Profiling Farmers' Markets across Canada (Part 1)

By the Canadian Federation of Agriculture

It's that time of year once again! With the arrival of warm spring weather, many farmers look forward to connecting with their customers at local farmers’ markets. Known for bringing together a vibrant mix of food, culture and community spirit, farmers' markets are a community cornerstone in many parts of Canada. And, of course, they're among the best places to get fresh, local produce to suit even the most discerning of shoppers. Markets are also a great way to meet the people that grow your food and learn a little bit about the process that goes into their work day-by-day.

In celebrating the 2017 market season, Farm-to-Table is profiling some of the most interesting farmers’ markets in our diverse country. We're publishing a three-part series of articles, starting with our first 5 profiles showcasing markets in Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, Fredericton, and Saskatoon. Stay tuned for more profiles next month.  

Get inspired and check out the markets in your hometown!

Photos from @vanmarkets on Facebook

Vancouver Farmers Market (Vancouver, British Columbia)

Founded in 1995 Vancouver Farmers Market is the youngest market on our list. But in those 21 years, they have expanded considerably and now feature eight weekly markets, with annual vendor sales reaching up to $8.17 million.

With that amazing success, they haven’t stopped supporting their local producers. They are quick to note the importance of local agriculture in the economy, citing that buying from the market helps contribute to the $15 million of direct and indirect benefits to the local economy that the market provides.

Photo by Matthew Houston

Parkdale Farmers Market (Ottawa, Ontario)

Established in 1942, the Parkdale Farmers’ Market may not be the largest market in the Ottawa, but it compensates by being open seven days a week, 12 hours a day and focusing entirely on locally grown produce and flowers. Every stall is lined with rows of corns, tomatoes, potatoes and berries.

“We don’t just bring vegetables, we bring community,” says Viki Rochon, who has been set up at the Parkdale market for five years. Her farm has been selling at other markets since 1957.

She says the main reason to work at the farmers’ market is money (of course), but what she really loves is developing relationships with the people that come to her stall.

“Lots of our regular customers like our produce, and our attitude.”

Photos by @worth_y on Instagram

Crossroads Market (Calgary, Alberta)

Calgary’s largest year-round indoor/outdoor market has a lot to offer. With over 150 antique and craft vendors, it’s just as likely that you pick up a new armoire as it is you grab a fresh carrot.

For Neetu Chahal, a farmer who has been selling at the Crossroads Market since 1995, the best thing about the market is that he gets to put his personal touch into the food.

“You can tell the customer how it’s grown, from where it was planted to what kind of chemicals we’re used and why,” says Chahal.

“It’s really cool that people get to see that.”

Photos from @FrederictonFarmersMarket on Facebook

Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market (Fredericton, New Brunswick)

Boyce Market’s proximity to the ocean allows for it to feature ultra-fresh seafood as well as local produce. Open every Saturday from 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., it is THE spot to pick up what you need for the weekend, or even the rest of the week.

The selection here is impeccable; bread, cheese, meats, vegetables, giant lobsters and their famous samosas are all available and you won’t find better quality anywhere else.

Photos by Kenton Doupe

Saskatoon Farmers’ Market (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan)

“Make it, Bake it, or Grow it and Sell it” is the motto of the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market, and highlights their commitment to giving their consumers close, personal contact with the people who make their food.

Situated in a renovated electrical garage that links to the Market Square, the space allows for both interior and outdoor market spaces where you can find buskers, face painters and tons of other entertainment.