One of the most appealing parts of the Niagara Peninsula is its mild climate and lengthy growing season. Sheltered from the cold that much of the rest of Canada must suffer through come wintertime, the region is able to grow grapes for its award-winning wines alongside a bounty of fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats, and fish throughout the year. From plums and nectarines to winter squash and tomatoes, what’s in season is always changing, but the region’s farms, vineyards, dairies, and orchards are nevertheless always producing.
For the visitor to Niagara, it may seem like winter is an unlikely time to pay any attention to the area’s farms, but with plenty of year-round farmer’s markets, there’s actually a lot to discover, purchase, and taste that’s grown and made right here. If you’re planning a trip to Niagara in the next couple of months, here’s a look at what the region’s farmers’ markets have to offer.
The Niagara Falls Farmers’ Market
Open every Saturday from 6 a.m. until noon, the Niagara Falls Farmers’ Market sets up behind the Niagara Falls History Museum. During the cold winter months, you can still expect to get choice cuts of the finest in Canadian meat and poultry, as well as delicious local breads, cheeses, pickled and preserved goods, and much more. There is often live music to enjoy as well. So, grab a cup of coffee or hot cocoa, and go for a stroll among the vendors. Then, once you’ve polished off a pastry or two, head over to the Niagara Falls History Museum for local lore and legend.
St. Catharines Farmers’ Market
Located in the charming downtown of the city right next to City Hall and the Courthouse, you can hit up the St. Catharines Farmers Market on Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. In addition to fresh-baked bread and pastries, the winter experience of this market often includes a gratifying mix of the following: a wide variety of local and imported meats, seafood, and chicken, delicious ready-to-eat Lebanese and Mexican food, fresh flowers, spices, jellies and jams, wine, root veggies, and even jewelry.
Welland’s Market Square
A year-round Saturday market located at 70 Young Street in Welland, Welland’s Market Square enjoys the distinction of being the Niagara region’s largest farmers’ market. Committed to promoting sustainable agriculture and a sustainable local economy, the Welland market has been in operation non-stop since 1907.
Find everything from ready-to-eat fare and natural, local cheeses to apples, beets, cabbages, and fresh-cut meats. While the crowds aren’t as big at this market during the winter, plenty of locals still use this market as their grocery store throughout the year. A great place to leisurely people watch amidst the pleasures of well-crafted and carefully grown food, if you’ve only got one Saturday to spend in Niagara come to Welland Market Square between 6 a.m. and noon.
Even when it looks like Old Man Winter is at the height of his power in Niagara, plenty is being produced by the region’s farms and artisans. Head to Niagara this winter, and be sure to set aside some time to experience our fantastic farmers’ markets.