Saturday, 28 July 2007

A Visit to Hamilton Farmers' Market

Another (Satur)day, another farmers' market - this time the Hamilton Farmers' Market. We came down Highway 6, exited at Plains Road West, turned onto York Boulevard (there was a brief moment of confusion until I realized there was York Road AND York Boulevard) and cruised along York Blvd until some very clear signage suggested it was time to park. We found a street spot with no trouble, and since it was Saturday we didn't even have to feed the meter.

It's advertised on their sign as the Farmers' Market and Library, but the the market is definitely the more prominent of the two.

Whoah! It's HUGE! We can walk down a ramp here...

or up the ramp here... mostly the butchers on the upper level, although a few other things as well...

or take a peek over the side and see what treats await us down below.

Not only is it quite a large market, it is much more of a fixture throughout the week than most farmers' markets. The good news is that that means a much wider range of foods in addition to convenience for shoppers as far as when they can show up. The bad news is, that not all of it is local, seasonal food by any means. There are a number of sellers who advertise their own local produce, in addition to quite a few who clearly import most of their stuff. However, even when shopping at the booths that offer local produce, you have to watch out - a lot of them have brought in supplementary products. When in doubt, ask.

The Hamilton Farmer's Market also has a large selection of prepared foods and baked goods - I saw some rotisserie chickens that looked mouthwatering, although we ended up getting a selection of goodies from a place that seemed mostly Indian, but who also had Philipino and Jamaican choices as well.

Many of the local producers of food seemed to be not only farmers, but processors or small business people as well.

If we lived in Hamilton, I am sure we would shop at the Farmers' Market regularly. However, I did notice that the prices were considerably higher than we have been paying at the other markets we have been to. This was in no way a budget-saving maneuver.

Still, we came home with a great selection of goodies - I'll be canning those sour cherries and making another batch of pesto for the freezer; and there should be a chicken dish, peas, and a whole bunch of summer squash coming later in the week, bacon, tomatoes, carrots, not to mention the peaches and apricots. The flour is arepa (corn) meal. The label says product of Canada; but who knows if that means grown here, or just milled here. I'll see if I can find out.

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