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Fresh, Local, and Delicious: Kawarthas Northumberland Farmers’ Markets

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Fall is here, and with it a bounty of fresh local food. If the harvest makes you think it’s time for a visit to your nearest farmers’ market, you’re in luck – Kawarthas Northumberland has offerings large and small throughout the region. Some have longer seasons than others, so you might just find your new go-to place to shop year-round on this list.

Until Covid-19 precautions are lifted, of course, it’s best practice to check for updates on dates, times, and special protocols for all the below markets as they may request additional safety measures or be subject to change.

Peterborough & the Kawarthas

Peterborough locals are spoiled for choice when it comes to farmers’ markets. The Peterborough Farmers’ Market has operated for decades at Morrow Park, emphasizing quality local foods and crafts.  The outdoor market is open rain or shine on Saturdays from May 1 to October 1, but moves inside come November so it can operate year-round. You’ll find a range of fresh produce as well as amazing delicacies like woodfired sourdough bread from Lakefield’s Hardwinter Bread Co. and premium fruit wines from Buckhorn’s Kawartha Country Wines. You’re also likely to hear cheerful live music from a talented busker or two.

The Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Market offers downtown shoppers access to another incredible roster of local producers. Launched in 2018, the PRFM supports local vendors who grow or raise their own product. It also serves as a space for community groups, creating a festive and inviting atmosphere. The market runs 8 AM to 12 PM on Saturdays, outdoors at Citi Centre (245 Charlotte St.) until October 1. It will move indoors to Peterborough Square at 340 George St. N come November (check for the PRFM website for details). You’ll find farm-fresh groceries from vendors like McLean Berry Farm and OntonaBEE Apiary, as well as prepared foods from the likes of Fresh Urban Plate and La Mesita. Some vendors are providing pre-order options during the pandemic to increase the speed of transactions and limit the chance of contact.

If you’ve got other plans for the weekend, the Peterborough Downtown Market is an excellent way to pick up fresh food midweek. Open every Wednesday from 8 AM to 1 PM at the courtyard of Peterborough Square (corner of Charlotte St. and Water St.) until the end of October, you’ll find everything from seasonal veg to ethically raised meats to prepared lunches.

Looking for options outside of urban Peterborough? The Lakefield Farmers’ Market is another source of organic produce, baked goods, prepared foods, and more. You’ll find them at 20 Concession St. every Thursday until October 8.

Northumberland County

The Cobourg Farmers’ Market is one of Ontario’s oldest, with a pedigree that dates back to 1839. Produce, meats, cheese, flowers, baked goods, and more are all available here, and the 100% producer-run market is committed to keeping things local. Vendors include Wicklow Way Certified Organic, who raise over 300 varieties of vegetables and 50 varieties of heirloom tomatoes on their farm, and Doo Doo’s Bakery, whose famous butter tarts regularly sweep the tasting competitions. The market operates outside at 213 Second St from May through October, Saturadays 8 AM to 12 PM, and moves indoors November-December. In the era of Covid-19, you can check the vendor listings and arrange a pre-order to guarantee a safe and timely pickup.

Meanwhile, nearby Port Hope has its own weekend offering. The Port Hope Farmers’ Market runs every Saturday from 8 AM to 1 PM, May to October, in the parking lot behind Town Hall (56 Queen St). The market’s Facebook page frequently posts updates about in-season fruit and veg, so if you’re looking for recipe ideas (potato leek soup, anyone?) or keen to know exactly what varieties might be on offer locally it’s worth a visit.

There are a lot of reasons to visit Campbellford (see our Trent-Severn Trail Town post to read about a few more), but the Campbellford Farmers’ Market is one of the big ones. From May-October, on Saturdays from 9 AM to 12 PM, you’ll find all manner of homegrown goodness such as grass-fed lamb from Braelea Acres and wildflower honey from Howson’s. The market’s REKO system remains open for customers who prefer to preorder and arrange a pickup rather than shop on-location.

Kawartha Lakes

The Lindsay Farmers’ Market was established in 1859, and they’ve kept a good thing going through to the present day. Over thirty-five vendors gather every Saturday from 7 AM to 1 PM on Victoria Ave. between Kent St. & Peel St. For the time being the market is only open to food vendors, but when possible it will offer fair trade organic coffee, furniture makers, and other local art again. The season ends in October, so check them out before November hits and stock up on quality Ontario foods. Lindsay is a Trent-Severn Trail Town – see here for more info.

Fenelon Falls is another Trent-Severn Trail Town with a farmers’ market to increase its appeal. The Fenelon Falls Farmers’ Market runs Fridays and Saturdays 9 AM to 2 PM from May-October at Bond St. and John St. You’ll find organic beef courtesty of O’Brienview Organic Farm, local garlic from John’s Garlic, baked goods, and more, all sold with the promise that products are either homegrown, homemade, or locally produced.

The Kinmount Farmers’ Market boasts a particularly scenic location. Located in Austin Sawmill Heritage Park (5 Station Road), you can pick up a little local history while you pick up dinner fixings. The market runs 9 AM to 2 PM on Saturdays until Thanksgiving. You’ll find of produce, meat, and local artistic creations, produced to the same high standard you’d expect from some of the region’s top vendors.

Although this list is extensive, it’s not complete – there are other excellent farmers’ markets in the region, though some operate at a smaller scale or have closed temporarily for the 2020 season. Explore your local area and you may find an option even closer to you!

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