Vancouver’s location in the world leaves little to be desired. Flanked by mountains, the Pacific Ocean and surrounded by some of the most fertile land in the country via the Okanogan – we have an abundance of everything delicious imaginable. The local farmers markets at this time of year are brimming with the fruits of their labour – literally!
One of the best aspects of shopping for your weekly groceries at the farmers market is that you can truly eat with the season. Every week or two another in-season item will pop up to replace springs early offerings. This time of year we are enjoying Asparagus, Cauliflower, Cherries, Chinese Vegetables, Chives, Cilantro, Lettuce, Peas, Potatoes, Radish, Rhubarb, Rosemary, Sage, Salad Greens, Spinach, Strawberries, Thyme, and Turnips!!! Phew!! That is just JUNE! Come July and August a new bounty will be available such as tomatoes and basil, as well blueberries, raspberries, summer squash and much more.
Supporting our local farmers allows for us to one, create and connect with where our food is coming from, second ensuring that the revenue stays in the hands of those whom grow the food, and three create a true sense of community. Each area of Vancouver and outlining areas offer amazing farmers markets all summer long and well into the fall. Some vendors move from one market to another and offer a schedule of when and where they will be at yours. Others hang close and do one market all summer long. Fresh, local, delicious – and a great way to spend your Saturday or Sunday morning before the inevitable Vancouver Brunch rush! Slap on your sun hat, bring your re-usable bags and get ready to be surrounded by smiling faces, fresh coffee, baked goods, local artisans - all to the stylings of the local banjo player. Sounds like a great morning to me!
Here are some of my favorite markets for you to check out……
Ambleside Farmers' Market – SundaysMarket Season: Every Sunday from May 4th to Oct 26th
Hours: 10:00 – 3:00 pm
Location: 1500 block Bellevue Avenue, West Vancouver
Ambleside Farmers' Market has a great location by the water on the near Ambleside Park and the Sea Wall Walk. They have an amazing selection of Organic and Conventional Farmers selling produce, fruits and berries, plus Prepared Food vendors with breads, fish, jams, beef, honey, vinegars, pickles, salsas, pastas & baking and a great variety of artisan's selling jewelry, pottery, artwork, skin care and much more.
This market is one of my favorites, based on its location and the fun, free vibe. You will get the chance to talk to the farmers and learn about their product and how best to use it, exchange ideas, meet your friends, bring your kids to play at their all day craft tent, or relax with a massage fully clothed!! Have a snack, coffee or tea, listen to great live music, dance, read local papers, play crib, chess or scrabble and generally have lots of fun! Make it a whole day event and plan to eat your finds as a picnic along the shores and enjoy the ocean and mountain views.
Trout Lake (East Vancouver) Farmers Market - SaturdaysMarket Season: Open every Saturday from May 10th to Oct 18th
Hours: 9:00 – 2:00
Location: Lakewood Drive and 13th Avenue, Vancouver
More than a market – this place is a community institution! This market is situated near the colourful and vibrant Commercial Drive district and is truly a destination for both locals and visitors alike. They offer a great selection of organic and conventionally grown produce and nursery items as well as meat, cheese, seafood and prepared foods of all sorts. High quality local craft is also available and perfect for those looking to do more than grocery shop!
You will be able to enjoy local entertainment by acoustic musicians and the kids can have their face painted or get a balloon animal from the resident balloon sculptor. A few food trucks and trailer’s offer up on-site hot food and coffee for those a little bleary eyed on an early Saturday morning pilgrimage. Make a day of it and visit the beautiful Trout Lake Park complete with an off-leash dog park and beach with picnic area. Trout Lake Market has been honoured as one of Canada’s best farmers markets for many years. Parking in the area is a bit limited, so I suggest getting out the bike, take a walk, or hop on transit to the area.
Twilight Markets – The Shipyards Night MarketLocation: Shipyards beside Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver - Shipyards Plaza 15 Wallace Mews, North Vancouver
Hours: Friday Night markets 5pm - 10pm May 2nd - Sept 26th, 2014
For those who like to have lazy weekends sleeping in and drinking coffee, a night market may be just your thing! Beautifully situated one block east of the Lonsdale Quay and the Seabus terminal on North Vancouver's waterfront is the newly developed Shipyards. Rich in history and risen from the ashes of the great shipbuilders and times gone by, it's a wonderful homage to the workers and elements that built this city, a history not to be forgotten, and a pretty amazing setting to boot! Established just last year, the night market was a huge success and is back for another year. Chalk full of over 80 rotating vendors, 30 rotating Food Trucks, 5 hours of great live music, and a slew of Local Artisans, and what…wait…yippee a BEER GARDEN!
There are Activities for all ages! I loved the live music and party vibe and getting a chance to select from the wide array of treats to eat right then, or to take home and sample later. I found the most amazing cookies, a great hand tooled leather belt for my Dad, and quite simply the most sublime snow cone I had ever had! The music is really the draw with folks dancing the night away. Even though there is a beer tent the vibe is family oriented and full of every age range. Come tap your toes from the side lines enjoying your treats or get up and boogie. All are welcome and it is a great addition to the now bustling and expanding Quay area.
One thing is for certain, that every market is not only a destination but a wonderful escape and journey with and towards our neighbours. Such a great way to stop, relax and smell the flowers. See you there!