Getting Greener... And Even Tastier!

During my Co-op term this summer, I continue to notice how much the  environment matters to Mountain Mercato. The store continually puts effort into using less waste, and recycling as much as possible. However, this summer was particulary unique (and very exciting), as Raegan and Elana installed an edible garden in the back parking lot. Mountain Mercato now has everything from fresh radishes, mint, parsley, rosemary, and even edible flowers! The best part is that they are now able to use their own fresh, aromatic herbs in the soups, salads and paninis that are served. Whether it is to garnish a salad with an edible flower (called a nasturtium), or using the herbs and veggies when Elana cooks her delicious soups. There is nothing better than smelling the fresh herbs when Elana is cooking something spectacular. I am proud that Mountain Mercato continues to reduce their impact on the environment, and by implementing this edible garden they are able to reduce the emmisons and pollutants it takes to have these herbs and veggies delievered from outside sources. That being said, come on in and try the many things Mountain Mercato’s garden has to offer in a variety of the menu items!

On a side note, as I am going back to school next week, I would like to say that I have had an amazing experience working at MM for the past four months. Although we were constantly busy during the summer, Elana and Raegan ensured that I learned everything I had hoped to get the most out of my Cooperative Education program. I have definitely acquired new skills and even greater confidence that I will carry with me wherever the road may take me. More importantly I have gained an entire new knowledge base for cheeses and salumi, and many cooking skills that I will benefit from in the coming school year. Thank you to all the staff at MM for making this summer a memorable one!  

The World Outside of Mountain Mercato

This past week, I was fortunate to spend the day with Raegan exploring some of the farms and suppliers that help make Mountain Mercato so delicious. We travelled to Nobleford, Alberta care of Galimax Trading Company, who hold their annual tour of the farms they market. We visited Mans Organics, Broek Pork Acres, and Leffers Organics. I was amazed to see the enormous amount of work, innovation, and dedication it takes to bring their products to our menu.

We first headed to Mans Organics egg grading facility where we were served a delicious breakfast. Following that was a demonstration on how to tell the difference between a fresh egg and an old egg. I never knew how much knowledge and expertise went into producing a carton of eggs! Mans eggs goes to great lengths to ensure that their eggs are of the freshest quality.

Next stop was Broek Pork Acres and then on to Mans Organics greenhouses (I just want to say that the baby pigs were adorable and I desperately wanted to take one home with me). Mans Organics definitely impressed me with their greenhouses. They continue to ensure that their produce is certified organic, and I was surprised at how every year their soil becomes more enriched with nutrients than the year before. What really caught my attention was the fact that they had different greens feeding solely on water with live tilapia in it, which is a process called hydroponics. I can definitely say first hand that I appreciate how much hard work and innovation these two farms put into their products.

Our last stop was Leffers Organics. We headed out to the carrot field where we could pick fresh carrots, and learn more about organic farming. It was quite an exhausting day in Nobleford, and I am so glad I was able to experience all the farms that Galimax markets to their customers. Selling products is one thing, but ensuring that the products are certified organic takes a great amount of effort and attentiveness. I can now say that I will no longer take one cherry tomato for granted ever again. 

Parmesan, Prosecco, and more Parmesan

For this blog, I thought I would do something different and let the pictures speak for themselves. I created a photo slideshow of this past weekend’s Parmesan Cracking Party! MM has been hosting this event for over five years, and particularly for this one we were fortunate to have some special friends stop by for a visit. They were Phil and Sebastian Coffee Roasters, The Salt Cellar (who I learned creates her intricate salt blends in her own home!), Farmbox, Natur’el Tea Makers, and Crush Imports. I was able to talk to each of these vendors, and I realized how they each contribute enormously to Mountain Mercato’s success and authenticity. That’s enough of my chit chat. Take a look at the pictures from the party and thank you to all guests who made this event a success! 

8 Years and Counting: Mountain Mercato is Celebrating an Anniversary!

It’s hard to believe Mountain Mercato is celebrating their 8th anniversary this month. Although MM has come a long way, the place where you can smell fresh coffee grinding as you come through the door has a bright future ahead of it.

cake MM.jpg

Since it is a special month for Mountain Mercato, I thought I’d dedicate this blog to a little history of where Mountain Mercato comes from. Eight years ago, the store was half the size it is now (can you believe it), had barely any staff, and a scarce number of tables to seat customers. Raegan bought Mountain Mercato with a vision to turn the store into a place where you can relax, enjoy a meal and get your groceries simultaneously; and that is exactly what she did. With some renovations and a little TLC to the menu (thanks to Elana), Mountain Mercato is now twice the size, has a huge variety of specialty food and groceries -- not to mention the cheeses, and a cozy dining room where customers can enjoy a cup of Phil and Sebastian Coffee and delicious platters.

With 15 years of culinary experience under Elana’s apron, and cooking in places like Whistler and Hawaii, it is no wonder the menu at Mountain Mercato is fantastic! Elana uses her creativity and seasonal ingredients to the fullest in creating fresh soups and paninis. The success of Mountain Mercato is also due in huge part to Raegan’s exceptional displays and her careful research into products to sell in the store.

It amazing to see how Mountain Mercato has evolved over the past eight years, and it is even more exciting to see what it will become. Eight years is definitely something worth celebrating, so come on in and celebrate with us! Buon compleanno Mountain Mercato!

Taking on a New Role: Commerce Cooperative Education Program

Introducing Mountain Mercato Blogger Alexis

Introducing Mountain Mercato Blogger Alexis

Let me first start off by saying that my name is Alexis, and I am a huge fan of the Tacchino Panini at Mountain Mercato.  Sometimes I like to switch it up a little at have the Bunderfleisch and Arugula salad; paired with Stichelton blue cheese (my mouth is watering at this instant). As for a little background of myself, I am originally from Regina, but I have lived in Calgary for most of my life. I am a crazy dog person, have recently traveled to Australia, and love being in the mountains (of course). I am currently in my second year studying Commerce at the University of Alberta in the very frigid Edmonton of all places. My major is marketing with a minor in finance; however that may change, as my mind jumps from one interest to another. But so far, I like where I am at in my post-secondary studies. Two years ago, I worked at Mountain Mercato as a high school summer student for my 11thand 12th year, and I am excitedly drawn back for another summer. However, this year my role at Mountain Mercato is going to be slightly different.

At the University of Alberta, I decided to join the business cooperative education program, which allows business students to gain workforce experience that relates to their degree during their studies at the U of A.  I am fortunate that Elana and Raegan have given me an opportunity to gain some business experience. But what is even more exciting is that I get to drink the best coffee in town all summer. You can never go wrong with a dulce latte. As for my new and exciting role at Mountain Mercato, I am ecstatic to be leading a group of summer students and showing them how things are done daily at this hectic time of year. As a business student I hope to learn various things such as how a small business is managed and operated, gain advertising and promotion skills through the recruitment of summer students, and effective communication skills while training the new employees.

I am excited to be back for yet another busy summer at Mountain Mercato, and I can’t wait to document my experience for the next four months. I am also enthusiastic to meet new people and be involved in a new way.  My new role at Mountain Mercato brings on a whole lot more responsibility; however I am excited to be challenged and see a new perspective of how the business works, and obviously the food and coffee that comes with it!