Saturday, 11 April 2015

Better Than Your Nan's: Inspiration, Passion and Delicious Taste!

Ashlee will be a new vendor at our market this year, making wonderful mueslis, lemon muesli bars, nut butters, fruit spreads and seedy crackers. In this blog post, she shares her passion and her knowledge of healthy eating. In one month, you'll be able to try her products for yourself!

Natural. Healthy. Delicious. Those are three most important things for me when it comes to deciding what food to put in my body. 

Having a deep interest in vegan and vegetarian cooking, as well as a passion for healthy eating, I started to develop a few different recipes for vegan friendly muesli, jams, nut butters, crackers, and muesli bars. I found it hard to find good quality products in grocery stores that didn’t have an outrageous amount of refined sugar or unnatural ingredients so I thought, why not try my hand at making them myself! After a lot of trial and error, I feel like I’ve developed a lot of really tasty, natural food products that people can feel good about eating.

A lot of my products contain different seeds, such as chia seeds in the jams and crackers. Chia seeds are high in iron, folate, calcium, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fibre, making them what some would say is a ‘superfood’! Since I didn’t want to use any pectin or gelatine, after a bit of research I discovered that soaking chia seeds creates a gelatine like substance. Not only does that have the same affect as gelatine or pectin, but it is also a very healthy alternative. 

My ‘Bird’s Seed’ Muesli contains a couple of different types of seeds as well as oats so it’s great energy food to start your day with. My older brother has made fun of me for calling it ‘Bird’s Seed’ but I once heard a woman say, regarding eating seeds like a bird, ‘Have you ever seen a tired bird? I rest my case’. 

I should also mention that I do have an addiction. An addiction to nuts. Almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, and the list goes on. I also love toastand the combination of my love for those two things has brought me to invest some serious time in creating the most delicious of nut butters. The nice thing about my nut butters, is that I dont use any oils. Nuts produce a lot of natural oil once you start the process of turning it into a butter so any extra oils are not necessary. I think its natures way of telling me to eat more nuts. ;)

A common thing I hear when people are looking for granolas/muesli, granola/muesli bars, nut butters, or jams, is that they can never find products that dont have a lot of refined sugars in them. Sugar intake is a huge problem in our culture, especially when we are using refined or artificial sweeteners. My goal with my products is to only use small amounts of natural sweeteners that were also vegan. Thats why in my ingredients lists, you will only find maple syrup or agave nectar being used. Maple syrup has an abundance of trace minerals that are essential to good nutrition: potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, iron, zinc, copper and tin, as well as calcium in concentrations 15 times higher than honey! Agave nectar is also a great natural sweetener to use since it is low on the glycemic scalemaking it not only a nice option for vegans, but also anyone who is watching their sugar intake. 

Becoming part of the Southwest Edmonton Farmers market is a super exciting thing for me. Not only has it been my favourite market to go to in Edmonton but this will also be my first market and I cant wait to be a part of this wonderful little community! Im a big believer in supporting local (growing up in a farming family from Saskatchewan teaches you how important that is!) and cant wait to meet with and be around people who feel the same. Im very much looking forward to this and hope to see you all the farmers market! Please come by and try some samples and say hello!

SWEFM Guest Blogger-Ashlee Roger

Better Than Your Nans

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Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Meet our New Market Manager for the 2015 Season

Our Market Manager for the 2015 season is Diana Kennedy!

Diana is our new Market Manager for the 2015 Season.   She comes to SWEFM with extensive management experience from a not-for-profit arts organization within a healthcare setting.  Last summer she was a first-time vendor at SWEFM as The Plot selling produce and processed items such as wine jelly and antipasto.

A farm-girl at heart and avid agri-tourist, Diana’s interests range from gardening, urban farming, supporting locally produced food and products.  She is also very knowledgeable and interested in allergy-aware cooking and baking and canning due to food allergies between both herself and her husband.   She also enjoys travelling to the Okanagan Valley as a result, developed a passion for wine.

Over the past year Diana has been learning more about wine & spirits and she currently holds the Level 2 Intermediate Certificate with the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) based out of London UK. She plans to take Level 3 next year and might take the Level 4 Diploma in the future.  Diana also works part-time on weekends at a local wine store.  So if you ever need suggestions for wine, please be sure to ask her!

Please join us in giving her a warm welcome to our market. If you would like to contact her, she can be reached by email at and by cell phone at (780) 868-9210, Twitter @dmykennedy or connect with her on Linkedin