It’s hard to beat the selection and atmosphere at farmers’ markets

Jun 2024

Summer’s here and that means farmers’ markets are in full gear, with local vendors offering everything from fresh-picked vegetables to specialty honey, meat, scrumptious baked goods, handicrafts and much more.

Farmers’ markets aren’t just about the items for sale, good as those generally are. They’re also fun places to visit with your family, friends or just on your own, places where you can chat with the farmer or artisan, learn about their business, discover why they love what they do and realize we’re all part of a larger, vibrant community.

Shopping for food at farmers’ markets is different from heading to a big grocery store. Be aware that the smallest crowds and sometimes the best selection is found early in the day. You may spot vegetables and fruit you’ve never tried before, so take a chance on trying them (you can ask the vendor about the best way to prepare them for your table). And don’t forget your reusable bags. More shopping tips here.

The Ottawa area brims with smaller farmers’ markets along with the large, seven-day-a week ones like the ByWard Market and the Parkdale Public Market in Wellington West. Many smaller markets are open only on weekends or one day a week or even one day a month, so check before heading out. Here’s a list of some local markets, many of them in the east end of the city. An online search will yield more across Ottawa, from the Carp Farmers’ Market in the west end to the Manotick Farmers’ Market in the south as well as in smaller towns throughout Eastern Ontario.

Cumberland Farmers’ Market

Located at the Cumberland Arena, 1115 Dunning Road, this popular market is open Saturdays and features agricultural products from fruit and vegetables to hot sauces and coffee along with clothing, jewelry, wood handicrafts, body care items, pottery and even books. The market launched in 2006 as a pilot project and has become a community fixture.

Ottawa Organic Farmers’ Market

This operation, which has been running for more than 30 years, brands itself as the “small, friendly family market.” It’s open from 10 a.m. to noon every Saturday year-round. Vendors sell certified organic meat, baking, fruit, vegetables and olive oil. You’ll also find preserves, artistic cards and more. The market is at 3191 Riverside Drive (Riverside United Church).

Orléans Farmers’ Market

More than 35 local vendors offer seasonal produce, meat and dairy, baked goods, prepared foods, crafts and more, all produced within 100 km of Ottawa every Thursday in the parking lot of the Ray Friel Recreation Complex, 1675 10th Line Road.

Lansdowne Farmers’ Market

Open every Sunday from May to the end of October, this market in Lansdowne Park’s Aberdeen Square bustles with more than 85 vendors and a welcoming, personable vibe. It features fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy and meat farmers, honey producers, brewers, craft vendors, prepared food and more. There’s also a food court and musicians. Like the Orléans Farmers’ Market, Lansdowne is part of the Ottawa Farmers’ Market organization that includes locations in Old Ottawa East, Westboro and Barrhaven.

Original Navan Market

Branding itself the biggest farmers’ market in Ottawa and the surrounding area, this venue at 1279 Colonial Road is open once a month from May to November. It supports more than 200 vendors carrying a range of agricultural products, bread and pastries, beauty and skin care products, crafts and more. As a bonus, there’s live entertainment in the licensed domes area, a youth entrepreneur section and a family fun zone. A new location at Hammond Golf, 600 Golf Road is scheduled to open this season.

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