Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Market enjoying a harvest of success

Shoppers are flocking to Peterborough's verified local farmers' market

By Barb Shaw - KawarthaNOW

Published August 21, 2018

Judging from its success to date, the Peterborough Regional Farmers' Market's "local food you can trust" message is resonating with the community. Sixty per cent of the market's vendors are primary producers who have gone through a third party inspection process to verify they grow 100 per cent of what they sell, with the remaining 40 per cent including bakers, prepared food vendors, artists, and community groups. Pictured is primary producer The Farm on Argyle, a family-oriented urban micro farm located just 2.5 kilometres from the market, that follows organic growing practices to produce a variety of fruit and vegetables. (Photo: Jenn Austin-Driver)

Judging from its success to date, the Peterborough Regional Farmers' Market's "local food you can trust" message is resonating with the community. Sixty per cent of the market's vendors are primary producers who have gone through a third party inspection process to verify they grow 100 per cent of what they sell, with the remaining 40 per cent including bakers, prepared food vendors, artists, and community groups. Pictured is primary producer The Farm on Argyle, a family-oriented urban micro farm located just 2.5 kilometres from the market, that follows organic growing practices to produce a variety of fruit and vegetables. (Photo: Jenn Austin-Driver)

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.

Local producer Hunnabees in Millbrook, beekeepers located 23 kilometres from the Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Market, produces different varieties of natural honey, infused honey, and creamed honey as well as beeswax products. (Photo: Jenn Austin-Driver)

Local producer Hunnabees in Millbrook, beekeepers located 23 kilometres from the Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Market, produces different varieties of natural honey, infused honey, and creamed honey as well as beeswax products. (Photo: Jenn Austin-Driver)

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.

Local producer and MyPick-verified Chick-a-biddy Acres, a small farm located 30 kilometres from the Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Market, produces a variety of leafy greens, herbs, and other vegetables. (Photo: Jenn Austin-Driver)

Local producer and MyPick-verified Chick-a-biddy Acres, a small farm located 30 kilometres from the Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Market, produces a variety of leafy greens, herbs, and other vegetables. (Photo: Jenn Austin-Driver)

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.

As well as local food, the Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Market is a social asset for the community, with areas where shoppers can sit, eat, visit, engage, and linger, and family friendly, with a kids’ zone that includes crafts, colouring, and water toys. (Photo: Jenn Austin-Driver)

As well as local food, the Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Market is a social asset for the community, with areas where shoppers can sit, eat, visit, engage, and linger, and family friendly, with a kids’ zone that includes crafts, colouring, and water toys. (Photo: Jenn Austin-Driver)

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).

At the Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Market, you can find unique products not normally found at a local farmers’ market, such as agretti (grown locally using seeds imported from Italy), cinnamon cap mushrooms, lion’s mane mushrooms, and even squab. (Photo: Jenn Austin-Driver)

At the Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Market, you can find unique products not normally found at a local farmers’ market, such as agretti (grown locally using seeds imported from Italy), cinnamon cap mushrooms, lion’s mane mushrooms, and even squab. (Photo: Jenn Austin-Driver)

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.

Local prepared food vendor Two Dishes Cookshop, whose business is located near the Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Market on Charlotte Street in downtown Peterborough, offers take-away home-cooked meals, salads, breads, and scones and other baked goods. (Photo: Jenn Austin-Driver)

Local prepared food vendor Two Dishes Cookshop, whose business is located near the Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Market on Charlotte Street in downtown Peterborough, offers take-away home-cooked meals, salads, breads, and scones and other baked goods. (Photo: Jenn Austin-Driver)

“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 info@ptboregionalfarmersmarket.com. For highlights of what’s available at the market and updates, you can also follow the market on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Kawartha Country Wines, the first winery in the Kawarthas, is located 46 kilometres from the Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Market and offers fruit wines, fruit vinegars, jams, and jellies. (Photo: Jenn Austin-Driver)

Kawartha Country Wines, the first winery in the Kawarthas, is located 46 kilometres from the Peterborough Regional Farmers’ Market and offers fruit wines, fruit vinegars, jams, and jellies. (Photo: Jenn Austin-Driver)