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Pictou PickingsBy Nicole Trask | Aug 22, 2012
It’s always lovely to escape the city in the summer. When it’s this hot, I’d really rather be close to the ocean so I’ve been seizing every opportunity to get out of town. Sometimes rejuvenation is as simple as going to my cottage in Caribou for the weekend. On a recent visit, we took a little detour on a Saturday to the nearby town of Pictou for some browsing and sightseeing.
I’ve been wandering about these parts since I was a toddler but I’d never made it to the Pictou County Weekend Market before. Located in the New Caledonia Curling Club along the historic waterfront, the market is across the street from the mooring spot of the Tall Ship Hector and a boardwalk full of restaurants and tempting Scotsburn ice cream shops.
I was pleased to find that there is an array of items to choose from at the market including fresh veggies, natural bath products, woodwork, arts and crafts and more. Some of the more unique vendors include a fortune teller and a booth dedicated to mounted plaques of traditional family crests. Almost everything under this roof is locally made and/or harvested in Nova Scotia, which is always a plus in my books. There was quite a lot to take in but after doing a few laps, I discovered some favourites.
The Keltic Lily handmade soaps, bath products and body lotions definitely caught my eye. Aromatic wedges of Tropical Breeze (think guava, citrus notes, hints of jasmine and neroli oil) and Forest Apple (crisp berries, green apple and zesty citrus) were two standouts. For the sensitive type, the Plain Jane soap made with gentle olive, palm and almond oils, would be an ideal choice. I also loved the variety of mild scents and simple packaging of the Lava lip glosses in peppermint and cherry.
While browsing at the Keltic Lily we were also drawn to the smooth rocks displayed with miniature paintings. This took us a few booths down to Darlene Watters of Creative Watters Art & Design. Amongst her selection of artwork, the little rocks with paintings done with India ink had us smitten. We purchased one with an adorable bird as a keepsake but enjoyed the other paintings as well with tiny starfish, tree branches, dories and lapping waves that you can hold in the palm of your hand.
Another impressive display came from the Tuckered Duck Woodcraft Company. I was coveting the smooth hope chests and also taken aback by the reasonable prices of the lovely woodened framed mirrors in various shapes and sizes. The visit would also not be complete without stopping at the Sainte-Famille Wines display. Made in Falmouth in the Annapolis Valley, these award winning wines are available in a many flavours including Muscat, Chablis, pommes de famille (with apples grown in the Valley), crimson spice mulled wine and more. You can sample whichever wine you like, so I tried the wild blueberry which was sweet and delicious. I imagine it would be a lovely aperitif rather than an accompaniment for a meal.
I had the chance to speak with one of the proprietors of the market, Joyce Battist, who has been in the business for quite some time. Battist and her husband have been running the market for about 18 years and before that she was a vendor at a previous Pictou market as a machine embroiderer and seamstress. The market is currently open every Saturday and Sunday until mid-September and Battist shows no signs of slowing down.
“It’s truly a passion of ours and a real community,” she says with a smile.
By Nicole Trask