Eating Fresh in Grimsby

Week 2 at the Grimsby Farmer’s Market was a beautiful success, as you can see… 

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The Grimsby Farmer’s Market brings you fresh food, smiling faces and an incredible sense of community, all in one space on Main Street, between Ontario and Christie Street, every Thursday afternoon from 3 – 7 p.m.

It’s the highlight of my week, every week from the end of May until the Thanksgiving weekend. Sometimes it’s my afternoon stroll in the sunshine, sometimes it’s a dinner date for me and my husband, and hopefully one day, when my puppy stops treating every person she sees like a giant chew toy, it can also be a good place to get this growing pup out for a little exercise.

The Grimsby Farmer’s Market describes their mission on their website:

“The market was established in response to a growing demand by the residents of Grimsby to enjoy the freshness of ‘home grown’ products from the Niagara Region. Set up as a “Home Grown” Market, our vendors grow their own product and take the time to answer all the question of shoppers at the market.”

There are so many ways to measure and see the success of this market, run by a steering committee of 4 market vendors, a community member and a Market Manager. In the first year of its operation in 2011, the market counted over 1,000 people visiting the Main Street stretch. Last year, 2,500 people hit the street to enjoy the experience! However, according to Michelle Seaborn, Grimsby Farmer’s Market Manager, a good farmer’s market can be measured by “the number of hugs you count” during the afternoon. She says she always takes a minute to stand back and see the smiles, to count the hugs, and that is the most rewarding part of her job.

Michelle and I met at the Grimsby Diner several weeks ago as I was counting down to the very exciting market opening on May 31. When I explained to her that I’ve always felt there was something special about this market, she put my feelings into words:

“A lot of people walk down these downtown streets during the market. You quickly get caught up in the live music, the people hugging and talking, and the vendors are so friendly. It’s a whole feeling. If you keep it up, people keep coming.”

It’s a whole feeling indeed. To me, it holds all the beautiful feelings of small-town familiarity, summertime and slowing down. It’s a part of what makes Grimsby feel like home to me.

I love turning the corner on Ontario Street to see children exploring the firetruck at the, welcoming us all in. I have my reusable grocery bags (and re-usable produce bags from Mrs. Greenway) and I always start with a once-over. I grab an ice pop from Forty Mile Creek Farm and then stroll along, looking at everything from a distance. It gives me an opportunity to wave at familiar faces, try the samples, appreciate every unique color and smell, while deciding on my spending strategy for that week. Then in round two, my regular purchases usually include fresh flowers, granola, Kombucha and eggs.

This year, you can enjoy 38 full-time vendors, eight of which are brand new to the Grimsby Farmer’s Market. There will be more ready-to-eat meals and great events like the Summer Solstice Night, where you can enjoy an extra hour of farmer’s market time! Keep an eye out for young entrepreneur vendors who have received a space to promote their services this year too.

The vendors bring their heart and soul into the products sold at the market. You can hear it in the way they talk about their products, sharing passions or sometimes educating me too when I ask any questions. As Michelle put, “there is certainly a movement to find out where your food is coming from.” When you come to the Grimsby Farmer’s Market, you can expect to be met with kindness and transparency, from the vendors from our local Niagara Region. Each vendor goes through an application and inspection process during the winter before they can be accepted as a Grimby Farmer’s Market Vendor. I love how this market brings the people of Grimsby together for a regional, local, experience every single week. At the Grimsby Farmer’s Market, you can enjoy the diversity of our unique location, incorporating many tastes from the places that surround us.

Make sure you get out to visit the Grimsby Farmer’s Market this year. Treat your eyes to each unique colour of heirloom vegetable. Let the fresh ice pops drip down your fingers and be thankful for this summer warmth. Get to know the vendors. Say hello to people you know.

And as Michelle would recommend, stand back and look at all the hugs happening around you. It’s community at its best.

buy local

 

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