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farmers markets

Muskoka Farmers’ Markets for 2013

Muskoka's farmers' markets offer an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables and more (photo: a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/rheaney/4623200857">Ryan Heaney)

Muskoka’s farmers’ markets offer an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables and more (photo: Ryan Heaney)

Whether you’re heading up to the cottage for a summer getaway or just visiting for the day (or even if you live in the region all year long), one of the best ways to get a little local flavour is to attend one of the many Muskoka farmers’ markets. Be sure to visit these weekly gatherings for the best of nature’s bounty!

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Weekend Roundup: September 21 to 23

Friday: Tom Cochrane is one of many performers rocking the Canada’s Walk of Fame Festival.

Friday, September 21st
Celebrate this country’s cultural icons as part of the annual Canada’s Walk of Fame Festival, which showcases popular Canadian performers at venues throughout the city, including a number of free concerts at Nathan Phillips Square. Dance the night away to Suzie McNeil, Tom Cochrane and Jann Arden, just some of the homegrown talent that will be gracing the stage.

Canadian sculptor Evan Penny’s new exhibition of meticulously rendered yet distorted human sculptures opened this week at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Titled Re Figured, the display will alter your perspective of the human form with 30 pieces, including sculptures, photographs and a film about Penny’s work over the past decade.

Toronto’s famed jazz venue, The Rex, holds its annual tribute to John Coltrane this weekend. Juno-winning saxophone players Pat LaBarbera and Kirk MacDonald—alongside the rest of their highly capable quintet—take the stage tonight to honour the celebrated musician. (more…)

Hot Shopping: Shop Like a Chef at the Main Street Farmers’ Market

Fresh, local produce is a mainstay at the Main Street Farmers’ Market

Looking for fresh produce, meats and baked goods mid-week? Locals in the know head to the Main Street Farmers’ Market, running every Wednesday afternoon until Oct. 3. There you’ll find chefs buying from vendors such as Little Qualicum Cheeseworks, The Jam Ladies, French Made Baking, Langley Organic Growers and Take A Fancy Chocolate and Sweets. What you won’t find are the long line-ups common at weekend farmers’ markets.—Sheri Radford

Hot Shopping: Fresh from the Field at the Whistler Farmer’s Market

Farmers' market photo by Chad Chomlack courtesy Tourism Whistler

Locals love the bustling Whistler Farmers’ Market for just-picked fruit and veggies. Purchase a loaf of fresh bread and some home-made jam, then head to the hills for an impromptu picnic. Keep an eye out for handmade souvenirs such as jewellery, candles and art.—Jennifer Patterson

Weekly Planner: June 4 to 10

Pick a pepper (and other fresh produce) at Muskoka's farmers' markets

Our guide to cottage-country events and activities has returned for another summer! Check back every Monday for more timely ideas for family fun.

Support Ontario growers and get some fresh ingredients for this week’s breakfasts, lunches and dinners at a pair of farmers’ markets that are now in full swing. This Wednesday (and all subsequent Wednesday throughout the summer) the Gravenhurst Farmers’ Market operates from from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Muskoka Wharf, while the Bracebridge Farmers’ Market runs on Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Memorial Park.

Stretch out on a blanket at Bracebridge’s Memorial Park bandshell and listen to the acoustic folk sounds of Neil Hutchison. Influenced by the likes of Gordon Lightfoot and Ian Tyson, Hutchison takes the stage this Thursday at 7 p.m.

Grab your motorcycle boots and leather jacket and head on down to the Kee to Bala. Blues singer and guitarist George Thorogood—with his longtime band, The Destroyers—rocks the joint on Saturday, with hits like “Bad to the Bone” and more.

Drive around the region this Saturday and Sunday and take in not only the exceptional natural scenery, but also some great artistic visuals. This year’s Muskoka Lakes Spring Art Tour allows you to visit the studios of 11 top cottage-country artists in Bracebridge, Bala, Port Carling and elsewhere.

The local food movement just keeps creeping ever closer to home; one of the latest trends is to keep a chicken or two right in your own backyard (depending on municipal bylaws, of course). If you’re interested in learning more, regional culinary association Savour Muskoka hosts a poultry workshop on Sunday at Severn Sunset Eco Farm in Severn Bridge, where participants will find out some of the ins and outs of working with chickens, ducks and turkeys.

 

 

Staff Picks: 5 Farmers’ Markets to Fill You Up

Evergreen Brick Works farmers' market (photo by Paul Henman)

To local-food movement is now thoroughly entrenched in our fair city, with professional and home chefs alike seeking out the best Ontario-grown ingredients. Farmers’ markets taking place throughout Toronto are, of course, a great place to pick up fresh produce. They also offer opportunities to take in some real neighbourhood flavour. Read on to discover our five favourites! (more…)

Hot Dates: Richmond’s Summer Night Market

The Summer Night Market in Richmond

May 11 to September 16

Barbecued squid and bubble waffles are just a couple of the exotic eats you’ll find at the Summer Night Market (pictured), deemed one of the world’s best by Travel + Leisure magazine. Foodies and bargain hunters hop on the SkyTrain to taste Asian street food, enjoy live entertainment and haggle with retail vendors over super-cute trinkets and jewellery. The nearby Richmond Night Market (May 18 to Oct. 8) is also worth a visit for snacks, shopping and carnival rides. —Kristina Urquhart

Hot Dates: Handmade Heaven

A Cagey Bee necklace at Portobello West Fashion + Art Market

March 24 to 25

If you’re on the hunt for some locally made jewellery, fashion and art—aka, the perfect souvenir—look no further than the city’s über-popular seasonal market, Portobello West. Each show, held inside the Creekside Community Centre on picturesque False Creek, brings together over 50 artists displaying covetable crafts and wall-worthy art. A few favourites: whimsical necklaces by A Cagey Bee (pictured), graphic paintings by Michael Soltis and hand-dyed, vacation-ready swimwear from Daub + Design. Another hot spot for unique collectibles: the 21st Century Flea Market (Mar. 18). Scour more than 185 booths for retro furniture, kitschy decor, heirloom jewellery, china dolls, linen and lace.—Jennifer Patterson

Markets, Lakes and Gorges: Guelph to Southampton, Ontario

The Southampton shore. (Photo by Alistair Edmondson)

By Meghan Wilson-Smith

Fall driving in southwestern Ontario means landscapes of lush, ready-to-be-harvested fields of rich yellows, oranges and greens, and sunny skies dimpled with heavy wet clouds whisked by on a breeze just cool enough to bring out the wools. Air-conditioning off, windows open, and nothing but the splendor of the great Canadian north in your windshield.

Start: Guelph
End: Southampton
Overnight: Southampton

Get the map.

ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS

1. Guelph is already a pretty special town, a vibrant city core with a popular farmers’ market on Saturdays. It retains many small town values while delivering on big city comforts. It’s also a great take-off point to some of the quaintest of towns en route to beautiful Lake Huron.

2. Just a half-hour outside of Guelph, the town of Elora and the stunning Elora gorge are musts. Heading north on Highway 6 you’ll see a small sign for the Fergus and Mount Forest to the north or Elora to the west. Bend west a bit and head straight to Elora. The town is mostly made of limestone, as if it were an extension of the gorge it sits on. It has lovely shops and great hiking. (25 km)

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Hot Shopping: Grown Here

Photo: Lisa Enman

The Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market may be North America’s oldest farmers’ market but the digs are state-of-the-art. The market recently moved to a new home on the waterfront on Marginal Road. Now open Wednesday and Friday to Sunday, it showcases crafts, cuisine and produce from across the province.

Hot Dates: Night Market

Photo by Danielle Hayes courtesy Tourism Vancouver

To September 11
Scour the stalls at the Chinatown Night Market for traditional crafts and clothes, then tempt taste buds with exotic food finds. Don’t miss the live entertainment that ranges from karaoke to opera to kung fu. Join the throng of locals every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night from 6:30 to 11 p.m. throughout the summer.—Jennifer Patterson

To Market, To Market

A new wave  of farmers’ markets gives locals and visitors more choice and amenities.

By Dan Leahul

In an era of self-checkout grocery tills and the genetically modified dinner, thousands of Calgarians are breaking the mold, eagerly seeking out the faces, and often, the smiles, of those growing their food at their local farmers’ markets.

“Farmers’ markets give people a direct connection with the land, and an even greater connection to the people growing the vegetables and raising the animals,” says John Gilchrist, Calgary food critic and avid farmers’ market supporter. “For city dwellers, that connection to the earth can be tremendous.”

And the city dwellers have responded by creating high demand—two year-round indoor farmers’ markets have opened in less than a year. Plus, there’s a slew of established outdoor markets open seasonally.

Alberta’s significant agriculture industry is often overshadowed by big-business oil, and it can be difficult to peer into our history as farmers and cattlemen where as a culture, our seeds were literally sewn.

“We’re traditionally a farming province—we see the fields and the barns all around us, but we can’t just walk up to the barn and ask to meet the cows,” says Gilchrist. “That’s where farmers’ markets come in. I love meeting the people, and being a farm-boy myself, it’s important to show the farmers that we support them.”

Pay a visit to one of Calgary’s two indoor farmers’ markets or the Crossroads Market—if the noise level doesn’t immediately paint the picture, browse around for a while and it’ll soon become clear that people aren’t just here to shop.

“When you look back in history, everyone went to the market to get their produce and meet their neighbours, and people are just aching for that in the city these days,” says Ken Aylesworth, general manager of the Calgary’s Farmers’ Market (CFM), which in April moved into its swank new 65,000-square-foot digs in the city’s southeast (510 – 77 Ave SE, Thur to Sun).

A number of Calgarians were dismayed to learn about the closure of the CFM in its old Currie Barracks location last December. The market had literally grown too big for its britches, both in terms of size and ambitions. Before the ground had been broken on its new Blackfoot and Heritage location, Aylesworth and his team were at the drawing board, busily recreating the idea of just what a farmers’ market could be.

Despite some delays in construction and funding, the new CFM was well worth the wait. The facility itself is simply stunning. Overhead an ornate trellis system mimics a canopy of trees. In the food court, walls were knocked down to give a wide-open barn feel, while a 45-foot-high ceiling and expansive dormers allow natural light to pour in. The centrepiece is a giant fireplace, which encourages visitors to sit down and meet their neighbours.

There’s also a dedicated place for families, including one of the largest kids play areas in the city. As well, they’ve built a raised stage area to host cooking presentations and educational seminars.

Aylesworth is particularly proud of the market’s “farm gate” concept—a general store in the middle of the market, owned and operated by the CFM, that works with and buys organic wholesale from local producers who don’t have the ability to participate in the year-round market.

“So you can come in and get the little guy that sells his sausage in Rocky Mountain House at his gate and that’s the only place he sells it,” he says. The project advisor is Scott Pohorelic, former head chef at the River Café.

As far as food goes, the CFM has added 20 new vendors to the new location, some of which may be familiar to Calgarians. The Main Dish, a popular deli-style eatery run by Jason Zaran in the Bridgeland neighbourhood, has opened a marquee space in the market. Another famous name to Calgary, Dominique Moussu, will run an  offshoot of his popular French deli L’Epicerie.

The Calgary Farmers’ Market isn’t the only rodeo in town, the Kingsland Farmers’ Market opened the doors to its brand new indoor location on Macleod Trail last December (7711 Macleod Tr S, Thur to Sun).

Run by a former CFM vendor, Tim Hoven of Hoven Farms Organic Beef, the Kingsland Market is warm and welcoming with a constant hum of activity around the vendors. Bright produce pops with colour and the beautiful aromas of freshly baked bread, curries and even cookies lilt in the air.

Some of the anchor vendors include Lund’s Organic Farm, which sells crunchy, deliciously sweet carrots, and Broxburn Vegetables, which has Calgarians salivating at the thought of tomato season each year.

There’s also the Sugar Pie Bakery, run by Sarah Schaus who makes the wildly popular “pie on a stick,” in a variety of sweet and savoury flavours. Kingsland also boasts Calgary’s only Indonesian eatery, Kaffir Lime Indonesian Grill, which sells a number of curry style dishes and also offers takeaway curry packs so you can recreate their recipes at home. And of course, there’s Hoven’s organic beef, serving up some of Alberta’s tenderest steaks. Although the Kingsland Market is small, that’s how Hoven likes it.

“It’s not a big, empty warehouse, it’s a thriving marketplace with a community feel,” he says. “So far the reception has been phenomenal.”

Calgarians take a lot of pride in finding their “own” little source of fine cheese, vine-ripened peppers or French baked goods—and they can be fiercely loyal.

Just look at the Crossroads Market, which has been in business for more than 20 years. Located in a 100,000-square-foot historic building in Inglewood, the market is a labyrinth of twists and turns, with pleasant surprises around every corner. The indoor market is a perfect place to spend a Saturday afternoon sampling Ukrainian poppy seed rolls, and browsing through the flea market’s used books, records, toys, as well as handmade jewellery, moccasians and artwork from the vendors that have come from the far corners of the world.

“What makes Crossroads so unique is not only the diverseness of products, but also the multicultural aspect of the people involved,” says Matthew McDonald, manager at Crossroads Market. “We support people from many different nationalities by providing a facility where they can promote their business, sell their wares, and as well, share their stories.”

Of course, Calgary’s farmers’ markets are selling food—a vast, eclectic and delicious variety of it (just try and leave on an empty stomach). But it’s the stories, and the people, and inevitably, the smiles, that keep Calgarians coming back, week after week.