10 Must-Visit Farmers’ Markets in Every Province
Is there anything better than strolling through a farmers’ market on a sunny summer morning? From new destinations to markets that pre-date Confederation, these are more than just charming spots to grab some tasty treats.
Farm and Market, Clarenville, Newfoundland
At non-profit Farm and Market, set up on the edge of Clarenville along the Trans-Canada Highway, ambitious goals are served up next to local produce and crafts. In addition to hosting the market, they are also growing their own vegetables—and storing them. Their Elliston-style root cellar (named after the town dubbed “The Root Cellar Capital of the World” for its distinctive earth and rock storage systems) is home to squash, fennel, kohlrabi, root veggies, and greens, all stored on-site for maximum freshness. Visitors can enjoy about three dozen market booths, plus nutritional programs, entertainment, and consultations with master gardeners.
Wolfville Farmers’ Market, Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Located in the heart of Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, the Wolfville Farmers’ Market draws producers from some of Canada’s richest farmland (and students from its next-door neighbour, Acadia University). More than 50 vendors are represented and the market boasts fruits and veggies, baked goods, meat, dairy products, and prepared food items. Grand Pre Winery, headquartered just down the road, has a booth to sell its beloved Tidal Bay white wine. Meanwhile, the on-site Farm and Art Market Store showcases frozen foods and pantry supplies, plus pottery, soap, candles, jewellery, and art. Additionally, a “2GO” program brings pre-packed boxes of market goodies to locations across the region, so that farmers can reach a wider market and customers have more opportunities to support local vendors.
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Woodstock Farm & Craft Market, Woodstock, New Brunswick
For nearly 50 years, the Woodstock Farm & Craft Market has been putting this small western New Brunswick town on the map. This grassroots organization started with just eight vendors at its inaugural market in 1973 and has grown into a full-time operation, with a permanent home, year-round service, and vendors taking turns with administration and maintenance chores. Some of those early market participants are still active today, including Van Dine Quality Dry Beans, which serves up heirloom products in the form of their “Soldier”, “Yellow Eye” and “Jacob’s Cattle” dried cooking beans. The market’s space also hosts special events, including a maple syrup festival, fundraising dinners and weddings.
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Charlottetown Farmers’ Market, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
With over 60 vendors, Charlottetown’s beloved market is the largest in the province and one of the biggest in eastern Canada. Set up downtown next to University of Prince Edward Island, local delicacies include shellfish, blueberries, and—of course—potatoes. Grandma Jaworski’s Foods, recently raised thousands of dollars for the Red Cross’s Ukrainian relief efforts by offering up their popular pierogies in exchange for donations. Another vendor, Gallant’s Shellfish and Seafood, always attracts a long line, selling bacon-wrapped scallops, crab cakes, and seafood chowder. Community is at the forefront here and the market recently partnered with the Abegweit First Nation Mi’kmaq Wellness Centre to improve access to local food. At present, 55 fresh food baskets are being distributed to Abegweit families every two weeks.
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Marché Wakefield Market, Wakefield, Quebec
Starting with just six vendors in 1997, this southern Quebec village along the Gatineau River now hosts one of the most popular markets in the region. Visitors to the Wakefield Market can expect about four dozen vendors, representing everything from coffee and kombucha to honey and haskap berries. It’s known as a prime spot to stock up on garlic scapes come late spring. The market also features a community table available to charities and non-profit organizations for fundraising, promotional and educational purposes.
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Photo: Facebook.com/coventgardenmarket, @helmrach
Covent Garden Market, London, Ontario
Established in 1845, London’s Covent Garden Market is one of the oldest in Canada. The permanent indoor space in the city’s downtown features more than 50 merchants and services, as well as 18 restaurants, plus an outdoor market space. Noteworthy booths to check out include Hot Oven (which makes phyllo pastry dough by hand—a painstaking process!) and Chris’ Country Cuts (a butcher shop selling Cornish hen, rabbit and bison). All outdoor market vendors come from southwestern Ontario, which greatly adds to the spirited atmosphere, as does the skating rink which takes over the outdoor market space come winter.
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Le Marché St. Norbert Farmers’ Market, Winnipeg, Manitoba
St. Norbert Farmers’ Market might be located in a busy provincial capital but the emphasis is on the community with the goal to provide marketing opportunities for small producers in a cooperative environment. As such, farmers, producers and markets from small towns, including St. Adolphe, Starbuck, St. Léon, and Killarney, come together in Winnipeg’s south end and have been doing so since 1988. Together, they form the largest farmers’ market in the province, serving up delectable treats like cottage cheese and farmer sausage perogies from Pembina Valley Pastas, and Deb’s Meatbuns, dinner roll-like snacks stuffed with mashed potato, ground beef, and onion.
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Prince Albert Farmers’ Market, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
At this cozy market next to the Cooke Municipal Golf Course, you can still find homemade pies for as little as $10. Locally raised meat, honey, garlic, pickles, preserves, freshly baked bread, and cut flowers are just some of the treats on offer. However, the true star of the show at the Prince Albert Farmers’ Market is the spudnut. These sweet, delicate, donut-like treats are made from a special blend of potato flour rolled into a thin loop before they’re deep-fried and coated with icing.
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Grande Prairie Farmers’ Market, Grande Prairie, Alberta
You’ll know you’re there once you spot the big red barn. Since 1974, the Grande Prairie Farmers’ Market has been meeting on a weekly basis and has become a bustling hub for eating, entertaining, and fundraising. Popular vendors at this downtown space include Tamarack Jack’s (which sells mead) and Shady Orchard & Winery (which serves up fruit wines including chokecherry, wild blueberry, and Saskatoon berry-raspberry wines).
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UBC Farm Market, Vancouver, British Columbia
The UBC Farm Market isn’t your typical farmers’ market. For one thing, they have two locations. Once a week, they set up shop outside the University of British Columbia bookstore (lucky students!) and then also offer twice-weekly markets at the UBC Farm. That they’re set up at the farm itself is also a bit of a rarity. “We are the only market located on a working farm, which is unique to Vancouver,” says Kyne Tsai, community-supported agriculture and Saturday market manager. “As our farm is more about research and learning, we have researchers at our markets this year giving tours.” In addition to selling produce, meat, baked goods, artisan products, and more farm market classics, they also have some funky events, like a contest showcasing weird and oddly-shaped vegetables.
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