Running north from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is Ontario’s Greenbelt, part of a two million acre protected green space that encompasses environmentally sensitive areas and fertile farmlands. This land is filled with over 5,500 farms that produce everything from fresh fruits, vegetables, maple syrup, flowers and plants, to dairy, beef, pork, lamb, and poultry. Many communities host local Farmers’ Markets; a place where you can meet the growers, bakers, farmers and winemakers who bring their wares to the table, and a place where you can fill your shopping bags with fresh produce, all while getting to know the people and the places behind the food.
August and September offer a variety of fresh options including apples, beans, beets, blueberries, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn, cucumber, eggplant, grapes, lettuce, nectarines, onions, peaches, pears, peas, peppers, plums, potatoes, radishes, raspberries, squash, and tomatoes. With a dry growing season this year, some produce is coming in earlier and availability depends upon the location of the market and, of course, Mother Nature. Here are a few suggestions for day trips to Farmers’ Markets that sit within Ontario’s Greenbelt.
Photo Credit: Aurora Farmers’ Market & Artisan Fair Facebook Page
Aurora Farmers’ Market & Artisan Fair
Located at the Aurora Town Park at Mosley and Wells Street in Aurora, Ontario.
Open every Saturday, 8 am to 1 pm from May 7 to October 11.
Shop fresh, local food from farmers who sell fresh produce, plants, herbs, flowers, meats, and honey. Grab a snack or lunch from local food vendors serving baked goods, preserves, and on-the-go meals. The market also features artisans offering jewelry, bags, paintings, and other artwork. Watch for the special event days where they provide music, a market bag raffle, and free children’s crafts. To avoid parking tickets, patrons of the market can park at the GO Train parking lot if legal street parking is full. Visit theaurorafarmersmarket.com for more information.
Photo Credit: www.shelburnefarmersmarket.ca/
Shelburne Farmers’ Market
Located on First Avenue West at the corner of Owen Sound Street in front of the Trinity United Church, in Shelburne, Ontario.
Open every Thursday, 3 pm – 7 pm from May 26 until September 22.
The Shelburne Farmers’ Market gives local vendors and farmers a place to come together, celebrate good food, and share their wares with their community neighbours. From fresh fruits, vegetables, and meat and poultry to preserves, honey, flowers, art and wine, the Shelburne Farmers’ Market has everything on your shopping list. Less than 1.5 hours from the GTA, this market is a perfect day trip and shopping destination. Visit www.shelburnefarmersmarket.ca for more information.
Photo Credit: Bolton Farmers’ Market Facebook Page
Bolton Farmers Market
Located at the Municipal Green “P” Parking Lot (near Tim Hortons) in the Downtown Core of Bolton, Ontario.
Open every Saturday (rain or shine), 9:00 am to 1:00 pm from June 4 to October 8.
The Bolton Farmers’ Market has been bringing locally grown and produced foods and crafts to residents and visitors of Caledon since 2009. This market is primarily a “first producers” market, allowing residents and visitors the opportunity to sample and purchase locally-produced goods directly from the source. The vendor list is varied: arts, crafts and photography, animal treats, bread and baked goods, body products, cured and fresh meats, fruits and vegetables, prepared foods, cheeses, honey, and wine! Many special events take place throughout the season including local music and cooking demonstrations. Be sure to check their online calendar for more details: www.boltonfarmersmarket.ca
Photo Credit: www.newmarketfarmersmarket.com
Newmarket Farmers’ Market
Located at the Newmarket Riverwalk Commons (corner of Doug Duncan and Timothy St.), in Newmarket, Ontario.
Open every Saturday, 8 am – 1 pm from May until October.
At the Newmarket Farmers’ Market, you will find that the farmers, vendors, and volunteers have created a market reminiscent of those from the town’s historical past. A place to purchase not only farm fresh produce, but home-made baking and hand-made crafts. It is also a great place to meet up with friends and family over breakfast or lunch. This market, founded in 1999, boasts 40+ vendors, affords shoppers the opportunity to win a bushel of free produce and crafts each week, and has a Master Gardener and a Nutritionist on hand to answer any questions. They also have special events; check their website calendar for times and dates: www.newmarketfarmersmarket.com
Photo Credit: Port Perry Farmers’ Market Facebook Page
Port Perry Farmers’ Market
Located at 121 Water Street, on the Waterfront in downtown Port Perry, Ontario.
Open every Saturday, 8 am to 1 pm from June until Thanksgiving.
The Port Perry Farmers’ Market sources locally grown farm fresh fruits, vegetables, and produce. Their vendors also sell meat, flowers, herbs, homemade baked goods, and preserves. Bath and body products are available in addition to personally produced arts and craft products. Port Perry is about an hour northeast of Toronto, a short drive to a wonderful shopping destination. For further information, please visit www.portperryfarmersmarket.ca
Pickering Farmers’ Market
The Pickering City Centre Farmers’ Market is next to the Civic Complex, in the City of Pickering, Ontario.
Open every Tuesday, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm from June 14 to October 4.
The Pickering City Centre Farmers’ Market continues the tradition of a unique outdoor community market where you can experience local fresh produce, food, the arts, and sustainability in the heart of the City. The vendor list includes fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, baked goods, home, and gift items. There are also many special events available during the day including buskers, children’s activities, and special guest appearances. Please refer to their website for specific details. Parking is provided on the south side of The Esplanade South. There is limited ‘on street’ parking for patrons as well. The Pickering Town Centre mall parking lot will also be available for market patrons. Pickering is only a 45 minute drive east from the GTA, an easy and family fun, day trip. www.pickering.ca/en/FarmersMarket.asp