Posted: Sunday 18th May, 2014

Barrie Farmers Market

One of my greatest joys while writing for Simcoe Dining has been discovering the rich relationship that exists between myself and those that grow and produce the food I eat as it makes the way to my home. I attribute this in part to my Saturday morning treks to the Barrie Farmers Market, reusable shopping bags in hand.

When I moved to Barrie and first discovered the Barrie Farmers Market, I also quickly learnt it was a great way to motivate my teenaged daughter to get up and moving on a Saturday morning! Shopping for food at a farmers market is a far more pleasurable experience for me than pushing the cart around a grocery store. Developing and nurturing relationships with said farmers and growers has educated my mind, enriched my diet and helped my local economy.

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When days grow longer and the sap starts to flow, we are tempted by the sweetness of spring and the golden glory of the syrup that will soon follow. The Barrie Farmers Market honoured this yearly celebration recently with the “Marvelous Maple” festival , paying homage to the syrupy sweet goodness of our glorious maple trees.

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This yearly seasonal rite proved inspirational to many vendors as maple based products both sweet and savory were abundant. Williams Farms offered “maple taffy on snow”, Cheeky Treats had amazing maple bacon cupcakes, Brian Payne had magnificent “Maple oat bread”, and the sold out sign for SoupHerb’s weekly hot soup, complete with a tangy maple glaze, was a sure sign that maple is a very popular flavour.

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Community is built at a farmers market, and the long tables set up inside the rotunda at city hall provided ample space for families to sit and enjoy the special $3.00 brunch of pancakes and sausages alongside the sweet treat of ice cream with maple syrup!

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Market Manager Lucy Ricardo shared with me that the Barrie Farmers Market events are an opportunity to “introduce the community to local food’, both “food to eat on the spot and food to take home to cook”. “It is a great opportunity for people to explore local food, to cultivate relationships with farmers and producers and feel good about what they are eating”. The Barrie Farmers Market “Harvest Daze” event in the fall is another fabulous Saturday morning, when the vendors have the abundant bounty of the growing season available for the public to purchase.

As Simcoe Dining readers know, I am a strong advocate for local food, and as a regular shopper at the Barrie Farmers Market I am thrilled to put my money where my fork goes.

The relationships we develop with the farmers and producers of our food extends into our kitchens and the kitchens of the restaurants in our community too. Many of the Chefs and Owners of Barrie’s finest dining establishments purchase from the same farmers market vendors.

This support can have a phenomenal impact on our community.

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As Lynn Ogryzlo, who was named Ontario’s Local Food Ambassador by Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association states in the $10 Challenge; “If every household in Ontario spent $10 a week on local food, we’d have an additional $2.4 billion in our local economy at the end of the year.”

The Barrie Farmers Market recently caught the attention of Nigel Napier-Andrew, host of “Escapes with Nigel” and was captured on film for one of the upcoming episodes found at www.escapeswithnigel.com.

A true farmers market has a majority of vendors who are farmers, some vendors who sell prepared foods, and artisans who offer handcrafted wares. The Barrie Farmers Market has over fifty vendors, literally everything from “soup to nuts”; bread and baking, chocolate and cupcakes, fruit and veggies galore. Poultry, fish and meat, honey, perogies, plants and flowers, amazing prepared foods, pretzels, fine art, jewelry, crafts and woodworking.

The Barrie Farmers Market has been a fixture in our city since 1846 and this history assures that there will always be a place for those that grow the food to have a place to sell the food in the city core. The market runs year round, inside the city hall rotunda from the first weekend in November until moving outside the first weekend in May. Market hours are 8 am till noon. Frankly I wish the market would stay open a wee bit longer to give late risers the opportunity to discover the joy of shopping locally.

Saturday mornings at the Barrie Farmers Market; make it part of your family’s weekly routine.

www.barriefarmermarket.com

*Our Barrie Farmers Market is open year round. Over the summer months I plan on exploring other farmers markets in Simcoe County.

Written by: Penelope Morrow

Penelope Morrow is a writer, editor and food aficionado from Barrie, follow her tweets @penelopejmorrow

Photos by Celeste Morrow-Bailie – CMB Photography

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