5 places for fresh produce
Posted on July 21, 2021 | By Ashley Fitzpatrick | 0 Comments
From crisp greens for a tossed salad to the taste of a juicy strawberry right off the vine, summer is a joyous time when it comes to fresh produce. There are plenty of places to go looking for local. From 1943, when Robert George Belbin and his sons started Belbins Grocery, or 1947, when Frank Sobey opened the first Sobeys supermarket in Atlantic Canada, grocery stores have come a long way. But so too have local farm markets. Here, we offer a few market stops for your seasonal travels that you may or may not be familiar with. The selection includes family farm markets, multi-farm co-operative efforts, rural retreats and city spots. Use this summer as an excuse to find some new, favourite producers, or just enjoy that moment where you think “wow” and say: “you grew this?”
Mark’s Market–Wooddale, N.L.
Chris Oram and Kayla Arsenault have put a lot of sweat equity into the growth of Mark’s Market, but their efforts have not gone unnoticed. Oram was just 24 when he took over the family farm and its 56 acres from his father and long-time farmer Richard Oram. Rather than have the farm and market stick to traditional vegetables like carrot, potato, turnip and cabbage, the operation built on an existing reputation for quality produce and expanded into more greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts and kale, as well as trying more exotic (for the area) offerings. In recent years, the market has also made space for products from other producers, from Deer Lake to Cormack. Mark’s Market also embraces agri-tourism, so a stop isn’t complete without a little time for the strawberry U-Pick or (knock on wood as vaccination rates rise) the beloved pumpkin patch.
TapRoot Farms Shop–Port Williams, N.S.
Selling online with Noggins Corner Farm Market, TapRoot Farms is an independent operation with produce also available through locations around Nova Scotia including the Organic Earth Market and Local Source Market in Halifax and Pete’s in Halifax and Bedford, so you can try the goods even if you can’t make it out of the city. But the real experience is a stop to the seasonal farm stand on Church Street in Port Williams. TapRoot is led by Josh Oulton and Patricia Bishop. Per their site, Oulton grew up on his grandfathers’ farms in Windsor and then worked on local dairy farms. Bishop grew up on Noggins Corner Farm and worked the multi-generational family farm while growing up. Both completed post-secondary studies in agriculture and Bishop also studied Education, bringing that interest to the farm operation in the form of farm tours ($20 and book ahead) and internships. TapRoot is special not just in its owners’ longstanding ties to Nova Scotia agriculture, but in the interest in offering others a closer look at organic crops and the working, family farm. Artists in residence have drawn inspiration from the efforts on site. And if you think you might even be interested in Annapolis Valley farm life, book the Swallow’s Nest, a guest house that’s a five-minute walk from the main farmhouse. You can get a look at the daily routines without having to chip in. But whether it’s red beets, green zucchini or Roma tomatoes, the takeaway from a farm stop is worth the time.
Riverview Country Market—Charlottetown, P.E.I.
Canada’s Food Island has a wealth of fresh produce at any time, but the summer season makes it almost inescapable. In the hunt for a good market, you might try a Saturday morning stop to the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market, but the Riverview Country market on Riverside Drive also offers a grand collection of goods from all around the Island. The Riverview is farmer owned and operated, offering up everything from Valley Mushrooms to A-OK Gardens spinach. Not to ignore the fruits, as recent social media posts have featured peaches, blackberries, red cactus pear and Minneola oranges. The market offers organic product. Enjoy as-is or get some inspiration for a future menu at the on-site café.
Nabuurs Gardens Farm Market–Montague, P.E.I.
If you’re on the Island and just want out of the city for a bit, think of the Points East Coastal Drive. With more than 50 beaches in the area and boasting the warmest waters north of the Carolinas, it’s not hard to see how you might make a day of it. Along the way to a beach boil up or looking for a couple of local flavours for the evening meal, consider Nabuurs Gardens. The location has a garden centre with beautiful flowers, but also a farm market housing produce in season, starting in June. Selection changes as new crops are harvested from the family farm, but fresh goods are also welcomed from other P.E.I. producers. There is a café on site, in case the fresh corn, peas and lettuce has you craving an immediate veggie fix.
The Dieppe Market (Marché de Dieppe) – Dieppe, N.B.
New Brunswick’s Dieppe Market is a place for variety. The market is managed by Really Local Harvest, a co-operative of about 30 farms from throughout Southeast New Brunswick. Apart from the variety of produce available Fridays and Saturdays, the market prides itself on its cultural diversity, with a recent market including vendors with roots in at least 17 different countries. The market’s diversity offers strength in the occasional demonstrations on site of how to prepare meals from different cultures, but also in the variety of hot dishes fully prepped each market day. The Dieppe Market promotes a sense of community online, through its blog and newsletter offering the stories of new and longstanding vendors, and tips for making best use of market products at home.
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About our “5 Places” series
It’s been a difficult period for small businesses, particularly in tourism and hospitality. While it’s not deep investigation, we wanted to encourage the sector by taking a moment each week to shine a spotlight on some of these small businesses in Atlantic Canada, “5 Places,” with the hope of encouraging people to make some staycation plans and get out to support local (albeit with COVID and related restrictions in mind). We’re featuring spots in no particular order, but with representation from all provinces. The series will continue at least until fall 2021, looking at some hidden gems or popular stops for ice cream, kayaks, comics and more. Any tips on BIPOC-owned businesses, ideas for future themes or general feedback are welcome: [email protected].
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