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Where to find the best local markets in Ontario.

Miriam Porter July 22, 2017
A young woman buying vegetables at a farmer’s market.
Ontario is home to many unique markets where you can pick up delicious locally grown produce, rare hand-made crafts, fresh flowers, herbs, and gifts of all kinds. A visit to a local market is also a wonderful opportunity to meet farmers and artisans and connect with the community – not to mention a chance to try new foods. Farmers Markets are popping up all over Ontario, such as the latest weekly market in Toronto at Corktown’s Underpass Park. Underpass Park Farmers’ Market is open Thursdays from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. from July 20 to October 19, 2017. Shopping local has a positive impact on the environment by minimizing transportation costs and excess packing waste while supporting local economies. Many of these markets are open year-round while others operate seasonally during summer months, so now is the perfect time to plan a road trip to one of these Ontario towns and stock up on homegrown goodies.

Gravenhurst Farmers’ Market.

This cottage country seasonal farmers’ market is open Wednesdays from May 17 to October 25, 2017, between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. This popular market opened in 1992 and attracts cottagers, tourists, and locals looking to buy fresh Ontario produce. Located in the heart of Muskoka at the Wharf they also sell baked goods including gluten-free options, flowers, woodcarvings, jewellery, pottery, pickles, sauces, and even cat and dog treats for your favourite feline or canine friends. Gravenhurst Farmers’ Market was voted best seasonal Farmers’ Market in Ontario in 2001 and welcomes 80,000 people annually.

Aerial view of Gravenhurst Farmers’ Market.

Cambridge Farmers’ Market.

One of the oldest markets in Canada dates back to 1830 when the Cambridge Farmers’ Market first opened. The indoor market is operational year-round on Saturdays from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and seasonally (June 7 to September 13) from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. There are homemade crafts, baked goods including fresh European breads, ethnic foods, and seasonal fruits and veggies. Their healthy assortment of crops coincides with the seasons and it’s all listed online so you can start planning your pies and jellies accordingly. July is a good month to purchase cherries, strawberries, field tomatoes and cucumbers. In August, get ready to pick up apples, broccoli, plums, potatoes and sweet peppers. Regardless what time of year you visit, it’s guaranteed you won’t be hungry by the time you leave.

Strawberries and blueberries on display at a market.

Welland Farmers’ Market.

For those hungry and devoted patrons that want to get an early start to the weekend and first pick of fresh produce, this year-round local market in Welland opens on Saturdays at 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Local artisans have been selling a huge assortment of fresh local fruits and veggies here since 1907, and the Welland Farmers’ Market is one of the largest in the Niagara Region. Their mission is to encourage a sustainable agricultural food system while helping the environment through supporting the local economy and the farmers selling their produce such as blackberries and peaches. It’s also a fun place to socialize and learn about the surrounding local communities.

People walking around Welland Farmers’ Market.

St. Jacob’s Farmers’ Market.

Get ready for row after row of vendors both indoors and out every Thursday and Saturday starting bright and early at 7:00 a.m. – “farm time”, as the locals call it. Their special Tuesday Summer Market is open from mid-June to August 29, 2017, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Not only is St. Jacob’s Farmers’ Market the largest year-round market in Canada, this bustling shop strives to provide locally sourced in season produce such as the carrots, chard, peppers, cauliflower, and garlic from vendors such as 100 Mile Produce – a small farm in Huron County. There are also plenty of ready-to-eat foods for sale, so bring your appetite and stay for the day to explore nearby St. Jacob’s Village and hike the River Trails.

Exterior St. Jacob’s Farmers’ Market.

Byward Market.

Ottawa is the place to be this summer for continuous birthday celebrations to honour the Great White North, so why not stop at the world famous Byward Market for some fresh locally sourced produce? There are over 260 farmer and artisan stands, so you are sure to find crispy veggies and sweet fruits to temp your palate.  They are open seven days a week year-round with their produce changing seasonally. It’s also the perfect location to pick up some Canadian maple syrup and a Beaver Tail pastry. With over 600 businesses on site, visitors and locals also enjoy the unique shopping, arts, dining, museums, and entertainment. “The Market”, as locals call it, was first established by Lieutenant Colonel John By in 1826, and like the market in Cambridge, is one of the oldest in our country. In fact, Lieutenant Colonel By personally laid out the street plans for this Ottawa market when he wasn’t busy building the now famous Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that winds through Ottawa’s charming downtown core, and a must-visit attraction regardless what season you are in town.

People walking around Byward Market.