Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Farmers' markets to visit with kids in & around Vancouver

It's finally spring-time in British Columbia, and that means the local fruits, berries and vegetables are starting to be available at grocery stores and markets all around the province. I love taking the kids to buy fresh produce at farmers' markets: there's just something exciting about all that gorgeous food, some of it familiar, some of it new, and most of it nice, ripe, local, and fresh.

Here are some places you can take your kids to find fresh, local produce in and around Vancouver. Some are seasonal; others are open all year round.

Granville Island Public Market, photo by Dominic Schaefer.
Granville Island
The Public Market on Granville Island is open year round, and it's a lot of fun to visit any time of year. My kids love to go here and browse the market or just hang out, watching the pigeons and boats and listening to the buskers. There's local produce when it's in season and a lot of imported fruits and vegetables too. The Public Market also has a lot of other food to drool over: bread, seafood, meats, cheese, baked goods, candy, pasta, deli goodies, and more.

Vancouver Farmers Markets
If you're looking for local produce in urban Vancouver, Vancouver Farmers Markets website is a good place to start. Right now the website shows dates and times for markets in five locations: Trout Lake, Kitsilano, West End, Kerrisdale Village, and Main Street Station at Thornton Park. The market vendors include farmers selling produce, food vendors, and people selling various crafts and providing services like bike repairs and massages. 

Richmond Country Farms
Richmond Country Farms is one of the markets my family visits most often. It's located in Richmond, just off HWY 99, near the Massey tunnel to Ladner. They have locally grown produce from their own farm, as well as produce from around the Okanagan and further away. For us, it's a convenient location and when it's in season they have great new potatoes, corn, berries, and fruit.

Picking strawberries on Westham Island.
Westham Island, Ladner 
Westham Island has a lot of little farms, especially berry farms, and it's where my family usually goes for U-Pick strawberries in June, and later on for other berries. Some nice local vendors here include:
  • Bissett Farms - This is where we often go for strawberries, raspberries, tayberries, marionberries, and more. There are usually preserves, honey, and various veggies like potatoes and green beans for sale here too.
  • Emma-Lea Farms - Great place for berries and potatoes.
  • Westham Island Herb Farm - The market here sells a lot of different kinds of vegetables, herbs, plants, fruits and berries. In the fall, it's a great place for pumpkins as well!

Yellow Barn Country Produce, Abbotsford
This is a bit of a drive for us, but we usually end up here a couple of times in the summer anyway. Yellow Barn Country Produce is located just off highway 1, and it's easy to spot. They sell nice local veggies and fruit in season, and there's also some baked goods and a small deli on the premises.

If you're looking for a farmers' market around British Columbia, a great place for information is BC Association of Farmers' Markets. To quote the website:

There are over 125 farmers' markets throughout British Columbia. In 103 of these markets are members whose vendors make, bake, or grow your food. Markets vary in size and sophistication from large, sheltered, year round markets to a few farmers with trucks parked on a lot once a week during the summer months.
As for me, I can't wait for some of those tender, sweet, local, nugget potatoes with just butter and salt...

Photo of Granville Island Public Market thanks to granvilleisland.com.

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