Imagine this: just over 150 years ago early settlers to Muskoka, lured by free land and the promise of a fresh start, arrived to find that the land they had been given was full of rock. A lot of it. Those who tried to clear and ready it for farming found it was back-breaking labour.
Today, some of those properties still remain as farm land, testament to an earlier, harder time and the resilience (or perhaps desperation) of those first European residents. Today, current residents and visitors can still reap the rewards of their efforts—without the work—at local farmers’ markets. Most open for the season this month or next.
At each, you’ll find locally grown produce, meats, preserves, cheeses, and a variety of culinary delights, along with artisans and crafters displaying everything from rustic and fine art to pajamas and quilts.
In addition to supporting local producers and small businesses, shopping at a farmers’ market is good for you and good for the environment. Produce is farm-fresh, often harvested just that morning, and is organic in methods if not in label. It also conserves energy: supermarket produce often travels thousands of kilometres from farm to store. At a farmers’ market, your food was likely produced no more than 100 kilometres away. You also have direct access to the producer, who can tell you exactly how the food was grown, and may surprise you with varieties of fruits and vegetables you didn’t know about before.
And farmers’ markets are just plain fun: you can meet up with friends or make new ones, spend some time people-watching, or just soak up the sun and the atmosphere. There’s a market just about every day of the week somewhere in Muskoka. Check out the list below!
Bala Farmers’ Market, Jaspen Park on Muskoka Road 38 (1005 Pine Ridge Road). Opens for the season on June 24 and runs every Monday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. until September 2.
Dwight Farmers’ Market, 1009 Dwight Bay Road in Lake of Bays. Opens for the season on Tuesday, June 25 and runs until August 27, every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Gravenhurst Farmers’ Market, in the special events field across from the Muskoka Wharf. Opens for the season on May 15 and runs every Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. until October 30.
The Huntsville Farmers’ Market has a new location for 2019: the Huntsville Fairgrounds at 407 Ravenscliffe Road. Opens for the season on May 16 and runs every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. until October 10.
Port Carling Farmers’ Market, Hannah Park, 40 Bailey St. Opens June 27 and runs every Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. until August 29.
Baysville Farmers’ Market has a new location for 2019: the Season2Season Garden Market, 2849 Muskoka Road 117. Opens for the season on June 28, 2019 and runs every Friday until August 30 from 1-5 p.m.
Rosseau Farmers’ Market at the waterfront park. A free shuttle is available – park anywhere in town! Opens for the season on June 28 at 9:00 a.m.
Bracebridge Farmers’ Market, Memorial Park on Manitoba Street (next to the Norwood Theatre). Opens for the season on the Victoria Day long weekend and runs Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. until the Thanksgiving long weekend.
Huntsville 100k Farmers’ Market, West Street S next to Pharmasave. Opens for the season in June and runs every Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until 2 p.m.