To Market To Market ...
"To market, to market, to buy a fat pig, home again, home again, jiggety-jig"
Fortunately for us in the Shuswap, we don't have to buy our pigs live but have lovely fat pigs raised on pasture using ethical and sustainable practices by the Keenan Family. Wondering if that was the case in the 1500's when this nursery rhyme was first documented. What were the issues facing farmers then? Gets you wondering doesn't it.
Farmers Markets have experienced a surge in popularity as consumers seek out better alternatives for their families. The quality and pride in their product is evident as vendors display the "fruits" of their labour and delight in having conversations sharing information about how to prepare a lesser known vegetable or cut of meat. Farmers markets not only offer consumers the opportunity to consume farm-fresh, locally grown food, they also provide the opportunity for producers and consumers to get to know each other on a personal level and that is what we really love about our experience visiting Farmer's Markets around the Shuswap. Read on as we share this first installment of our experiences at our favourite markets (spoiler alert they are ALL our favourites each for a special reason).
Saturdays, Year Round
Established in 1973, the market is the oldest continuously running market in BC and operates in a true country atmosphere. Situated on the IPE grounds (can’t get much more country than that!) the market fills two long rows with vendors on each side of each row. Their motto “We Make It, Bake It, or Grow It” was in full display.
On our visit we met Marni from Edge of the Earth Vineyard who is also the Market Coordinator. I was originally drawn to her stall by her sign, Wine is to Women as Duct Tape is to Men. It Fixes Everything (priceless) but I soon became entertained by Marni herself as she shared wine and her wisdom. Fun fact - “Whatever” wine is a rosé made from a mix of leftovers which makes it different every year! Their website says they “enjoy a loyal following of customers and guests because of our excellent products and great value” and I can attest to both. We also found Cheryl who we usually see at her Salmon Arm store On Alex selling her Mt Rose Farm juicy hascap berries. Look for a blog totally devoted to our favourite berry!
One of the things we absolutely love about Shuswap Markets is the atmosphere and NIgel couldn't resist stopping to play chess with a young man at one of the tables thoughtfully set up down the centre aisle.
Seasonal Wednesdays June - September
Situated in the North Shuswap we finally got over to the Celista Market in September at one of their last markets of the year and we are so glad we did. Not only did we find wonderful seasonal products like fresh corn from Burkholder Bros, enjoyed the always delicious bannock from the Bannock Ladies, we also caught up with one of the Shuswaps most entertaining vendors, Chris from the Spotted Moose.
Chris exemplifies why we love Farmer's Markets. This guy is so passionate about what he grows and shares his knowledge willingly and if you're lucky, you might even catch him dancing in his booth. If you have not met Chris at one of the many markets in the Shuswap you are missing out! This guy is a farming machine on two legs and his energy is infectious. Every time we see Chris he’s got a smile on his face.
The quality of Spotted Moose Farm produce is top notch. On our visit to Celista we got a delicious selection of zucchini, patty pans, beets, greens and Chris introduced us to beautiful cipollini onions which are a semi sweet Italian variety I had never tried.
We also met some new vendors including City Macaron who you guessed it, makes melt in your mouth macarons. In addition to the vendors there was entertainment for the kids, music and all kinds of information about things to do on the north side.
If you find yourself on the North Shuswap on a Wednesday in the summer we definitely recommend a visit to the Celista Hall Farmer's Market.
These are just two of the many amazing Farmer's Markets in the Shuswap. Stay tuned for more market insights from Taste of the Shuswap and if you are looking for detailed information including hours of operation and locations, check out BC Farmer's Market Association for a complete list.