Sunday, April 22, 2007

not belleville, Belle Ville

One of the reasons I love living here so so very much is the choice. It's not insurmountable to choose between options of workplace, clothing and food if you are not satisfied with what there is immediately to offer. You don't have to drive forever to get somewhere else and the selection is amazing.

To that end, and because I've been such a downer lately, I feel it necessary to wax poetic about our local markets. There are four major ones in the city, (one desperately close to chez moi!) where you can buy local produce, flowers and meat. That's right, meat. If like me, you don't agree with agribusiness practices both humanistic and environmental, but you're not at all willing to go vegetarian, I strongly suggest the local market. It is this way that not only can you be sure that your money isn't going into some meat-marketing conglomerate that I swear is working with the fashion industry to convince us meat is sexy, but more importantly, you can meet the farmer.

Don't get me wrong, you're not going to run into a rancher that hustles his own cattle and butchers the meat himself. Most modern farms are replete with equipment, clean rooms and websites, but it's smaller and more accessible. Before it becomes meat, the live cattle can actually roam around, eat grains not necessarily made from other cattle or sheep, and enjoy the view of other cows, they can get clean. Cows are not my favourite creatures. They smell funny, they trigger my allergies and frankly are not cute. I still don't feel they need to be kept in concrete pens and piled on top of each other when they're killed just so I can have a hamburger. I really want that hamburger though, I love barbecuing and I make a kickass spring lamb stew.

I feel strongly about supporting local business and since Quebec pork is known as some of the best worldwide, where better to get it than here? There is an anti-protectionist streak in me that twinges a little when I discuss this, but I can drown it out with a smoked-meat sandwich. I like the fact that the meat I'm buying hasn't spent weeks getting here. I like the fact that I can ask how the meat is packaged and choose something else if I'm not happy unlike at the grocery store where it's all basically the same dyed-red meat wrapped in ugly plastic, graying at the edges.

It's spring in the city and Walmart is opening a traffic-inducing, labour-intensive, union-busting super-centre in Vaudreuil shortly, so I'm promotonizing as much as possible. Buy local, get out of the house and walk around the beautiful architecture, meet local florists and gardeners, get acquainted with the cheese and dairy merchants. All of these places have pre-made meals just like the grocery store, sans grubbies and those pesky human rights questions floating around.

I promise you, as someone who has sampled each, this meat tastes better, comes from a more pleasant shopping experience and won't cost you any gas to get.


Craig Sauvé said...

I echo your sentiments. The Jean-Talon market is effectively my backyard. Let me tell you local residents appreciate it to the millionth degree. It is the crown jewel of the neighbourhood.

And cows are too cute!

Freshwater Mermaid said...

Oh Mr. Suave, I must correct you. Cows are not cute. What they are is delicious! Also quite wearable, as long as the leather and chops have come from a free-roaming, non-cannibal happy animal that has never seen concrete in it's life.

cute, pheu!