Did you know that farmers’ markets are more popular now than they were just a few years ago? Yes, it’s true. Markets are popping up in many communities all across Ontario and beyond.
Why would this be, in this time of super-sized grocery and big box stores? I think it’s because more and more consumers are looking to make the connection to where their food comes from.
They’re becoming more informed about their food and why it’s important to buy local. They want an opportunity to eat farm-fresh, locally grown food and to get know those who produced it on a personal level. Farmers’ markets are one of the ways we consumers and eaters are making that connection.
Farmers’ markets have been a favourite way of shopping for me for many years. It has just become part of my routine when food shopping for my family. When I think of farmers’ market shopping, I think of a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, knowledgeable farmers/vendors and fresh, top-quality food!
I had a great opportunity recently to sit down and talk with one farmers’ market manager/vendor, Susan Wilding of the Algoma Farmers’ Market, which operates out of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. She told me that the Algoma Farmers’ Market has existed since 1901, with the Wilding family involved with the market since the 1920s.
Susan says that it’s really a heritage market, where area farm families have been part of the tradition for generations, and that it’s very encouraging to now see many of the younger generation taking an interest and continuing the tradition.
She said the current Algoma Farmers’ Market, as it is now, was really revived in 1988 and hasn’t looked back since. While the market operates year-round, it’s in the spring, summer and fall that it really hums with activity.
The market vendors have formed an association and abide by a common philosophy and constitution, whereby everything sold at the Algoma Farmers market is grown, produced, or made in the District of Algoma by primary producers/vendors selling their own products, or those of their neighbours. There are no “re-sellers” at this market.
With 19 to 20 vendors during the busiest season, it’s a small but mighty market. Vendors offer a great deal of variety of food and craft products, including local honey, maple syrup, fruits, vegetables, herbs, smoked fish, preserves, and home baking, as well as unique craft items like handmade soaps and hand weaved rugs. All vendors have been certified by the Algoma Health Unit.
- By Sandra J. Trainor
Read the full article about the Algoma Farmers’ Market