photo credit: makaria farm
Nothing beats a few sunny hours spent wandering around a really great farmer’s market. But what makes for a memorable market experience? It’s all about the lineup of vendors - local growers, talented artists, and passionate foodies, throw in a little live music, free samples (aka baked goods) and you have all the makings for a stellar market day. With plenty of markets to choose from in central Vancouver Island, here are our picks for farmer’s market gold in the Nanaimo area.
Every Sunday morning from May to October the crowds descend on the grassy field beside the Crow & Gate Pub in rural Cedar, just a few minutes south of Nanaimo. When the live music starts at 10am, the market is open for business! Grab a Misty Ridge coffee and delicious pain au chocolat from Bodhi’s Artisan Bakery and take your time winding through the many stalls. Make sure to pop by Katie and Dion’s Heart & Soil Organics stand for some delicious, organically grown veggies.
Our favourite mid-week market hit, this centrally-located evening market runs Wednesday evenings from May to October on the VIEX fairgrounds at Beban Park in central Nanaimo. Open from 4:00-6:30pm, it's the perfect refuge from the stress of the day, just pop in on your way home from work or after after the kids’ swimming lessons. If you’re too hungry to wait for dinner, grab a delicious taco from the Taco Revolution truck, and don’t forget to pick up a basket of strawberries from Cowichan Valley’s Makaria Farm stand if they’re in season!
Start your weekend a little early, and spend Friday afternoon enjoying Nanaimo’s waterfront while gathering supplies for the relaxing days ahead. Located in the heart of downtown’s Pioneer Waterfront Plaza, right beside the big white bastion, calling this a market with a view would be an understatement. From 2-6pm the square comes to life with music & colourful vendors, set against the spectacular backdrop of the Nanaimo harbour. Nestled in the heart of downtown, the market area connects to the seawall, and is near lots of other shops and restaurants making it easy to extend your market trip to boutique browsing, or drinks and dinner. Stop by and see Scott from Tied Up & Dyed for the cutest rainbow baby onesies on earth. This market will also be running a special Canada Day market at Maffeo Sutton Park!
An excuse to go to Lantzville on a sunny Sunday afternoon? Yes please! Farm fresh, local produce too? We’re there. The seaside village of Lantzville hosts their weekly market on Sunday afternoons from 1:30-4pm, just off Lantzville Road in the St.Phillips By-the-Sea church parking lot. This little local market is as special as Lantzville itself, and is a fantastic follow-up to a morning at the beach with the kids, or a leisurely brunch atRiso Fine Foods (without the kids!) Make sure to pick up some fresh tortillas from IXIM, and some incredible Whole Hog Farm sausages, not to mention an armful of fresh veg from the many local producers.
A few quick pointers before we send you on your way...arrive early for the berries! Don’t forget your cash. Bring your own bags. And come hungry!
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