To experience market atmosphere in Canada, I visited Canada‘s largest year round Farmers Market – St. Jacobs Market. The first thing, that becomes obvious to you, is the total area of the market. Every week, hundreds of vendors offer farm fresh food crafts, imported goods and many things what you can only imagine – both indoors and outdoors. So, when I think about what makes this market so special, is the products one can buy there and people, one can meet there as well.
Text, photo: Kamila Balcova
One of the traditional Canadian products is Maple syrup. It is made from the sugary circulating fluid (sap) of maple trees. It is a 100% natural sweetener and tastes delicious. We bought one bottle of it from a lovely older woman. She had a map where her customers put pins to indicate, where they came from. Of course, I put a pin on place, where the Slovakia was.
Strawberries, cherries, melons, pizzas, jams, chees, meats, bakery goods, clothes, paintings, corn, tomatoes, flowers, honey, shoes, huts and the list goes on! I admired, tried, tasted, smelled and I soaked it all in. Cherries were one of the sweetest I have ever eaten and a crispy yellow melon was truly crispy and so delicious.
If you like potatoes, perhaps it would not be a bad idea to try the sweet ones. French fries made from that type of potatoes can make your day. And how is it with prices? As the hours pass by, the prices keep going lower and lower. Of course, it depends also on products, which are for sale.
What makes any market interesting, is the people you meet there. Young street musicians bring melody into the day. A amiable blond young woman plays her guitar for you. On the another side of the market you can listen to sounds of drums, violin or an oboe. Children follow a clown or ride a horse.
Talking about horses. If you want to, you can take advantage of the horse drawn trolley tour to glance at the life at the typical Mennonite Farm. It is a good opportunity to learn something about Mennonite people, including their history and their beliefs. The area around St. Jacob is home to approximately 4,000 Old Order Mennonites whose farms dot the surrounding countryside, lending a pastoral tranquility to the area much as they have for generations. The Mennonites are a group of Anabaptist (opposed to infant baptism) denominations named after and influenced by the teachings and tradition of Menno Simons (1496-1561). Mennonites are committed to nonviolence, nonresistance, and pacifism.
What is also worth seeing is trading of livestock, which takes place here on certain days too. An auctioneer behind the table on a trading floor informs you all you need to know about an animal in arena in front of you and people sitting in the gallery place a bet should they want to buy it. Behind this room you can take look at stalls, where they keep horses, sheep, bulls, cows or goats to be auctioned off. If you have not seen something similar before, it will be for sure a new experience for you.