Eating local is easy with Guelph’s abundance of farmers markets

I love starting out summertime Saturday mornings by assembling a list, gathering up market bags and choosing a local market to visit.   The list usually falls by the wayside at first glance of the abundance of fresh produce, fruit, breads and unusual meats….did I have smoked rabbit on my list last week when I ventured out to the new Aberfoyle farmer’s market?  Picking up beautifully colour coordinated collections of flowers fresh from someone else’s garden to brighten up my house  always feels like a treat    Wrapping up the market shop, with a cup of tea, and  accompanying indulgence of a freshly baked pastry punctuates it perfectly.

Ontario food reflects the arrival of spring and summer, with asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, kohlrabi and peas begging to be steamed and tossed in butter as side dishes.  Cucumbers and lettuce fresh from the farm are just perfect to eat on steamy summer days,  and fresh herbs such as parsley, basil and mint will perk up marinades or provide a final flourish when scattered over soups and Middle-Eastern dishes.  Recipes are plentiful for all the finds at local farmers markets.   Pop in to see what’s on offer, as new markets have emerged in a neighbourhood near you.

•  Aberfoyle Farmers Market

Saturdays, 8am to 1pm, 23 Brock Road, S and Wellington Rd. 34, Aberfoyle, http://www.afma.ca

A farmer-first market, Aberfoyle vendors are family run and independent businesses passionate about their products.  Freshly picked garden flowers, a ‘Sweet Temptations’ stall selling only to-die-for cupcakes,’Get Baked’ has unique baked goods including fruit scones combined with cheese from ‘Best Baa Dairy’  and scrumptious cookies.  Join the growing line for bread made by  Bin 23 chef, Dave, who bakes several different types every week, with his own milled flour.   A great place to stock up on jams, marinades, smoked meats, fresh lamb, produce, fruit, then sit a spell with a coffee and listen to the live music.

 •  Elora Market

Saturdays, 9am to 1pm, Grand River Raceway, 7445 Wellington Rd 21, http://www.elorafarmersmarket.com

I haven’t visited the new location yet, but once I do, will add some details to this listing.

 •  Guelph  Farmers Market

Saturdays, 7am to 12pm, 2-4 Gordon Street, Corner of Waterloo Ave, Guelph, www.guelphfarmersmarket.com

 With over one hundred vendors, this historical market has everything you need , as well as a great  place to eat your breakfast and run into family, friends and stock up for the week.   Always a delight to visit on a saturday morning.

• Norwich Neighbourhood Market

Wednesdays July 20 to Oct 1, 3pm to 7pm at Islamic Society of Guelph parking lot, 126 Norwich Street East, right next to the walking bridge and Arthur Street .

Brightly coloured patchwork bunting marks the entrance to this neighbourhood market. Organic vegetables and fruit are the main feature, and availability depends on what is in season. This time of year, the market may feature red and golden beets, carrots, raspberries, blueberries, ground cherries, baby bok choy, kale, burgundy beans and potatoes. Alex and Dan Catering sell frozen prepared foods such as Maple Pumpkin Soup, and Veal Stew. Another neighbourhood vendor  sells chutneys, jams, preserves, and home-baked breads and buns. This is a family-friendly venue on a quiet street so visit with your children and pick some fresh, healthy produce. Tips on how to cook an unfamiliar vegetable are readily available too.

•  Victory Public School Neighbourhood Market

July to October, Wednesdays 3pm to 7 pm, 135 Exhibition Street, Guelph, on the playground of Victory Public School, opposite Exhibition Park www.gwfrt.ca

 What a delight to have the option of an outdoor mid-week market in downtown Guelph, featuring local farm fresh products.  This particular market just opened this week , and I haven’t visited yet, but will visit next week, and report back with details of what is available.

• Waterloo Avenue Neighbourhood Market

Wednesdays from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m., until the end of October, at the Wellington Chiropractic Centre parking lot, 121 Waterloo Ave., across from the Guelph Farmers’ Market. http://www.backyardbounty.ca

Backyard Bounty shareholders pick up their weekly shares at this location, and the surplus is sold.  There is an abundance of fresh produce for sale, depending on what is in season:  mesclun mix, arugula, cucumbers, fresh basil, tomatoes, onions, squash, turnip, burgundy beans, raspberries, and ground cherries.

for more information:  www.guelphwellingtonlocalfood.ca

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About The blog of travel & lifestyle journalist Melody Wren

Melody is a freelance writer because she believes that work and fun should not be mutually exclusive. She writes about travel, food, lifestyle and green living. Melody loves staying in a place long enough to get acquainted. Local customs, markets and traditional cultures are magnets for this writer. When not writing she’s either on the road, in the air, or savoring something tasty. Most of her travels feature outdoor adventures of some sort, although she typically avoids sleeping on the ground. She is an ordinary person that enjoys challenging and pushing herself, facing fears with an eye on experiential travel. She needs to do it, feel it and see it so she can write about it. Her hope is that her stories encourage readers to get out there and do the same.
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