Chris Neil autographs his biography at the Flesherton market during Chris Neil Day on June 23.
BY SOUTHGREY.CA STAFF –
It’s been a good start to the 2018 season for the Flesherton and District Farmers’ Market (FDFM). Warmer-than-usual weather and an impressive selection of vendors has made this year a great time to check out the market open Saturdays from 8 am to 1 pm from now until Thanksgiving.
Once again, the market was recently awarded “true farmers’ market" status by Ontario Health Inspection. All food sold in Canada must meet the requirements in the Food and Drugs Act regardless of where the food is produced or sold, but in Ontario, farmers’ markets must obey certain rules if they want to maintain “true farmers’ market” status.
Now in its 28th season, the FDFM has successfully maintained that status every year. The market is held to account annually by the Ontario Government by trained provincial health staff who visit the market, inspecting each vendor to ensure health requirements are being met and regulations regarding food handling and proper signage, labelling and packaging of products are being adhered to.
“We go to great lengths to obey the rules,” said Ron Barnett, manager of the FDFM. That “true farmers’ market” status is very important to us. It is the reason why people come to our market eager to buy fresh locally grown fruit and produce directly from the source. We are the real deal.” A trip to the market also helps support local growers and producers.
A selection of potted herbs ready for a home garden available at the market.
Some of the locally-grown produce found early in the season includes lettuce, kale, rhubarb, strawberries and asparagus. The market is also a great source for locally produced honey and maple syrup as well as locally-raised beef and fish.
More than 50% of the market's vendors must grow or produce the products they sell, allowing for up to 25% of their booth space to be augmented with product not grown or produced by the vendor but may be unavailable locally.
Other vendors sell fresh-baked breads, pies, jams and smoked meats with many of the ingredients locally sourced. A full selection of items is completed with handmade crafts, stained glass, original art and unique one-of-a-kind treasures. With so much to offer, the market should be a part of everyone’s routine.
Farmers’ Markets Ontario (FMO) echoes these sentiments and lists many reasons to love farmers’ markets. “Shoppers love them because they can buy top-quality farm-fresh products directly from the person who produced them. Farmers love them because they’re fun and let them connect with consumers who love what they sell. Communities love them because they bring people together and provide economic benefit to local businesses.”
Leann Alp hams it up after winning the market's weekly hidden treasure hunt prize.
“It is also a great place to meet friends every week,” Barnett added, noting the social aspect that is shared by farmers’ markets across the province. With many events scheduled for the remainder of the summer and fall, there is no shortage of reasons to visit every week.
A "Kids’ Day" is planned for July 14 with giveaways and activities for the young ones. "Books and Authors Day" will happen on July 21, a perennial favourite where local authors display and discuss their works. On August 11 residents are encouraged to bring their gently-used items to the market for a collective yard sale while “Sundae on Saturday” promises to be a special day to enjoy some delicious ice cream with proceeds going to the Chapman House Residential Hospice. "Dog Day" is another fundraising event slated for August 25 featuring animals from the local pet rescue, samples and treats for our furry friends and inspirational “hot dog” meals for the whole family.
For vending inquiries or other information including events and community booth opportunities, contact Ron Barnett at 519-924-0777.
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