Local farmers say wholesalers are selling products at farmers' markets that appear to be local, but are actually acquired from elsewhere.
Eating local is a trend that has been sweeping communities and leading many to farmers' markets to enjoy locally-grown produce.
But in recent years, many wholesalers have been taking advantage of the trend by tricking people into buying products from other parts of Canada.
It can be seen in virtually any market; whether it be tomatoes from Ontario sold under signs adorned with Quebec's iconic fleur-de-lis or potatoes from Prince Edward Island.
"Often, there are vegetables that are not from Quebec but the vendors make it look like a local product. People buy the produce thinking it is local, that's what's disappointing," said Jacques Rémillard, a local farmer with a stand at the Jean-Talon market.
A few years ago, Quebec's public markets corporation put in place a precise product sticker system to help identify local ingredients.
Though there remain certain issues with the information divulged with stickering, many are taking the problem back to its basics: what is a farmers' market supposed to sell?
After 80 years, the Jean-Talon market is making more space for resellers.
"Before, it used to be farmers who use to sell their products. Today, it's different. They're resellers. It changes the ambiance, that's what clients are saying," said a vegetable producer.
A 'scape' is simply the green flower stalk that shoots out of a garlic bulb as it grows. When they are young, green and curled, the scape has a delicious mild garlic flavor and fragrance -- and packs many of the same nutrients as other Allium family foods, such as garlic, leeks and onions. That means it has many of the same <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16484553" target="_hplink">protective cardiovascular properties</a> and potential for <a href="http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/prevention/garlic-and-cancer-prevention" target="_hplink">cancer prevention</a>.
Also known as a ground cherry, this sweet, husked fruit is actually related to the tomatillo rather than the cherry, which means it offers up a healthy dose of the carotenoid lycopene. It is also unusually high in pectin, which has been shown to <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18433105" target="_hplink">moderate cholesterol and blood sugar in rats</a>.
Hen Of The Woods
This massive mushroom has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to boost immune system. With its high levels of fiber, amino acids, potassium, calcium, and magnesium -- as well as niacin and other B vitamins, it's no wonder that the 'shroom is relied on in traditional medicine. But Western medicine is also interested in the immune-boosting properties of this mushroom, in the <em>maitake</em> family: <a href="http://www.springerlink.com/content/x6r7446714752000/?MUD=MP" target="_hplink">a 2009 study</a> found that taking a maitake extract actually improved the immune system of breast cancer patients who were undergoing chemotherapy.
This root is also called the "oyster vegetable" because its taste is often compared to the shellfish. Used in soups and stews, salsify is a <a href="http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/food-nutrition/natural-foods/natural-food-salsify.htm" target="_hplink">great source</a> of fiber, vitamin B-6 and potassium, among other nutrients.
This leafy green is actually a superfood, according to the research: <a href="http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/63314.php" target="_hplink">a study</a> in the <em>American Journal of Clinical Nutrition</em> found that a daily dose of watercress helps prevent against free radical damage and also helps cells to fight off future damage. It also makes an excellent salad.
This white radish variety from East Asia is rich in anthoxanthin, an antioxidant that some research has shown can lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and improve cardiovascular function, according to <a href="http://www.fitsugar.com/What-Daikon-20263858" target="_hplink">Fit Sugar</a>.
This often overlooked member of the <em>brassica</em> family (think: broccoli and Brussels sprouts) is packed full of fiber and vitamin C. It's also a rich source of glucosinolates, <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/003194229085425F/" target="_hplink">a group of cancer-fighting compounds</a>.
These dark, leafy greens are full of folate and beta carotene, making them a nutritional powerhouse choice for salads. And, <a href="http://www.joybauer.com/food-articles/leafy-green-vegetables.aspx#escarole" target="_hplink">according to nutritionist Joy Bauer</a>, the salad ingredient is also a surprisingly rich source of vitamin K, which is important for bone health.