Street markets, swap meets, or farmers’ markets; it doesn’t matter what you call them. If you are looking to help your local economy out at a place where farmers sell their agricultural goods and products directly to customers, you’ve found the right spot.
According to coventmarket.com, farmers’ markets are guessed to have originated in Egypt more than 5,000 years ago.
“Farmers and craftsmen met in urban spaces to sell their goods. Purchases were usually trades rather than money transactions, and goods were said to have been valued by weight,” said the site.
The first farmer’s markets in North America most similar to what we still have around today are dated back to the 1600s and remained the central means of buying and selling food until the early 1900s. With the influx of grocery stores, farmers’ markets began to disappear steadily until the late ‘70s when they started to become popular again. These days it is not uncommon to find more than food. Vendors also sell things like handmade soaps, locally-sourced honey, clothing and more.
Here are just a few of the great farmers’ markets around Brant County, Hamilton, as well as the GTA.
Brantford Farmers’ Market: The Brantford Farmers’ Market is currently open on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Brantford’s market features products that reflect the diversity of the community, with new products introduced regularly. Current offerings include; fresh produce, meats, deli cuts, dairy products, flowers, fresh baked goods, homemade prepared food, and crafts, as well as a breakfast and lunch counter serving hot foods and other natural products.
Brampton Farmers’ Market: The Brampton Farmers’ Market operates on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and runs from June 11 to October 8. The market is located in Gage Park, as well as Wellington Street West. According to the market, despite Brampton not being the most popular place for tourists to visit, the farmer’s market is worth visiting.
Hamilton Farmers’ Market: According to ultimateontario.com Hamilton’s farmers’ market is one of the most historic farmers’ markets in Ontario, having been established in 1837. This market is open year-round, and regardless of season, they tend to have at least 50 vendors. They’re open Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s located in central Hamilton, right beside Jackson Square, and not far from the central branch of the Hamilton Public Library.
Some options include local, national and international foods including produce, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, deli, baked goods, flowers, specialty foods, and artisan handmade products.
St. Lawrence Market: St. Lawrence Market has been a part of Toronto for more than 200 years and is made up one a few different markets. The north market is their farmers’ market, but they also have the south market as well as an antique market.
The north market is open Saturday from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. The south market is open Tuesday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m. Finally, the antique market is open on Sundays from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. The south market features more than 120 specialty vendors with everything from meat and vegetables to grains and fresh baked goods. The north market is known for producers from southern Ontario setting up shop to sell their seasonal produce, which has been a tradition since 1803.
Guelph Farmers’ Market: The market runs on Saturdays from 7 a.m. to noon, and is located at 2 Gordon Street, right in the heart of downtown Guelph.
“It’s a place that you can find fresh fruit and vegetables, try special goods, sample local wine, beer and cider, and more,” reads the site.
They note that it’s, “one of Guelph’s oldest and well-loved community spaces offering fresh local food, artisanal products and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere year round.”
Covent Garden Market: The Covent Garden Market is located in London and it’s one of the most historic farmers’ markets in Ontario since it was established all the way back in 1845. It’s a six-day-a-week market located right in the heart of the city. The indoor market is rocking and rolling most of the time, but they also have a Saturday market that runs in February and March from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Covent Market says farmers’ markets provide the benefit of high-quality fresh products in a social atmosphere.
“Customers who are concerned about food safety can ask questions about production practices, farming techniques, and business policies. In large cities, the farmers’ market may be the only access to fresh produce for low-income, inner-city residents. Farmers’ markets are also excellent educational tools concerning our local economies, farming in general, food systems, environmental issues relating to food production, and general knowledge on food: how to prepare it, eat it and more,” said Covent Market.
Did your favourite local farmers’ market not make the list? Let us know where it is and why you love it by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.