GET THE FRESH GOODS - THE COBOURG FARMERS' MARKET
Exploring the Cobourg Farmers Market
You are what you eat. And what better way to get your fresh food than straight from the farmers and other producers, home grown in Northumberland County, and of a quality that is among the finest in Ontario?
The Cobourg Farmers’ Market, one of the oldest Farmers’ Market’s in Ontario – it has been around since 1839 - is entertaining, educational and definitely edible. It is open every Saturday morning from May to December.
On the early May morning that Sara and I visited, we were immediately impressed by the number of vendors and the variety of their offerings, especially so early in the season. My first impression when I entered the market was the atmosphere – it felt like a street festival. Happy shoppers were browsing the stalls, and vendors were chatting with each other and with their customers, catching up after a long winter. Free samples were being offered. Musicians were playing. Everyone was enjoying being outside in the open air, wandering among the stalls.
Even though it is early in the season for the bulk of the fresh produce, the variety of foraged foods and other offerings more than satisfied. Fiddleheads and ramps, watercress and dandelion greens, different varieties of mushrooms, plus the more traditional carrots and potatoes, asparagus and rhubarb. As the growing season gets started, these vendors’ tables will soon be overflowing with the bounty of delicious produce grown locally in this region.
The scent of the heirloom varieties of tomato plants is one of my favourites, a tangy, citrusy scent that to me, is right up there competing with the scent of lilacs for “top scents of Spring”. This scent filled the air, and lured me to the tomato plant vendors like a bloodhound. Amongst the many heirloom varieties available, I was even able to find my personal favourite tomato, the Cherokee Purple. I bought a couple of plants and they are now growing happily in my garden. Well at least I think they are happy. In addition to tomatoes, vendors were also selling mini pepper plants, eggplant, herbs and multiple varieties of flowers to plant straight into your garden. There were stunning fresh cut bouquets of lilac, tulips and daffodils. There were tables laden with freshly baked goods, pastries and gluten-free breads. Other vendors offered locally made cheeses, jams, dips, spreads, maple syrup and honey. There were natural soaps in a dozen different scents, body creams and salves. Even fresh, locally raised beef, pork, and lamb, and free range eggs were on offer. And let’s not forget the booze – there were vendors selling hard cider and wine. One vendor was selling warm, buttery, sausage rolls, the delicious aroma of which also wafted across the market (here comes the bloodhound again).
Another vendor was offering freshly made donuts. Local artisans were offering their wares including lovely jewelry, beautiful hand carved wooden cutting boards and rolling pins, and textiles.
At the Forager’s Farm stall I learned about simmering chagas to make a healthy tea. At the Empire Cider stall, I discovered how they use honey to naturally carbonate their hard cider. We sampled hummus, and locally produced honey. And I decided that I “needed” some of the award-winning butter tarts from Doo Doo’s bakery. It was definitely the right decision. Always trust your instincts.
In addition to great produce and other products, the Cobourg Farmers’ Market offers a wonderful sense of community. The vendors are knowledgeable and friendly, and are happy to answer questions or offer advice.
They care about their community, and are committed to offering high quality locally produced and locally grown goods. Going to the Cobourg Farmers’ Market makes me excited about fresh food, excited to cook, excited to try new flavours. It is inspiring, and it does not get any more sustainable than this.
Every weekend the Cobourg Farmers’ Market has different offerings like face painting or colouring for children, guest chefs demonstrating recipes made from market produce, and local artisans offering workshops and demos. And of course the market is always seasonal and always local. Grab a coffee and a reusable bag, and wander the market- it is a great way to spend a Saturday morning in Cobourg.
COBOURG FARMERS' MARKET
OPEN EVERY SATURDAY, 8AM -1PM, MAY TO DECEMBER
LOCATED BEHIND VICTORIA HALL, AT THE CORNER OF SECOND AND ALBERT STREETS