This morning my friend and I took a trip to St. Jacob's market to pick up some local produce, scoop up the last of whatever berries we could find, and check out what else was available. Before going, I wrote a letter to the director of St. Jacob's and asked if there were particular vendors we should be looking out for if we were looking for local and organic. She assured me that, although most of them are not listed as "certified organic," they were indeed organic. The vendors who sell fruit and vegetables at the market must also be growers themselves. She urged me to ask questions, which I did, when necessary.
Eating locally throughout the winter is going to be an interesting adventure, one that I am not sure I am fully prepared for. I'm trying my hand at canning and freezing this year, something I have never attempted before. What this means is LARGE purchases of produce and a lot of work in the kitchen over the weekend. As it is, I have already frozen 5 large bags of blueberries (I found a 6L basket for $20!), 2 large baskets of strawberries, and blanched 5 bags of mixed yellow and green beans. I purchased two baskets of mixed heirloom tomatoes (delicious!), 2 large zucchinis, a bag of mixed wild mushrooms, a large bunch of carrots, a bunch of beets, and 2 boxes of mixed sweet peppers. We checked out some of the local cheese vendors, and ended up with a brick of Gruyere and another of Asiago. I also picked up some local ground beef and beef tenderloin, hormone and anti-biotic free. Finally, I got a large jar of delicious buckwheat honey which was produced in the Saugeen region. All of this for about $80... it sounds like a lot, but it's going to be worth it in the middle of the winter.
St. Jacob's is open on Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays. There are many, many produce vendors who sell their produce at various prices, so have a look around before you settle. There are cheese vendors, meat counters inside, and bakers. Some vendors sell hand-crafted foods, such as pickles and jams. Others sell hand-crafted items, such as quilts. Check out the quilt shop on the way in. When we went in there were two adorable old ladies quilting upstairs. They informed us that it takes 1000 hours to make one quilt! You can see it in their work though. Every stitch is done by hand and the quilts are beautiful.
If you're looking for somewhere to get your sweet corn and peaches when they're ready, this is the place to go. Enjoy!
Link to St. Jacob's Market: http://www.stjacobs.com/html/shopping-farmersmarkets.html