I drove over 5 hours each way on a Saturday/Sunday just to surprise my Dad for his 65th birthday. Unfortunately he was planning to go hunting so the secret had to be told or I wouldn’t get to see him much. Regardless, my parents were stoked that I was coming to visit. There wasn’t really time for much except eating a few meals together and hitting up a couple fruit stands (aka farmers markets). I love that any fruit stand is less than 10 minutes from any house in Creston – not like in the big city where it’s an effort to drive, park, walk around the huge facility, and get back home. Here in Calgary it seems like a half day event sometimes!
We hit up two markets because we were looking for something specific I’d never heard of before – a mashed potato squash. WTF? Apparently when you cook it up and mash it, it tastes just like mashed potatoes. I have no idea what the actual varietal is… but the slang is pretty descriptive! All squash were $0.89/lb at the markets in Creston. I was just at my local Sobey’s tonight in Calgary and squash were on sale for $1.00/lb, and I know I’ve paid up to $1.99/lb in the past. I can’t tell you the varietals I got in Creston, but I know the longer one was a hybrid between the other round one and a spaghetti squash. So helpful, aren’t I? I should have written it down…
I brought home some amazingly sweet and crispy Royal Gala apples – not like the ones we get from the grocery store that have been sitting in storage since last year. These are delicious! I also got red bell peppers, brussels sprouts on the stem (did you know they grow on a stem like that?), pears, potatoes, onions, garlic (why is good garlic so expensive?), hot peppers and locally made herb & garlic cheese. Also some syrups, jams, hot sauce, pickled jalapeños, and homemade pickled asparagus from my parents. Sure, it adds up at the till, just like it does here in Calgary, but it felt nice to support the local farms directly. A couple of the syrups and jams are going to a friend in Africa and the hot sauces will be Christmas gifts.
We hit up a local cafe called Buffalo Trails. It served good coffee, had quite a few tables, some awesome looking baking, and tasty soups and sandwiches. There was a constant stream of people coming into the cafe – it was nice to see a locally owned place with that much traffic on a Sunday. The larger restaurants were all closed, except for the chains (e.g. Ricki’s) which I really wanted to avoid.
My dad got a soup that had sausage in it – he said it was really tasty. My stepmom got the chilli with corn bread and loved it all. I tasted some chilli and it was definitely good. I had the chicken parmesan sandwich. It was all good except the store-bought caesar salad dressing on the sandwich… I think I would have preferred a simple mayo, or even a garlic aioli would have been delicious! My one true gripe was that two of our plates had big chips out of them. I don’t like eating off chipped dishes…
I grabbed a container of little tiny hearty muffins for the road. With oats, dried fruit and the random chocolate chip, these were chewy and dense and they filled me up for the drive home.
Mid-October was such a beautiful time to travel the Crowsnest Pass (Highway 3) to Creston. The larch was all changing color in the hills, and the deciduous trees were yellow – the leaves sprinkling the road as I drove by. I felt like I was in a beautiful snow globe filled with yellow leaves sometimes. The weather was mostly good, with just a few dark patches with rain and snow in some spots. It was so pretty!