Often, when people think about summer they think of fun at the beach, ice cream, and vacations. Those things are all amazing and available in our area, but what really gets me pumped up about the nice weather is Farmer’s Markets.
We are so fortunate in Norfolk County to have access to a majority of the fruits and vegetables grown for the entire country and we are even more fortunate that almost every small town in our area has a market. Heck, almost every side road around here has some kind of fruit or veggie stand/shack, which makes getting your hands on some delicious locally grown and cared for food even easier.
Farmer’s markets are also a really great way to support local business people. Farmers work hard all year round to bring us the best possible food for our tables. Often you can find more than just fruits and veggies at these places, such as smoked fish, cured meats, wine, beer, cider, cheese, eggs, fresh baked goods, and even maple syrup. They are basically grocery stores run by our neighbours and stocked with the freshest products available. Sounds like a pretty great deal to me!
This means it’s also a great time to can all of these wonderful fruits and veggies, dry them, or even freeze them. I love to smoke cherry tomatoes and garlic heads in my smoker, pack them in oil, give them a water bath, and use them later on in the year to make corn bread or for charcuterie boards. The options really are endless.
So the next time you’re out for a drive and you see a roadside stand, stop, take a look, buy a fresh snack or veggies for dinner that night and know that you’re getting the freshest food around and also helping to support the county and its love for good food. You’ll probably see me there!
PS. If you don’t know when the local markets run, here’s a schedule:
- Simcoe: 9am-4pm every Thursday, all year round
- Waterford: 4pm-7pm from June until the end of September
- Port Rowan: 3pm-7pm from June until Thanksgiving weekend
- Port Dover: 8am-1pm every Saturday, all year round
Jason Mayo is #NorfolkFlavours Food & Drink Ambassador for Norfolk County. Jason teaches with the Grand Erie District School Board at Waterford High School. He earned the Literacy/Education Award at the Local Food Champions Recognition Day organized by SCOR. Jason has also appeared twice on the TV series MasterChef Canada. His food dream is to get people eating together and enjoying the foods they have around them.