It’s partway through the summer and whatever may be happening elsewhere, nature is providing a bountiful harvest at the Innisfil Farmers’ Market.
The outdoor market takes place every Thursday afternoon, from 1-6 p.m., in the south parking lot at the Innisfil Recreational Complex. Customers have been stopping by to pick up fresh baking, gourmet food items, Ontario wines, handmade soaps, artisanal arts and crafts, and a growing array of fresh produce.
R Family Farm, located near Cookstown, is now bringing in fresh peaches, apricots, plums and cherries from a farm in the Niagara Region.
Palentine Farms in Niagara-on-the-Lake specializes in tree-ripened fruit, with minimal use of pesticides, “and they’re awesome,” said Jan Rainey of R Family.
“Everything else is from our farm," Rainey said. "I just started my cherry tomatoes this week. I was out picking kale and Swiss chard early this morning.”
It’s a similar story at Lakeview Gardens, where greenhouse-grown cucumbers, peppers and heritage tomatoes are available, along with Ontario fruit, sweet corn, home-made jams and preserves, and much more.
Customers were lining up to fill their bags and baskets.
“It’s usually a good market,” said Tom Bouhs, of Rosie’s Meat Pies, who once again sold out of many of his chicken, turkey, and steak and Guinness pies early in the afternoon.
Maybe it's been the weather, or maybe it’s just the relief at getting outside after months of isolation, but this year’s market has been especially good, he said.
Market manager Jaime Grant, who operates The Summer Oven Bakery, said they "are all thrilled.
"It has been going swimmingly, both with the weather and with people’s demeanour," Grant added.
Customers have been asked to wear a mask, use the hand sanitizer provided and practise physical distancing at the market, and so far most people have been respectful of the rules.
The 2020 market can’t hold special events, like last year’s popular pie-eating competition. That sort of activity attracts too many people, and makes it impossible to employ distancing measures.
Instead, Grant handed out butterfly nets and pinwheels to kids visiting at the market, encouraging them to head out into the adjacent field of wildflowers, and just have fun.
“It’s been nice to see kids playing in the wild,” she said.
In addition to Thursday's market at the Innisfil Recreational Complex, the Innisfil Farmers’ Market is also held Fridays from 1-6 p.m., near Entrance 4 at the Cookstown Tanger Outlet Mall.
And just like the market at rec centre, it’s not virtual, but a real, in-person, local farmers’ market, overflowing with seasonal produce.