railway station.

A farmer's market hearkens back to earlier, simpler times. It is the traditional way of selling produce and home-made products. They also seem to contain a concentrated view of the local culture of an area or city. Whether in Cairo or Vancouver, the folkways of the local people is evident to those strolling through crowded stalls. Wherever you travel to, always be sure to go to the local market. Absorb the colours, intermingling smells, accents of those around you, and freshness of the goods - no matter what, it will always make your day not only brighter, but also more organic (in more ways than one). 
Roasted Farmer's Market Vegetable Salad
(Note - I was too lazy to roast the veggies that you see in the photo - I steamed them instead - but you really should, makes it that much better.)

2 medium sized beets, cubed (if you can get one yellow and one red, even better than two reds!)
2 medium turnips, cubed (compared to the monstrosities in the grocery store, these could be termed 'small')
handful of mushrooms, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbs. olive oil
good sea salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste

1/2 head of lettuce, chopped
1 med. tomato
1/2 avocado

1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tbs. sherry vinegar (or any other kind of vinegar, or even balsalmic)
good sea salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Toss roasting veggies (onion, turnips, mushrooms, beets) with olive oil. Throw into a glass baking pan and cover with tinfoil. Roast for about 30 mins. Remove tinfoil, roast for 15 more, or until caramelized, stirring once. Remove.

2. Toss all veggies together. Blend together the olive oil, garlic, sherry vinegar, salt and pepper. Drizzle over the veggies. Toss again.

3. Pray. Eat. Enjoy. Go to a local farmer's market.