This weekend, the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market will launch a fun new way to get to know your market with the first of their monthly food festivals.
This week will feature B.C. prawns — a delicacy known around the world for their sweet, delicate flavour and firm texture. Prawn season open this Friday and market fishers will share their harvest with lucky market shoppers on Saturday.
Local chef Laura Agnew will create several prawn tasters for sampling including Tom Yum soup, and seared prawns with her famous Chang Mai sauce, along with recipes for you to take home with your freshly caught prawns.
Kathy Jerritt from Tria will be serving up a prawn crepe with creamed spinach and leeks folded inside a hot crepe and topped with sautéed prawns, garnished with fresh lemon zest and toasted fennel seed.
If you make it out, watch for other vendors offering supplemental or complimentary items to take home with your prawns.
Wild B.C. Spot Prawns are the largest of the seven commercial species of shrimp found on the West Coast of Canada. They vary greatly in size, with some larger females exceeding 23 cm in total length.
In B.C. approximately 2,450 metric tonnes are harvested annually, with about 65 per cent of the harvest coming from the waters between Vancouver Island and the mainland. Prawns are available live during the harvest season, which lasts anywhere from six to eight weeks.
Prawn fishermen spread baited traps along the rocky ocean floor at depths ranging from 40 to 100 metres. This method has minimal impact on ocean habitat and very low levels of bycatch of other species.
The seafood available at the market is not the same as what you find in the average grocery store, it is caught by family-owned boats, fishing in sustainable ways. Thus they offer a much different product in terms of freshness and taste.
The prawn festival offers an opportunity for folks to take note of the fishers at the market and their product including: Estevan’s albacore tuna and shrimp, Succeed Fishing’s salmon (fresh and smoked), halibut, and prawns, and Vancity Seafoods’ prawns and black cod.
There are three fishing vendors at the market this year and all of them have a long family fishing history and have chosen the market for their product so that they can develop relationships with the folks that are interested and concerned about the fisheries in this province and beyond.
Market manager Vickey Brown outlines the food festival series: “Each month we will be pairing up market product with one or more of our fabulous chefs to offer tastings. It will give folks an opportunity to sample product, get recipes for using it, and introduce folks to the unique foods and the superior quality offered at the market.”
— Comox Valley Farmers’ Market