Shoppers are flocking to Peterborough's verified local farmers' market
By Barb Shaw - KawarthaNOW
Published August 21, 2018
Only two months after opening in their Citi-Centre Courtyard space in downtown Peterborough, the Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Market is enjoying a harvest of success.
Governed by the Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Network (PFRN), the new market has been building trust with patrons while supporting primary producers, who go through a complex verification process before they are allowed to participate.
“We are a verified farmers’ market,” explains PFRN Board Chair Neil Hannam. “This is about local food you can trust.”
“We are a verified farmers' market. This is about local food you can trust.
And trust is important to shoppers in the community, judging from the outstanding success of the market since its debut in early June — despite there already being two other farmers’ markets in Peterborough.
Operating on Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. in a family-friendly and accessible space that nurtures community interactions, the Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Market is booming.
There’s little doubt that patrons of the market are connecting with the idea of buying directly from the farmer who grew, raised, harvested, or foraged the products that are being sold.
That’s because 60 per cent of the vendors at the Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Market are primary producers who have gone through a third-party inspection process to verify they grow 100 per cent of what they sell.
Each primary producer must be verified either under MyPick®, a program started in 2006 by Farmers’ Markets Ontario, or another accepted third-party verification program.
Besides being a verified market, the Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Market has also quickly become a social asset for the community.
The design of the market provides areas where shoppers can sit, eat, visit, engage, and linger. There’s a festive atmosphere featuring live music, and the market is family friendly, with a kids’ zone that includes crafts, colouring, and water toys.
And, most importantly, there’s the food, with so many different flavours — including some you wouldn’t expect to find at a local farmers’ market.
Like agretti, which is grown locally using seeds imported from Italy. Also called saltwort, this salt-tolerant succulent has a lemony flavor that shoppers are going crazy for. There’s also cinnamon cap mushrooms (they are great in risotto), lion’s mane mushrooms (offering a tremendous amount of protein and mouth feel to vegans), sprouts, and even squab (young pigeon).
And thanks to the focus on 60 per cent of the market being represented by primary producers, hard cider is now available, as well as coffee from Carolinas Colombia which has been growing coffee on their own farm in Colombia and selling roasted coffee in Peterborough since 2012.
The market is also encouraging innovation and growth, with local farmers developing and building passive solar-supported greenhouses, so that local greens are now available eight months of the year.
According to Hannam, the Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Market looks forward to more collaboration and growth as more and more foodies, families, and eco-conscious consumers make it their Saturday destination.
“It's about enjoying the experience, slowing down, and having tons of fun.”
“It’s about enjoying the experience, slowing down, and having tons of fun,” Hannam says. “This is not just about feeding stomachs, it’s also about feeding minds.”
The Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Market is located at 307 Alymer Street North in downtown Peterborough and is open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.
For more information, visit www.ptboregionalfarmersmarket.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For highlights of what’s available at the market and updates, you can also follow the market on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.