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Sampling local foods at Ontario farmers' markets


Approximately 27,000 people are involved in harvesting and selling the food found in Ontario's farmers' markets (File photo)
Approximately 27,000 people are involved in harvesting and selling the food found in Ontario's farmers' markets (File photo)

Cheryl Santa Maria, staff writer

May 12, 2012 — Farmers' markets are a great way to try locally-sourced food and enjoy the outdoors, rain or shine.

There are 165 farmers' markets in Ontario
There are 165 farmers' markets in Ontario

A sign greets customers near the entranceway of Sherway Farmers' Market in Etobicoke, Ontario.

Decorated with brightly-coloured fruits and veggies, it proclaims that the market will "be open until the end of October, rain or shine."

While the idea of braving the elements in search of locally-found products may seem foreign to some, it's a concept that's re-gaining popularity in Ontario. In fact, Sherway Farmers' Market represents just one of 165 similar markets that can be found across the province.

The industry is in the midst of a resurgence, following a lull in the early 1980s. According to Farmers' Market Ontario, an advocacy group that's played a vital role in the revival, both vendors and shoppers alike benefit.

In addition to breathing new life into less-travelled spaces, Ontario farmers' markets employ approximately 27,000 people and provide consumers with some of the freshest meat and produce available.

People have been steadily filing into Sherway Farmers' Market since it began its 2012 season on May 4th, and vendor Rick Heddon thanks the weather for that.

"We're getting some nice sunshine and low humidity," he said on Friday. "It's great for people to come out and it's great for the market."

Heddon says the long-term forecast looks promising.

"The weather that's coming up is just going to be unbelievable. We've needed a good spring for a long time, and they're not calling for high humidity, so I think it's going to be perfect."

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