Wonderful weekend vegan meandering

I had to work during my last long weekend, so I have been looking forward to this one since then!  Now that the warm weather is finally here, it was time to visit farmer’s markets, spend time outside, and take advantage of the vegan-ness that Ottawa has on offer.

Saturday morning I hauled my butt out of bed obscenely early to visit the latest vegan sensation, Grow Your Roots, which is operating out of the Carp Farmer’s Market this season.  It’s the work of this lovely lady, Melanie.

Melanie from Grow Your Roots.

Melanie from Grow Your Roots. Not exactly a sickly vegan!

I met Melanie a few years ago when she attended an NCVA event. Now, she’s doing Grow Your Roots as a dry run for what she hopes will eventually become a restaurant venture. For now, she’s at the Carp market on Saturday between 8 am and 1 pm.

Grow Your Roots focuses on vegan comfort food. It’s not food that’s free of everything, but it’s definitely free of animal ingredients.  Melanie’s pride and joy is her deep fried avocado, and as someone who ate half an order I can vouch for it being quite spectacular. She also makes her own vegan sausages (I had one for dinner tonight and it was very good!), donuts (need I say more?) and various other delights.

Grow Your Roots menu

Grow Your Roots menu

My next stop was the Main Farmer’s Market on Main Street. It exists in its own veritable veggie kingdom, with the Green Door across the street, as well as the Green Door Grocer. This is where the Compassionate Rabbit girls are usually selling their vegan cupcakes, but I didn’t see them there this Saturday. It is also where you will find vegan farmers Jim and Gen of Notre Petite Ferme.

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There’s something extra special about buying your veggies from vegan farmers. Jim and Gen wear it loud and proud, and I’ve been visiting them there for a few years now. I can always count on them to give me the low-down on what’s new and vegan at the market. On Saturday I was there to buy my seedlings for my own garden from them. They’re one of the few places I’ve been able to find kale transplants!  The prices are reasonable, and the plants (and everything they grow!) are certified organic. They’ll have those for sale for the next month or so.  They also do a home delivery box (CSA) but to be totally honest I’m too terrified of getting a box full of beets (yuck!) that I have yet to make the commitment.

Sunday’s highlight included a visit to the new Cafe My House.  I am still not totally over CMH moving from being practically in my backyard, over to Hintonburg, the land of all things vegan (that strip of Wellington also includes terra20, Strawberry Blonde, SimplyRaw Express, Flock, several Bridgeheads and Herb and Spice!)  I was so attached to CMH’s old location that I had my wedding reception there.  Here we are:

Just married!

Just married!

I still feel a bit like I’m seeing an ex-boyfriend who broke up with me when I see the new location.  I know, time to get over it!!  So Yves and I went for a visit today, to do just that.  I ate one of their amazing coconut bacon waffle sandwiches and was full all afternoon, which almost never happens for me. The highlight though, was seeing this on my receipt:

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haha! Check out the NCVA discount line!

I love it! If you aren’t a NCVA member yet, what are you waiting for? There are great discounts at most of the best places in town, including Auntie Loo’s, SimplyRaw Express, The Table, ZenKitchen, Cafe My House, terra20 and more.

But the best thing about this weekend for me was meeting this dog at the Sit With Me event that we put on at terra20. She had literally been sprung from the shelter only an hour or two earlier. She licked me all over my face, and everyone else too, she was so absolutely thrilled to be alive. I feel so lucky to have been among the first people she saw during her taste of freedom.  Please adopt, don’t shop!

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