Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Paradise in a Parking Lot

A couple of years ago, a gentleman I'd only known online visited Ottawa from Tennessee. He stayed on the Quebec side in the hotel across the street from the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

I was not able to get time off work, and so I trudged from downtown to his hotel, going around the Parliament Buildings and across the bridge to Gatineau. As I was doing so, it struck me that there's a lot of this town that's right at my fingertips but that I don't take advantage of. I'm sure that's true for a number of people; in fact I recall my father-in-law saying that very thing when we visited Calgary (where he resides) in 1998.

I've kept that little reminder in the back of my mind for some time and I'll occasionally apply it. I'll go read on the steps of Parliament on lunch breaks, for example.

It popped into my head again recently as Christine and I started our vacation. I saw an article in a magazine about the Ottawa Farmer's Market (from which the title of this post came) held at Lansdowne Park every Sunday morning. Doesn't sound like much, I'm sure, but it's a nice little area, as is the Byward Market. So why not take advantage of it?

We weren't able to go to the Farmer's Market either of the past two Sundays, so we instead hit the Byward Market yesterday. Oh man.

I recall that the previously-mentioned father-in-law would always come back from that place pleased. I never really understood the big deal. I do now, particularly since I try to whenever possible to eat locally.

We came home with raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, peppers, nectarines, zucchini, carrots, onions...All told we probably spent about $20. And of course the freshness can't be beat.

So we're making this a habit now. The plan is to hit the one at Lansdowne on Sunday for the sake of comparison but unless its level of quality is far superior (or inferior, I guess) we'll probably jump back and forth between them every week or two. I'd recommend it for anyone in their respective neighborhood. I doubt you'll be disappointed.

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