The warm weather is upon us and it brings the return of our favourite summer pastimes. Whether you are planning a family vacation, swapping your winter boots for flip-flops or preparing your vegetable garden, we all have something we really look forward to in the summer months.
For many, the month of May signals the start of farmers’ market season, and as markets across the country prepare to greet the public, we thought we’d take this opportunity to share a few reasons why you should consider buying from your local farmers’ market this summer:
Fresher produce and lots of it. Most of the produce available at your local farmers’ market will have just been picked, retaining much of its nutrients and flavour. You will also get a lot more variety than what is available at your local grocery store.
It’s less expensive. Fresh and organic produce when purchased in a grocery store comes at a premium, and your local farmers’ market typically offers a better price point.
Support your local economy. When you buy from local businesses and farmers, you are helping stimulate your local economy.
Reduce your carbon footprint. Grocery store produce typically travels thousands of kilometres before reaching its destination, while farmers’ market goods typically travel 100 kilometres or less. There is also no excess packaging for goods found at your local market.
It’s fun! Make your visit to the local market one of your summer pastimes by getting the whole family involved.
Before you visit your local farmers’ market be sure to bring cash, small change and reusable shopping bags. You may even want to invest in a personal shopping buggy to carry your goods. You should also plan to get there right when it opens (to get the best produce) or just before it closes (when you can get good deals).
No matter where you are in this great country, there is a farmers’ market pretty much everywhere. If you ever find yourself on a cross-country tour, here are a few places you should be sure to check out:
Halifax Farmers’ Market, NS. It has been operating since 1750, so you will enjoy the history. If you are the adventurous kind, try the blue cheese called Dragon’s Breath.
Saint John City Market, NB. Fresh lobster! Need we say more?
Marche du Vieux-Port de Quebec City, QC. There are plenty of great finds here, but for a true slice of the old city you should try the tourtieres (traditional Quebec meat pies).
St. Lawrence Market, Toronto, ON. National Geographic recently listed this beautiful market as the best food market in the world. You’ll find all sorts of fresh produce, meat and fish. Peameal bacon sandwiches are a staple for the regulars.
St. Norbert’s Farmers’ Market, MB. Where else are you going to find fresh Asian specialties like bok choy?
Regina’s Farmers’ Market, SK. Although Saskatoon also has a great farmers’ market, in Regina you can grab bannock and pierogi to fill your tummy and give you the energy to explore this beautiful capital city.
Calgary Farmers’ Market, AB. You’ll find exactly what you expect from a farmers’ market in Alberta: bison, pork and ever-famous Alberta beef.
Granville Island Public Market, Vancouver, BC. The locals take their food seriously, and like it fresh and healthy. You will find pretty much everything here, and unlike the markets in some other regions, it is open year-round. As this is the end of our Canadian tour, you should finish off with some chocolate for dessert.
To find a market in your area, visit Farmers’ Markets Canada at www.farmersmarketscanada.ca