Farmers' Markets Ontario - Come for the freshness... Stay for the fun Farmers' Markets Ontario

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Farmers' Markets Ontario. Come for the Tradition
Today, Farmers' Markets are as popular as ever in Ontario. If you haven't already been to one, head on down to your local farmers' market and see what all the excitement is about.

"Come for the Tradition"

More than 200 years ago, in 1780, Kingston became home to the first Farmers' Market in Ontario. As pioneers settled the rest of the province, the popularity of these markets grew. Their numbers increased continuously until the 1970s when malls began to rule and downtown shopping started a serious decline.

Thanks in part to Farmers' Markets Ontario® and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs that trend is reversing itself today. Local business and community groups in every nook and cranny of Ontario are forming community partnerships with municipal governments and farmers, creating a resurgence in Farmers' Markets that would make our ancestors proud.

Today, Ontario leads the way in Canada in terms of sharing information to aid the renaissance of Farmers' Markets all across the country. Other provinces are catching the spirit, as the word of Ontario's success story spreads.

This rejuvenation in Ontario began in the 1980s and in 1991, the enthusiastic organization, Farmers' Markets Ontario®, was established. The number of markets increased from a low of sixty in the 1980s to three times that number today. New markets are being established and old markets are being revitalized as shoppers across the province discover a more personal shopping experience.

Today, Farmers' Markets are as popular as ever in Ontario. If you haven't already been to one, head on down to your local farmers' market and see what all the excitement is about.

 

Farmers' Markets Ontario. Come for the Bounty
They come to connect with the land, many with their own baskets and bags ready to carry seasonal flavours home to their kitchens -- maybe stopping for a nibble on the way.

"Come for the Bounty"

Come rain or sweet sunshine, fresh picked food is always available at your local Farmers' Market. Fruits, vegetables, meats, herbs, maple syrup and honey draw the crowds no matter what Mother Nature has in store.

All across Ontario, shoppers are choosing Farmers' Markets for nature's best produce, secure in the knowledge that the food is fresh, safe to eat and the next best thing to harvesting it yourself.

People come to meet the vendors who nurtured seedlings into plants, picked the fruit, pulled the vegetables, baked mouth-watering bread and other treats, prepared delectable jams, jellies and other preserves and loaded their trucks early in the morning to bring their products to town. They come to chat, to learn, to leave with tips about perfect ripeness, food preparation and even a recipe or two.

They come to connect with the land, many with their own baskets and bags ready to carry seasonal flavours home to their kitchens -- maybe stopping for a nibble on the way. If you haven't joined them yet, now is the time. Farmers' Markets ... good for the body, good for the soul!

 

 

"Come for the Pleasure"

From Mother's Day celebrations in May to pumpkin contests in October, markets are a place of festive celebrations.

Communities come together in these vibrant gathering places. City folk mingle with country cousins. Children accompany grandparents. Shoppers of all ages and backgrounds rub shoulders as they inspect heaps of produce, blooming baskets and beautiful displays. The neighbourly atmosphere is evident. Heads nod. Smiles are exchanged. Together individuals and families enjoy the colour, atmosphere and character of the marketplace. There is a buzz in the air. Make visiting the Farmers' Market a tradition in your family.

 

Farmers' Markets Ontario. Come for Your Health
Shopping at the Farmers' Market is a healthy decision not only for you, but for your community's economy as well.

"Come for Your Health"

Shopping at the Farmers' Market is a healthy decision not only for you, but for your community's economy as well. For every dollar spent at the market, another two dollars ripple through the provincial economy. In Ontario alone, sales at Farmers' Markets total almost $600 million, leading to an economic impact of an astounding $1.8 billion.

For every one person you see working at the market, another two are busy at work back on the farm. As many as 27,000 people in Ontario are directly involved in preparing and selling the products you find at the market.

Furthermore, Farmers' Markets are good for other businesses too. Studies show 60 to 70 percent of market-goers visit neighbouring businesses on their way to and from the market.

Just as each new season brings forth a fresh bounty of harvest, Farmers' Markets continue to encourage new businesses. Young and old entrepreneurs alike find markets a great place to start their own enterprise because of the low overhead. A number of these entrepreneurial endeavours will eventually grow into store-front businesses of their own.

Just as important, healthy Farmers' Markets support a centuries old way of life: the family farm. While giant agriculture corporations and suburban bulldozers quickly replace family operations throughout Ontario, Farmers' Markets preserve an integral part of Ontario's heritage.

 

Robert T. Chorney,
Executive Director

 


                                                

                                     

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Special features

What's in season & how to use it
Find out what crops are in season now (or will be soon). Learn about Ontario produce and how to pick it and prepare it. Click here to go to the Foodland Ontario website. (It's amazing!)

Want to start a farmers' market?
Find out what it takes (and how long it takes) to start a successful market in your community.
However, before you attempt our questionnaire we recommend that you read our Checklist and Timelines.

Click here
to fill out our online questionnaire.

Join Farmers' Markets Ontario®
If your market qualifies as a true farmers' market, it should be part of Farmers' Markets Ontario® so it can start enjoying the benefits of membership. Click here to find out more.

Special events at Ontario markets
Find out which markets are having special events. Click here for an up-to-date list.