A Fresh Look at Seasonal Farmers’ Markets Around London, Ontario
The preference to purchase and eat local products has helped revive farmers' markets and farm gate sales as an alternative to grocery store retailers. Authentic farmers' markets are not only increasing exponentially, but according to the most recent available statistics, Canadians spend more than $103 billion at them each year in annual sales, for a total economic impact of up to $3.09 billion. According to Farmers' Markets of Ontario, one way that farmers' market shape food systems is by fostering free enterprise and ethically-grounded economic behaviour.
A Fresh Look at Seasonal Farmers’ Markets
BY BRYAN LAVERY
Every year I look forward to the start of the outdoor farmers’ market season. In warmer weather, I generally frequent farmers’ markets and farmgates which help to sustain economic activity on a local level. The new economic reality is that farmers’ markets have become a source of competitive advantage and the preferred food-retailing operation for many consumers. Studies reveal that most market shoppers are inspired to eat seasonally, which leads to altered buying and cooking patterns. It is important to keep in mind that farmers’ markets achieve an imperative part in local economic development by providing a location for local and small business incubation, generating an economic multiplier effect to neighboring businesses, and redistributing customer dollars within the community.
The “eat and buy local” movements have taken Ontario by storm, and there are hundreds of farmers’ markets dotted across the province to prove it. It is a great way to savour the terroir and talents of a community. Here are some of this area’s best-loved seasonal farmers’ markets:
The Soho Street Market
The Soho Street Market (located in front of the Goodwill Centre at Horton and Wellington) is the new kid on the block and has quickly become a community hub. The night market offers an open-air market experience. It’s operated by the Soho Community Association for the purpose of providing local produce, farm fresh fruits, and artisanal handcrafts to visitors and residents. Since its inception it has been a smash hit. Edgar and Joe’s Café stays open late too. Every Friday night from 4-9 pm. www.sohomarket.ca
Covent Garden Market Farmers’ MarketThey grow it, raise, bake it, or make it! That's the mantra of the Covent Garden Farmers' Market a 100 per cent producer-based market. Every Thursday and Saturday from May until December, you can expect super fresh produce, meat, cheese, baked goods, local wine, samplings by local chefs, live music and children's programming. For current news, recipes and seasonal information about the farmers' market please go to their blog. www.coventgardenfarmersmarket.com
Thursdays and Saturdays 8 am to 1 pm. May to Christmas, weather permitting.
Hyde Park Outdoor Market
Hyde Park Outdoor Market opens May 9th. There is an interesting complement of year round indoor vendors, and additional vendors at the seasonal outdoor market. There is a large patio with landscaped gardens to sit and relax while enjoying the market experience in London`s north west. Hyde Park Market is located at 1331 Hyde Park Road, south of Gainsborough. There are additional parking spaces at The Crossings just under the railway overpass. Open Saturday 8 am–5 pm and Sundays 9 am–3 pm. www.hydeparkmarket.ca
Masonville Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market
Masonville Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market features over 40 farmers, artisans and food producers. It is organized by the Western Fair Farmers & Artisans’ Market. There is free parking at the Masonville Place parking lot. Fridays 8 am–2 pm, weather permitting. www.londonsfarmersmarket.ca
Slow Food Perth County's Sunday Market
Since its inception, Slow Food Perth County's Sunday Market has been a hit and a go-to food destination. Market-goers appreciate the good, clean, fair principles of Slow Food as well as the exceptional and produce and artisanal products offered by local vendors who have a passion for their offerings. In season, Stratford Market Square, then the market returns to The Falstaff Family Centre. The market remains outdoors right through the planting, growing, and harvest seasons, until mid-October. Sundays 10 am to 2 pm.
St. Thomas Horton Farmers’ Market Horton
Horton Farmers’ Market is a best-in-class market destination that promotes civic pride, shapes local culture and supports the regional economy by providing access to high quality food producers, craftspeople and artisans. If you are looking for farm fresh produce and meats, homemade preserves and baking, as well as handmade crafts and artwork, the Horton Farmers' Market is the place to be! They strive to have only local producers and craftspeople represented, giving you a taste and experience unique to St. Thomas. Manitoba Street, ½ block north of Talbot Street. St. Thomas, Open Mother's Day Weekend to October 31, Saturdays 8 a.m. to 12 noon. www.hortonfarmersmarket.ca
The Goderich Farmers’ Market
The Goderich Farmers’ Market on the Courthouse Square is sponsored by the Goderich BIA. The outdoor farmers market is operated by the Goderich BIA. On the Courthouse Square vendors offer fruits and vegetables, honey, maple syrup, plants and flowers, pork products and fish, baked goods, preserves and handmade locally produced crafts. The popular farmers’ market operates every weekend from spring to fall. Saturdays, 8 am to 1 pm., Victoria Day to Thanksgiving.
The St. Marys Farmers’ Market
An exclusively producer –based market, the St. Marys Farmers' Market continues its proud tradition of offering a wide range of fresh, locally produced foods, arts and crafts from around the county. Special events such as their monthly pancake breakfasts, as well as the finest meats, produce and baked goods brought to you by local farmers and other members of the community. The vendors at the market are all local farmers, home bakers and local craftspeople. Saturdays, 8 am to 12 Noon, May 16th to October 31st. www.stmarysfarmersmarket.ca
Strathroy Farmers’ Market
Strathroy Farmers’ Market is one of the area’s oldest open air farmers’ markets and has operated since 1861. The market takes on Market Square behind the town hall in Strathroy on Saturdays from June to October. The market (open 8am–12 noon) is a member of Farmers’ Market Ontario.
Downtown Woodstock Farmers’ Market
Downtown Woodstock Farmers’ Market is a vibrant outdoor local market in the heart of downtown Woodstock on Museum/Market Square. The market features fresh, seasonal produce, eggs, meat, dairy, baked goods, flowers, plants, artisans, crafts and more. Museum Square and Dundas St., Woodstock, May to October, Thursdays 12 noon to 5 pm (sometimes later). www.downtownwoodstock.ca
Grand Bend Farmers’ Market
Nestled on the West Coast of Ontario, the Grand Bend Farmers’ Market welcomes you to a season of fresh, locally-grown produce. The offerings of the 25-plus producer-based vendor group ranges from organic vegetables, beef and pork producers to flowers, bakers, artisans and more. If the vendors don’t grow it, produce it, make it or bake it, it can’t be found at the market. They try to offer a varied selection of products from all areas as we draw from the three counties of Huron, Middlesex and Lambton. 1 Main St., Grand Bend (Colonial Hotel Parking Lot - enter off Hwy 21.) Opens the first Wednesday after Victoria Day and closes the last Wednesday before Thanksgiving. 8 am to 1 pm. www.grandbendfarmersmarket.caPoint Edward Moonlight Farmer's Market
Point Edward Moonlight Farmer's Market to launch on June 25th. Local food will be back in a big way this summer, right under the Bluewater Bridge in Point Edward. Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation is the lead in the new farmers' market featuring an enticing assortment of local products every Thursday evening from 4 to 8 pm, beginning June 25th.
Farmers’ markets have become a favourite pastime. Petrolia also has an open-air market on Saturdays from the end of May to Thanksgiving. The Forest Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market features local producers and artisans showing home-grown local produce and products on Fridays from 8 am to 1 pm. May to October