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SHOP LOCAL: 11 GO-TO FARMERS MARKETS AROUND VANCOUVER

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VANESSA HAWK

JUL 14, 2020

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IMAGE VIA DOWNTOWN FARMERS MARKET | FACEBOOK

There's so much to love about Vancouver's farmers markets. They're great for picking up anything from weekly groceries to picnic supplies or for simply wandering the stalls and grabbing a bite at whatever food truck is parked nearby.

You might assume that most farmers markets set up shop on weekend mornings during the summer. And you would be mostly right. But don’t discount those weekday evening gems and the winter markets that top our all-time favourites lists.

Organic, locally-sourced fruits and veggies, fresh-cut flowers, free-range eggs, AND live music? No, you’re not dreaming. Sling your reusable, eco-friendly bag over your shoulder and stop by the campus farmers market on Wednesdays at UBC Bookstore for nutritional, tasty treats from the UBC Farm and other local vendors. Though, if you want to see where your food is coming from, visit their farm on Tuesday evenings or Saturday mornings from June to November. Fitt Tip: free public tours of the farm are offered at noon every Saturday during the market so you can see exactly where your produce is coming from.

Let’s start with the heavy hitters: the Saturday farmers market at Trout Lake is Vancouver’s largest and longest running. It’s big, it’s busy, and it’s worth joining the crowds (May to October) to check out what’s in season, grab a bite from the food trucks, and enjoy East Van’s little urban lakefront. Still a few items on the grocery list? Chances are, you’ll find what you’re looking for at one of the independent (and affordable!) European grocers along Commercial Dr.

Stay with us, here. The indoor market at Granville Island is, of course, a beloved weekend favourite for locals and tourists looking for fresh produce, gourmet cheese, meats and seafood, baked goods, and artisan, well… everything. But did you know there’s a weekly farmers market that pops up next to the permanent vendors at the Granville Island Public Market form June to September? Stroll the small kiosks and pick up picnic goodies.

The well-known winter farmers market (November to April) at the Nat Bailey Stadium parking lot gets a much more fanfare that its summer Saturday counterpart (April to October) across the street at Riley Park. But that doesn’t mean you have to pick sides — get to know both, and visit the markets year-round. You’ll find organic meat, home-baked goods, preserves, and every type of local produce that grows in this moderate, Northern Hemisphere climate we call home.

If you live in the downtown core, you’re likely not stocking the fridge with farm-fresh produce on the regular. Luckily, the Downtown Farmers Market is super-central (at šxʷƛ̓exən Xwtl’a7shn Square, aka QET Plaza) and draws over 30 farmers and vendors who bring seasonal fruits and vegetables, local beers and wines, as well as ethically-raised meats, eggs, and seafood to the Thursday afternoon market. Discover it for yourself from June to October.

Like our friends over on Granville Island, the Lonsdale Artisan Farmers Market sets up shop on Saturdays (May to October) next to a permanent, indoor marketplace on the waterfront. And while other farmers markets host craft brewers and distillers, this is one of the few with an on-site brewery. Fill up a growler of craft beer or kombucha at Green Leaf Brewing, or sit on their patio after browsing the market’s organic produce, local honey, and fresh salsas for sale. Fitt Tip: along with the Quay Market, this is the top farmers market for handmade pottery, soaps, and crafts.

Situated outside the Pacific Central Station on lower Main St., this Wednesday market won’t be winning any awards for being picturesque. But what it lacks in scenery, it makes up for in location (just steps from the Main St. Skytrain Station), quality (the majority of kiosks are straight-from-the-source producers of local produce and artisanal breads), and convenience (no long lines like some of the bigger spots around town). So, we’d say this place is pretty ideal during the months between June through October.

Running from early-May to late-October, this market has it all. A charming neighbourhood backdrop, fresh fruits and veggies, weekly food trucks, and meat and dairy products that tick all of the ethically-raised/grass-fed/organic/sustainable boxes. And the Kitsilano Farmers Market lives in family-friendly Connaught Park, featuring a playground, splash park, and plenty of green space. Plus, a short trip to Kitsilano Beach can all make this the perfect Sunday Funday.

Located at Guelph Park (that’s the official name of Dude Chilling Park), this farmers market has a small but worthy setup. Food trucks, local butchers, artisanal bread stands, and down-to-earth farmers fill up the Mount Pleasant Farmers’ Market’s little strip of tents. Fitt Tip: the organization that runs most of Vancouver’s farmers markets will test out new vendors at this spot. So use your summer Sundays (May to October) to get to know the up-and-comers on the farmers market circuit.

Just because it rains for six months straight (or maybe it just feels that way?), doesn’t mean we have to put our market plans on hold. Head to the PNE Fairgrounds on Sundays from November through April to pick up wild-harvested produce, artisanal cheeses, and winter produce (that means apples, broccoli, gourds galore, and the almighty kale).

Like its surrounding neighbourhood, the West End Farmers Market is small, quaint, and laid-back. Located on the edge of Nelson Park, this little Saturday market is walking distance from downtown and the English Bay beaches, making it the perfect picnic pit stop. Stock up on pickles, breads, and veggies for those sunny summer beach days where every meal is just a delicious series of snacks.

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