My favourite thing about the farmers market, bar none, is the end of market barters.
The markets are exhausting for me, I start my day at midnight and usually get home around 4 in the afternoon. But last week I brought home a box of cherry tomatoes, a bag of new potatoes, the prettiest little zucchinis, a bison steak, a bunch of carrots, two bunches of beets, and some show stopping sunflowers. And there are few better ways to motivate me through a long market than a promise of produce at the end.
I love it for the obvious reason- delicious local treats- but also because it gets me talking to people at the markets that maybe I wouldn’t normally, or who set up too far away from me than I don’t end up seeing them. And my favourite example of this is the exceptionally lovely Jess, who runs the markets for Urban Digs.
Urban Digs is pretty magical place by the sounds of it- it was started by a couple, Julie and Lugo who raised some hogs, and since opening they’ve expanded to a new farm not too far from the city, and they sell bison, beef, lamb, and chicken from other organic free range farms that they’ve partnered with. I can tell you unequivolcally that it’s really good meat.
So when Jess told me a couple weeks ago that I should try their ground bacon I was super intrigued. It should surprise no one that I put it in pasta.
But before I did that I cooked down a slew of leeks with white wine and lemon and garlic, and after I sautéed the ground bacon I added in some spinach and a wack of parsley. It’s bright and zippy, and has the most sparkly bits of smokey pork woven through it.
You can get Urban Digs meats at the Farmers Markets, but you can also buy a huge selection of things online. AND if you use the code “liviasweets5” you’ll get $5 off your purchase, which is pretty wonderful if you ask me.
Almost as wonderful as this pasta. xo
Pasta with Ground Bacon, leeks and spinach
3 Large Leeks, cut in half lengthwise and then cut into slivers
1 bunch Spinach, cut into ½ inch thick slivers
2 cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp Chilis (optional)
Zest and Juice of 1 Lemon
½ cup White Wine
Handful of Parlsey, finely chopped.
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 lb Ground Bacon
Salt to taste
Parmesan to the top.
Warm a large sauté pan over medium heat.
Add in the bacon and stir until it’s cooked throughout and has browned a little.
Pour the bacon into a dish and rinse out the pan. I found mine gave off very little fat, but if yours does you can strain it if you’d like.
Warm the pan again over medium heat, this time add the oil.
Add in the leeks- I added in about half of mine, let them wilt a bit, then added in the rest, even in my huge sauté pan, and that’s okay if you do too.
Once they’ve all wilted add in the wine, a pinch of salt, chilis, the lemon zest and juice, and the bacon. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the leeks get silky in texture.
Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
Just before the pasta is fully cooked, add the spinach and parsley into the leeks so they begin to wilt.
Strain the pasta and toss it into the leek mixture. Season to taste and serve immediately, with a heavy portion of parmesan.