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Farmers’ Markets Worth Visiting in Vancouver & Toronto

Intro

For many Canadians, buying fresh food at a local farmers’ markets is one of summer’s many pleasures. Despite the convenience of grocery stores and supermarkets, the recent impacts of COVID-19 have led many to consider their health, as well as the pros and cons of buying local foods vs. packaged foods. So keep on reading to find out what exactly the differences between fresh and packaged foods are, and the hottest farmers’ markets in Vancouver and Toronto this year! 

What exactly is a Farmers’ Market?

A farmers’ market is a physical retail marketplace, where farmers and producers can sell their food and products directly to customers. Unlike a traditional grocery store or supermarket, farmers’ market’s products are often thought to be fresher, organic, and healthier. 

Here are some benefits of shopping at a farmers’ market:

  • You can save money if you shop smart!
    • Although farmers’ markets have a reputation for being more pricey, their produce is usually harvested earlier that day.
    • So, the oranges you buy from a farmers’ market will last you a lot longer than the oranges from grocery stores which have been sitting in trains or airplane cargo for the last three days.
  • You have unlimited access to organic produce.
    • Apples from local apple orchards, blueberries from local blueberry farms, and wild raspberries that have grown naturally in the field, and the list goes on.
    • Food at farmers’ markets are usually labeled as “ecological” or “certified organic”, and both options are very healthy.
  • Your produce will be more nutritious.
    • Growing produce or food on a farm is an organic process in itself!
    • For example, an apple that has just been cut off from a branch will be much more nutritious than an apple that has been sitting on the shelves for the past two days.
  • Your food most likely will not contain chemical preservatives.
    • The chances of these products being sprayed with chemicals or being modified are very low.
    • You can always ask the producers how they raised their crops, what chemicals are used (if they have used any), and when the food was harvested.
  • You’re helping the earth go green by reducing your carbon footprint
    • Because you’re shopping local, you’re reducing your carbon footprint.
    • According to one report, imported products can travel for thousands of kilometers before landing in a supermarket – that’s incredibly bad for our environment!
    • Local produce also has little to no packaging, so it doesn’t produce as much waste.
  • You’re supporting your local farmers and community.
    • By buying from your local community, you’re supporting them as well.
    • This means that you help entrepreneurs build and diversify your city’s economy.

But I heard that farmers’ markets are expensive…

It’s true that farmers’ markets can cost more than the average run to the grocery store. But keep in mind that it’s a very difficult and expensive process to grow produce organically. For example, many people might not consider the fact that fertilizers, seeds, and other equipment can be incredibly costly. Additionally, if farmers are tending to the fields themselves, they have higher labor costs because they need to buy tractors and other vehicles that will help them grow their food. While you don’t have to shop at farmers’ markets all the time, a visit every now and then definitely won’t hurt, and you’ll certainly be making some healthy choices along the way as well! 

Farmers’ Markets in Toronto

  • Evergreen’s Saturday Farmers Market.
    • The largest farmers’s market in Toronto.
    • Offers a diverse selection of local and seasonal foods.
    • Open year-round (May-November: outdoors; November-April: indoors).
    • Connects the people of Toronto with local Ontario farmers and producers.

Location: 550 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON (M4W 3X8)

  • St. Lawrence Market on Saturdays & Sundays.
    • A weekend outdoor market that started over 200 years ago.
    • Opens at 5:00 AM.
    • Plenty of organic fruits and vegetables.

Location: 93 Front St. E, Toronto, ON (M5E 1C3)

Farmers’ Markets in Vancouver

  • Downtown Farmers Market.
    • Home to some of the finest quality fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as meat, poultry, baked goods, local artisan beer, and so on.
    • Open on Wednesdays from 2 PM to 6 PM between June 1 and October 5, 2022.

Location: 750 Hornby St., Vancouver, BC (V6Z 2H7)

  • Granville Island Farmers Market.
    • Known for its wonderful public market, as well as its culinary offerings and small food-related gifts.
    • Held every Thursday from 11 AM to 4 PM between June and September .

Location: Public Market, 1689 Johnston St., Vancouver, BC (V6H 3R9).

  • Lonsdale Quay Farmers Market.
    • The place to go if you’re looking for fresh, seasonal produce with seaside views.
    • Has plenty of food stalls that not only sell produce and food, but breakfast, lunch and dinner as well.
    • You can buy anything from jam jars to delicious marinara spaghetti sauce to Greek salad dressing.

Location: 123 Carrie Cates Ct., North Vancouver, BC (V7M 2E4)

Sources: Vancouver Farmers Market Guide, Saturday Farmers Market, Sustainable Shopping: Farmers Market Pros and Cons 

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