Sunday, July 21, 2024

Farmers’ Market Season is Here Again

By Stephen Vance, Editor

For the past eight years, the beginning of June has marked the opening of the Meaford Farmers’ Market at the Rotary Harbour pavilion, and today market organizers are set to begin their ninth season.

As far as community initiatives go, Meaford’s farmers’ market is a genuine success story. It’s no simple task to get a farmers’ market off the ground, but what started as a quaint little market, has blossomed into a festive, bustling Friday afternoon event throughout the summer months.

In the early years market patrons might have found 15 or 20 fabulous vendors at the farmers’ market, but as the popularity of the Meaford Farmers’ Market has grown, so too have the number of vendors. Market organizers announced last month that more than 40 vendors will be part of the market this year, and while much of the focus of a farmers’ market is rightly directed at the locally grown produce, and locally raised meat products that are available, Meaford has managed to attract a wide range of vendors as well as local artisans who showcase their products on Friday afternoons.

Perhaps my favourite thing about Meaford’s farmers’ market is that while it is a fantastic place to shop for local food, most often Friday afternoons at the harbour feel like more of a party than a retail establishment. Live music featuring local musicians, a story-time tent for the youngsters, numerous special guests and exhibits, along with some fantastic ready-to-eat food vendors create a festive atmosphere that you might not expect from a farmers’ market. Of course, Meaford’s market benefits from location, location, location with its harbour views, proximity to downtown, and plenty of room for parking.

There is also something comforting about talking to the person that planted and harvested the tomatoes you purchased, or to know the name of the farmer that raised the lamb that you can’t wait to serve to weekend guests. The more we know about the our food producing neighbours, the more we can appreciate what it takes to get our food from the field to the table, and the more local food producers know their customers, the better they are able to serve them.

Beginning today at 3 pm our favourite market vendors return, and there will be plenty new vendors to discover. Consider becoming part of the weekly party that is the Meaford Farmers’ Market. Just like The Meaford Independent, Meaford’s farmers’ market is truly local, truly independent, and community is what they are all about.

I can already hear garlic scapes calling my name.

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