VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 17 | Spring Has Sprung!
Spring has Sprung: Local Farmer’s Markets
by: Tessa Jennison
Whenever I travel, and people ask me about home, I always talk to them about how the Tri-Cities/Guelph area is an agricultural cornucopia. I have never been anywhere in the world that offers such a wide range of choices in locally grown foods. Just a short drive outside of the city takes you into a beautiful world of orchards, maple-sugar bushes, fields of grains, Mennonite vegetable gardens, grazing cows, and many other forms of livestock. With such a rich cultural heritage based around farming, it’s no wonder this area is so diverse and offers so much.
Springtime is my favourite time, because with spring comes the popularity of the farmer’s markets. Many of the big markets run year round, but really come into full swing in the warmer months. Here are some of my favourite market destinations:
St. Jacobs Farmer’s Market:
The St. Jacobs Market is a popular tourist destination on Saturday and Thursday mornings. The market has large indoor facilities, and in the warmer months of the year many vendors set up shop outside as well. There’s great food to tantalize your senses, a plethora of local farmers and Mennonites selling a wide range of produce, and artisans selling wares of all sorts. You need amazing hand-made leather slippers? You can buy them upstairs inside the main market building. You need apples? Pop by the Martin’s Family Fruit Farm stand and grab a bushel of delicious sweet crunchy Honeycrisps. You need summer-sausage? Check out Kitchen Kuttings for the best summer sausage I have ever tasted. Also right up there on my list of favourites are the mini doughnuts, the amazing Egyptian cuisine (best hummus EVER), the fresh local meats, the pine river cheese curds, the apple fritters, and the fresh squeezed orange juice. When you’re there, don’t forget to pop into some of the other buildings. Last week I discovered a booth that sells amazing hand-made Turkish jewelry. On Thursday mornings, be sure to check out the livestock auctions. That’s an event unto itself! If you’re keen to further explore the area, you can hop on the horse-drawn trolley and take a ride through the village of St. Jacobs.
The Kitchener Farmer’s Market:
The Kitchener Farmer’s Market is located in the south end of downtown Kitchener. This market has many of the same vendors as the St. Jacobs Farmer’s Market, but on a smaller scale. Downstairs you can find all of the meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, and baked goods your heart desires. Upstairs you’ll find a wide array of delicious food booths. I recommend the Mexican place. This market also offers some extracurricular activities, such as international food cooking courses. The Kitchener Farmer’s Market operates predominantly on Saturdays.
The Cambridge Farmer’s Market:
The Cambridge Farmer’s Market is the third oldest market in Canada, opening originally in 1830. This market prides itself on being a true farmer’s market, with vendors coming from 100km radius to sell their produce, breads, meats, and wares. This market is still in its original location, with a true heritage feel! The Cambridge Farmer’s Market operates on Saturdays throughout the year, and Wednesdays during the summer months.
The Guelph Farmer’s Market and the Aberfoyle Antique Market:
The Guelph Farmer’s Market is located in downtown Guelph and operates on Saturday mornings. Much like the other local farmer’s markets, Guelph’s market features fresh produce, handcrafted wares, fresh fish, naturally raised meats, cheeses, and eggs, a variety of organic products. If you’re looking for a fabulous antiquing experience, be sure to take a short drive out to the Aberfoyle Antique Market, just south of Guelph. Although not a farmer’s market, this outdoor antique market is a fantastic way to spend the day, exploring artifacts and hand-made antique furniture.
Other Markets and Such:
Keep your eyes peeled for other “mini farmer’s markets” around your city. Often you’ll find these small produce-and-flower stands set up regularly during the summer months in parking lots and public squares, such as the Waterloo Public Square farmer’s market. If you’re out driving in the country, be sure to bring some cash. Driving out Hwy 86 you’ll find a plethora of Mennonite road-side stands with fresh baking, flowers, delicious canned preserves, and fresh produce. If you’re craving a real sweet treat, drive out to the Yatton Bakery or the Dorking Corner Store to pick up some exquisite home-made baked goods, such as brown sugar cinnamon buns, Chelsea rolls, mouth-watering pies, and incredible cookies.