WINTER is officially a memory as we delve deeper into spring weather. Flowers are finally poking through the earth, birds have started singing again, and pollenating bees are buzzing away, which in turn brings us delicious garden food. Whether you love freshly picked juicy berries, crisp colourful crunchy vegetables, pure Canadian Maple syrup, or locally made baked goods, there are plenty of Farmers’ Markets to choose from in Ontario and Quebec. So make room in your car’s trunk and bring a cooler for all the delicious local food you are about to purchase for your family on your next road trip to a Farmers Market.
Byward Market – Ottawa
Image Source: Ottawa Tourism
You don’t have to worry about opening day at “The Market”, as locals call it, because they are open practically all year round. They are one of Canada’s biggest public markets with casual outdoor cafes, upscale dining, nightlife, shopping, unique souvenir stores, specialty shops, and lots of fresh reasonably priced food. Every time my son Noah and I are in Ottawa we stop by the Market, regardless of the season. In the summer we devour fresh apricots, blueberries, raspberries, and all sorts of crisp veggies including multi coloured organic carrots that Noah loves. In the winter we have warm baked bread, hot drinks and famous Beaver Tail pastries. The Market was first established by Lt.-Col. John By in 1826 and is one of Canada’s oldest public markets. It’s right in downtown Ottawa just a short walk from Parliament Hill.
Reesor’s Market and Bakery – Stouffville and Markham
Reesor’s has been a family owned business since 1804 when the owners began farming in the Markham area after their arrival from Pennsylvania. They have two locations, one in Stouffville and the other in Markham, so if you are really dedicated you can drive from one to the other! The Market in Markham opens in June and includes pick your own strawberries and sweet corn. They also sell colourful fresh flowers to brighten up your spring home. Reesor’s Market and Bakery on Main Street in Souffville specializes in local food and Ontario produce and is open year round. They specialize in baked goods like muffins and breads. Some of their delicious bread choices are cranberry pumpkin, spelt, and flax – perfect to make a sandwich for the road trip home!
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Cabbagetown Farmers’ Market – Toronto
This famous Market opens for the season on May 24th and each Tuesday after that from 3 – 7pm. They are located at Riverdale Park West at the cross streets of Winchester and Sumach. There is street parking surrounding the park. Back in 2001 the original farmers’ market was Toronto’s first organic market and formerly called Riverdale Farm Farmers’ Market. It was opened by the late local food activist Elizabeth Harris, and because of her dedication, some original vendors attend the new market today. It’s known as Tuesdays in the park and you can find fresh colourful berries of all kinds, unique veggies still covered in earth, and flowers and plants. The Market supports ecological and sustainable food growing and specializes in getting local food from farmers in Southern Ontario for everyone to purchase and enjoy.
Cambridge Farmers Market – Cambridge
The Cambridge Farmers Market is one of the oldest in Canada and has been in operation since 1830 at the exact same location. They sell European breads, baked goods, maple syrup, and of course their very own freshly harvested fruits and vegetables, with a large organic selection. This Market is unique in that all their vendors are from within a 100 km radius of the actual Market. They are located at the corner of Ainslie and Dickson Streets in downtown Cambridge. You can park behind Cambridge City Hall next door. They are open Saturdays from 7am – 1pm and Wednesdays, their outdoor seasonal market is open from June 1st to August 31st from 8am – 1pm.
Le Marche du Vieux-Port – Quebec City
This famous market is open all year but in the spring they boast fresh fruits and vegetables. Throughout the year they sell local maple products, breads, and assorted wines. They are located in the historic district of the Old Port and built on the site of the old Marche St-Andre dating back to 1841. They are on located at Cidrerie et Vergers Pedneault and there is on site parking.
Montreal Farmers Market – Montreal
This Montreal Market is known as the green eco-friendly hub at the old port. They sell fresh local organic produce, fresh baked goods and many products made right in Quebec. They believe in offering their shoppers local, regional, seasonal, and organic natural foods. They pride themselves on reducing waste and supporting a sustainable food system and only use eco-friendly cleaners and biodegradable/compostable packing to reduce our carbon footprint on the earth. This season they will offer vegan treats due to the demand of plant-based food options. They are located at 400 Rue de la Commune West.
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Jean–Talon Market – Montreal
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This market is a great example of the delicious Montreal food scene. The Jean-Talon Market is the largest open-air farmer’s market in North America and it’s history dates back to 1933. They are open year round but in the spring they sell local fiddleheads and asparagus and in the summer there are lots of strawberries to choose from and fresh local garlic that is sure to add a kick to lots of home cooked meals. The market resembles a small village and is a great place to take kids and let them pick out their favourite fruits and veggies to take home. They are located in the heart of Little Italy at the corner of Henri-Julien Street and Jean-Talon, and offer underground and outdoor parking. So shop as long as you want and get ready to load up your car with goodies!
Bon Appétit And Drive Safely!