We’re thankful for all the amazing events that summer brings: local ice cream shops open their doors, outside concerts and festivals fill up our weekends, and farmer’s markets provide a place to pick up locally sourced food and gain a sense of community.
Every Wednesday from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. at 37 Halson St., the Ancaster Farmer’s Market is open (the official start was June 7 but the weekly event is picking up now that the weather is warmer). The market was originally located at the 1812 Barracks but moved in 2009 to its current location behind John’s Anglican Church.
Market manager Shalaina Gallagher says the market started ten years ago with the purpose of promoting community within Ancaster. She likes that the market remains a true farmer’s market, set on the grass. While you’re browsing the stalls, there is a small stage with live music and some chairs to take a break and listen to some good Hamilton music. The market has between 500-700 visitors weekly and typically showcases around 40 vendors (there is an online application for those interested). Most of the vendors sell locally grown food or make products with healthier alternatives (this past week I treated myself to a sweet potato brownie and it was absolutely delicious).
Vendors include Fenwood Farm, Hunter’s Maple Bush and King’s Court Estate Winery (they were giving out free wine samples – bonus!). Whether you’re shopping for vegetables, flowers and succulents or in need of a sweet treat, the Ancaster Farmer’s Market has it (there’s even a kids corner where kids can sit down and colour). Prices of products depend on the vendor, but items are very reasonably priced (most are cheaper than grocery stores). Make sure to bring cash because some vendors don’t accept other payment methods.
Sweet Potato Johnny is one of the amazing vendors at the market. You guessed it, everything is made with sweet potatoes, and it is delicious. They make sweet potato burritos, sweet potato waffles, sweet potato and sunflower seed muffins and, our personal favourite at People of Hamilton, the sweet potato brownies. They do not have a store location but you can find them at farmer’s markets (plus they deliver in the Niagara region during market off-season). Their sweet potato veggie burgers took off so they started making everything sweet potato. The veggie burgers sell out every week, so if you don’t come early you don’t get them.
The novelty of seeing a sweet potato brownie or cookie is what attracts people, says Ron Kreulen who runs the stall. “Sweet potatoes are easy to work with, they’re so good for you and they’re different. You have to have something a little bit different, then people might be drawn to it.”
Another vendor we chatted with was Foundry Ice Cream – a must-try on a hot summer day. They specialize in ice cream made with seasonal fruit, vegan options, as well as everyone’s must-have flavours.
“Foundry Ice Cream is a small batch ice cream company so I make ice creams, sorbet and vegan ice cream using local ingredients. I stock my ice cream at seven local stores, little grocery stores and cheese shops,” says Laurel Wypkema. “I’m entering my third year of business and it’s very Hamilton-centric.
“There are lots of vendors to choose from at the Ancaster Farmer’s Market. It’s kid and dog-friendly so it seems more relaxed and the time is great for me because 3-7 is ice cream time.”
All the time is ice cream time. But why else should you come out to the Ancaster Farmer’s Market? Gallagher has the perfect answer: the sense of community. “It’s a way for people from the community to get together, listen to music and have some food. We have tons of families that come with picnic blankets and sit. It makes for a great Wednesday in Ancaster.”
If you’re in need of some fresh groceries or are just looking for something to do on a Wednesday afternoon, come out to the Ancaster Farmer’s Market. It won’t disappoint.