I am eating an apple right now. It’s the apple that you look forward to all year long.  It’s crisp, and a little sour and tastes like it might have just been picked off the tree.

Last year, I was whining about how it was late summer/fall, the time of year when crops are usually abundant in Canada, and the stores were hardly stocking  any Canadian produce.  A friend suggested that I check out the Marche de solidarite d’Outauoais (MSRO) (does anyone out there know how to do french accents on a mac?)http://www.marcheoutaouais.com/

Fresh local apples

We checked it out, and loved it. So what is it?

The Outaouaiss Regional Solidarity Market (MSRO) is a non profit coop that offers local products from local producers.  Currently they have over 2000 products from 42 producers, and the list keeps growing. Check it out:  http://www.marcheoutaouais.com/

Everything is local, and, everything (that we’ve tried) is delicious.  Also, for a busy mom, with a crazy toddler who makes shopping in a traditional store a nightmare (Max!  You can not take that lady’s cart!  Stop knocking all the cans off the shelves!) it makes grocery shopping a breeze.  Every week, before Monday at midnight, you go to the MSRO website and choose your groceries.  Then Thursday or Friday (you choose when), you go to the pick up location in Gatineau. You hand over your list, a volunteer grabs your groceries for you, and you check everything off your list as he/she puts it into the bag (which of course you brought)  Then you pay. It’s that simple.  Doesn’t that sound like a nice way to shop?

Carrots anyone?

Not only do I enjoy the quality of the food we are getting – it’s exceptional, but, I also love buying my food directly from the farmers. You know the products come fresh from the farm, and from people who care a tremendous amount about what they produce, and that you enjoy it.

There are lots of bonuses: Delicious, local produce – mostly organic. You are supporting the local community and local farmers, and it’s an environmentally friendly way of shopping. There are hardly any line ups, and if you don’t count the time you spend ordering, you can get your grocery shopping done in about 5 minutes.  Surprisingly, there is also pretty great variety.  We just received an order of kale, black cherry tomatos, bacon, milk, eggs, apples, goat cheese, leaf lettuce, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, to name a few items.  We tend to buy mostly vegetables, but the meat and cheeses we have tried are also fabulous.

Black Cherry Tomatos

I really encourage you to check it out, and if you’re not in Ottawa, look into something similar in your community. Its a great way to eat well, support you community and feel great about what you buy!