Thursday, October 12, 2006

Too Pooped to Talk Pop

Phew! Things were so hectic last Sunday, it's taken us a few days to recover.

If you weren't able to join us because of other commitments or because you're part of our virtual community somewhere hundreds, even thousands, of miles away, this is what you missed:

Svestka Preserves, Inc.

Michelle, in action, serving up our very own communion of sorts to the ravenous shoppers who turned up at the Canadian Grenadier Guards Armory that glorious Sunday. Crab apple jelly. Ketchup aux fruits. Fig preserves. Plum chutney. Red currant jelly. Marmalades galore. & c. A bewildering array of advertisements. And samples, lots and lots of samples (in this case, kumquat marmalade).

That was early in the day. By the time 7:00 p.m. rolled around, we'd been largely cleaned out. Gone were the oignons confits, the plum chutney, the red currant jelly, and a whole host of other Švestka specialties. Gone were most of the crisp, orchard-fresh apples we'd been giving away all day. We'd seen lots of friends and made lots of new friends (including visiting New Yorkers, Los Angelenos, Bostonians, Torontonians, Vancouverites, and various other out-of-towners). And we'd had some pretty vivid conversations with some of our patrons. You think bartenders hear some tales? You should try working a jams and jellies booth at a crafts fair. The blue-ribbon story? Well, one particuarly enthusiastic customer, having just paid for a jar of Michelle's raspberry preserve, proceeded to tell us that she'd bought it in honor of her first son, who'd been conceived in a raspberry patch. I kid you not. Don't worry, we very politely refrained from asking, "Who with?" "He hates it when I tell that story," she told us. Thankfully, he wasn't around. These events are always an experience, and this one didn't disappoint in the least.

If you're having a hard time imagining the scene, here's what it looked like from the balcony at about 5:00 p.m., with the late afternoon sunlight streaming through the massive windows:

Puces Pop 2006

If you look closely, you can see Michelle in brown right in the center of the photo, giving a couple of greenhorns the hard-sell, dazzling them with her witty repartee and her formidable powers of persuasion.

If you're thinking to yourself, "That's not an armory, that's just some big ole gym," think again. That "big ole gym" was very much an armory, very much a vestige of Montreal's past as a garrison city. In fact, the place was haunted with all kinds of ghosts, like this dashing old fuss 'n' feathers


and these brave souls


And lest you forget that the proceedings were part of pop festival, there was the odd performance to liven things up a little, like the performance by Patrick Watson (no, not the knob-twiddler in front, the guy behind the grand piano belting out a tune) in the "Puces Pop Lounge" captured below:

patrick watson & co.

Anyway, thanks ever so much to all of you who stopped by (like this trio of bright-eyed and thoroughly satisfied customers).

3 satisfied customers

We had a great time and we hope those of you who made purchases are enjoying your Švestka preserves.



Monsieur Vic said...

Le Ketchup aux fruits was delicious on my Yves Spicy Italian Veggie Sausages wrapped in Weston "moelleux" hot dog breads.

aj kinik said...

Glad to hear it, M. Vic,
You disappeared before I got a chance to talk to you properly. I had no idea you were racing home to have an Italian sausage with ketchup aux fruits.

kelli ann said...

you're right-- i *can* see michelle in that photo (when i make it a little bigger, that is...) thanks for the post, and glad to know the sale was such a success. please keep me posted on future preserves sales-- if i can't make it, i'll certainly pass the info. along. cheers!

Kyenta said...

Hey, I know two of your three satified customers!! It's a small world when you can sit in an office in Vancouver, reading a blog written by people in Montreal with pictures of people you know from Vancouver.

Anyway, glad to hear the fair went well. Someday I'll have to try some of that jam!

aj kinik said...

Really? What can you tell us about them? Can they be trusted with our preserves?

Urban Wanderer said...

The crab apple jelly was delicious on our Shabbat bread tonight. And we still have two to try - the redcurrant jelly and the plum chutney.

Anonymous said...

the one in the middle of the trio of (rightfully and true) happy shoppers must have used your crew's excellent preserves in his hair--such that appears to be left of it in the photo.... sheesh. b.

Stockton said...

I enjoyed reading your article regarding your stall, good work. It's somehting i've been wanting to do for a while - in Yorkshire, England, we have a lot of farmer's markets all year round so there is an opportunity to do it at least 8 months a year. Did you find it easy to set up? how much planning etc did it take?

satchel said...

re: your question for muggins

You really can't trust those vancouverites with your preserves. I heard they have no self control and have almost finished their raspberry jam. And even though they bought some crabapple jelly as a gift for a relative, they are just going to eat it themselves. Selfish and very greedy! hee.

michelle said...

Hello Stockton, as far as the amount of planning doing a sale takes, it really depends on the type of product you want to offer: some fruits are so fleeting that you need to be organized, whereas others you can take your time with. I started stockpiling preserves during the summer, but didn't go overboard, seeing as the sale was a one-day event. It took not much planning at all, aside from making the preserves. I threw a plastic tablecloth down, added my jars and a couple of apples, a few signs, and that was it. Good luck with your project. I hope it goes well.

aj kinik said...

Hi Satchel,
I had my suspicions about them. Thanks for the 411.