Just because it's winter doesn’t mean you have to return to eating 100,000-mile foods. As the demand for local and seasonal food grows, farmers’ markets across the country are staying open well into in the fall and even right through the coldest, darkest days of winter. And don’t think that eating locally raised produce means a steady diet of roots, tubers, apples and cabbage. Growers are responding to customer demand investing in new ways of farming that extend the growing season, such as cold frames, hoop houses and of course, hot houses.
We’ve gone shopping for the best selection from coast to coast so you can keep delicate local greens and beefy Canadian tomatoes on the menu this winter.
British Columbia: Vancouver Winter Farmers Market
OK, these folks have a pretty easy time of it even on the worst days of winter, but still, it’s nice to get in out of all that West Coast rain.
When: Open from November 5 to April 28, every Saturday from November to April, except December 24th and 31st
Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: In the parking lot and plaza of Nat Bailey Stadium (Ontario Street at 30th Ave).
What’s in store: Locally grown vegetables and fruit; meat and seafood from local ranchers and fishermen, artisan cheese and bread, herbs and seasonal nursery items, baked goods, prepared foods and artisanal crafts. Stay a while for the hot food and drink vendors, and market musicians.
Alberta: City Market Downtown
Many markets around Alberta offer one or more days around the holidays to shop for local provisions for the big feast, but this one—Alberta’s oldest market at 111 years old—is open all year. And who wouldn’t want to escape a blisteringly cold Alberta winter day while gnawing on a strip of local bacon jerky?
When: May long weekend - Thanksgiving, daily 9a.m. - 3p.m. (outdoors). October 13th - May 2013, daily 10a.m. - 3p.m. (indoors).
Where: 104th St., Edmonton, Alta.
What’s in store: Olives to apples, mittens to hand crafted jewelry. This market is truly a market and meeting place for artisans, chefs and producers.
Saskatchewan: Saskatoon Farmers’ Market at River Landing
When we think of Saskatchewan, we can’t help but think of local Saskatoon berries—and pie. Surely a warm slice of freshly baked pie is the perfect wintertime treat. Of course a scoop of vanilla is merely an artful nod to the endless miles of snow-covered prairie, right?
When: Winter schedule runs from October 7, 2012 to April 27, 2013, Sundays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: 414 Avenue B South, Saskatoon
What’s in store: This year-round market was founded in 1975. It’s a member-owned, non-profit co-operative offering the best and freshest local agricultural products, baked goods, prepared foods and crafts. And yes, there are pies. Tables and tables of beautiful, fresh, Saskatoon berry pies.