Mustard Tastings and Turtle Talk

July 6-11, 2011 

My new strategy for entertaining out-of-towners: try something in the city that you’ve never tried before!

This week marked the first of several visits from family and friends. First up were California grandpa and step-grandma.  We had a busy few days playing t-ball, starting swimming lessons, learning to play video games, and trying out new restaurants (Dim Sum!).

By far, the highlight for the kids was our “maiden voyage” to the Saturday Farmer’s Market at the Evergreen Brickworks. It was a rough ride, so to speak. We almost didn’t make it on the free trolley from the subway station to the market because of a giant group of Christian singles carrying “Faith Connections” flyers. They all seemed desperate to take the shuttle together. Somehow, though, we were standing in the right place at the right time, and we managed to make it on board!

Once arrived, our tour of the main buildings was entertainment enough. My dad liked photographing the paella-making. My stepmom found some original pottery to take home. The kids admired the tables full of cherries, wafted in the scents of the cinnamon rolls from a baked-goods vendor and the bear-shaped beeswax candles, and made plans for a lunch-hour return to the famous french fry cart.

Most admirably, with an array of pretzel sticks, my little Bea performed her own “mustard tastings” at two separate tables, championing through some pretty spicy fare! As her favourites, she chose a bottle of crackling mustard, a grainy and rather spicy variety that “pops” in your mouth, and a bottle of lime and honey mustard (which just so happens to be my all-time favourite, as well).

The big hit, however, was the walk around the fantastic network of ponds at the rear of the main market building.  The ponds were filled with turtles and frogs. The kids had a great time pointing them out to their grandpa so that he could take photographs for them.

Among the rather lithe turtles (well, lithe for turtles, that is) we found an ancient looking fellow with moss all over his back and all kinds of knobs and bumps protruding from his neck and tail.

Another group of kids further along had found a baby turtle and were patting its shell before returning it to the water where it belonged.

And, finally, after hearing their popping ribbits from the side of the water, we were actually able to locate one of the resident frogs.

If something had to provide more of a draw than cherries and organic greens, I’m glad it was the wildlife!

Also, Tobes’s fascination with turtles continued throughout the family visit! He and his father looked up turtle habitats online. He started sketching the kind of turtle habitat he would build in his room if he were ever lucky enough to keep a turtle. Most importantly, he started to memorize all of the different types of turtles and their native habitats and to discuss these with his grandparents.

I’m glad we were able to do something with our guests that was both new for them and for us.  We’ll be back to do some more exploring along those ponds and trails as soon as we can!

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One Response to Mustard Tastings and Turtle Talk

  1. amanda July 22, 2011 at 9:42 pm #

    I made my first trip to Florida this summer and got to see some (hurt, but recovering nicely) sea turtles up close and personal!