This is the final post in my Fall Harvest 2013 Series. I hope you have enjoyed the bountiful autumn blogs. Being one of my favourite times of year, in this post I want to share with you – how you can enjoy visiting both Farmer’s markets and farms this Fall.
Looking for the perfect butternut squash, picking apples, navigating the corn mazes and walking through pumpkin patches…some of the fun fall activities we get to enjoy with family and friends this time of year in my community. Personally, I love to savour the beautiful Fall colours walking along the Walter Bean Trail and the Grand River. So let’s explore visiting the farmer’s markets and local farms…
- I live in a community with a large rural population including traditional (old order) Mennonites which has its pros and cons. Let’s focus on the pros for this post. The number one pro is this environment allows for numerous ways to buy farm fresh meat, cheeses and produce. For the produce, this is true when the growing season is favourable and this year has been very good!
- Within the twin cities of Kitchener Waterloo there are two farmer’s markets. The Kitchener Market and the St Jacob’s Farmer’s Market (Canada’s Largest Year-Round Farmer’s Market). Unfortunately, in early September, the two-storey structure that housed over sixty vendors in St. Jacobs was lost to a fire. Fire officials estimate the fire caused about $2 million in damage. The outdoor vendors are assisting, as well as many parts of the community are working hard to get things back on track. All the best!
- It is wonderful to enjoy the diverse produce at the peak of its flavour. My go-to has always been the Kitchener Market, as I find the St. Jacob’s Market too large and touristy for a quick produce run. Over the years, I’ve found preferred vendors for apples, beets and basil. My market trips during the Fall are often weekly – buying the mutsu apples for my crumble recipe and the extra basil to make pesto for the pasta recipes (stay tuned for more pasta recipes in my next blog post series – Tuscany Food and Wine based on my holiday in September).
Now – share with me your favourite farmer’s market and why it is your favourite!
- Many farms are open for visitors and customers at this time of year. You can pick apples, hang out in a pumpkin patch, stock up on a wide variety of locally grown meats (VG Meats is one of the best vertically integrated family farms in Ontario), farm fresh eggs, breads and delicious other foods like honey. There are numerous websites online to ‘Find a Farm’ for your visit, and if you live in Ontario – try the Ontario Farm Fresh site.
- Some farms offer activities and classes for the whole family. The great corn maze is always a favourite in my community. It is open four days a week from Labour Day to the end of October and is great fun for the kids. Other farm locations offer pie making, how to preserve, photos in the pumpkin patch and how the great crops of Ontario farms are grown.
Grab a map (or the GPS) and take a drive to a farm this Fall.
Savour the fresh air and fresh food of this rural adventure!