The market has done more for our local economy and community than what meets the eye. While the plentiful assortment of goods, services and produce offers something everyone can enjoy, the economic benefits are often overlooked. According to Farmers' Markets Ontario, sales within Ontario farmers' markets have increased 10 to 12 percent in the past decade, creating an economic impact of over $2.5 billion. Not only that, but the money from the markets directly benefits the farmers and vendors, who use it to grow crops, support their families, and purchase more from the local community. Farmers' Markets also create and sustain jobs! The Government of Ontario reported that in 2022, the Ontario agri-food sector supported over 861,000 jobs, that's over 20 times larger than the population of St Thomas!
While large chain grocery stores and companies have a wide variety of produce, the farmers behind the crop often don't see most of the earnings. At a farmers' market, the farmer is directly paid by the clients, receiving payment in full and setting their prices to accommodate their time and effort. Vendors can also build connections directly with their clients and other vendors around them, which can lead to partnerships and collaborations to help support each other's work. Vendors can, in turn, witness for themselves public reception to their products, helping them decide which are fan favourites, and should be further promoted and produced, becoming staples of the market, much like the Fritter Shops delicious treats, Debackere Farms' classic Sweet Corn, and the beautiful bouquets of Harris Flower Farm.
Hey there, meat lovers! Ever wondered what makes B&C Farms so unique? Well, let me tell you their story! It all started as a hobby with a few cattle for Ben and Carolin, but their love for these bovine buddies grew bigger than their pastures. People couldn't get enough of their incredible beef, and that's when they knew they had something special.
Their main objective? To provide their customers with mouthwatering, pasture-raised, grain-finished beef filled with love and care. They truly believe that happy cows make delicious meat, and oh boy, does it show in the flavour!
But wait, there's more! In the wild year of 2020, when everything went topsy-turvy, they faced a challenge. The beef cuts they needed were unavailable, so they put on their thinking caps and determined to build their own processing facility. Now, they can process their own beef, pork, lamb, and even seasonal deer. Talk about taking matters into their own hands!
Now, what sets them apart from the herd? B&C Farms is not your typical butcher shop. Nope, they raise and sell their very own beef! They source their steers directly from local farmers, ensuring no hormones sneak into your steaks. With a small and passionate team consisting of husband and wife duo Ben and Carolin, and Steve, the butcher with culinary superpowers, they make sure every cut is exceptional.
But that's not all! Their shop is brimming with goodies. From juicy burgers, London broils, and stuffed chicken breasts to shish kabobs and specialty sausages, they've got something for every craving. And if custom cuts are your thing, they'll happily cater to your steak thickness preferences too!
Meat isn't the only star at B&C Farms. They also offer locally sourced pork, including ground pork, bacon, chops, roast, ribs, and pork sausages. And let's not forget about their delectable range of chicken, from ground chicken to boneless breasts, thighs, wings, and whole chickens. Oh, and did I mention the smoked trout? Henk Den Besten's trout comes in six mouthwatering flavours, like maple, Dutch, Cajun, lemon pepper, and garlic pepper.
Throughout their journey, Ben and Carolin learned a thing or two. While advertising is excellent, the absolute best promotion comes from their incredible customers who can't help but spread the word about their phenomenal meats. Word of mouth is their secret ingredient!
Now, let's talk about the Horton Farmers' Market, which they absolutely adore. It's got an incredible atmosphere where vendors support one another, creating strong connections among small businesses. Plus, they love that it's all about supporting local farmers and enjoying food and products made with utmost care. Their customers couldn't agree more!
Attention, shoppers! B&C Farms has something special in store for you this year. Thanks to some secret improvements, their burgers and specialty sausages are getting even better. Get ready to have your taste buds dancing with joy!
Now that we have dug deeper into the inner workings of this meaty paradise, it is about time you head down to the Horton Market this Saturday and experience the brilliance that B & C Farms has for you. See you there!
The Horton Farmer’s Market is a special place for adults and children. All the full displays of vibrant colours, the sounds of voices and music, and the smells of baked goods and sweet fruits, a truly unique experiences in the eyes of a child. The Market provides a large assortment of vendors, fresh produce and gifts and an opportunity for a great family outing.
Children often become easily bored and fussy in ordinary grocery stores, aisles of cardboard boxes and plastic bags, with harsh lighting and long lines. You’ve seen it once; you’ve seen it all. Even I find myself bored and restless when grocery shopping as an adult! The Market, however, offers a brand new experience to youngsters- friendly vendors eager to share their products, room to explore indoors and outdoors, and often activities ` explicitly hosted for kids! A nearby tourism rack also provides many other events, sites and ideas throughout the summer to entertain the whole family.
The Market allows curious minds to ask questions and learn about the fresh fruits and vegetables they eat, grown locally, right from the farmers themselves. Encouraging healthy eating habits is a struggle for many parents. Still, by introducing children directly to the Market’s community and demonstrating the impact, children can understand the importance of locally grown produce. While none of the products contain flashy labels or mascots, these items are packed with essential nutrients. Take this time to teach your child the importance of supporting small, local businesses and how it benefits everyone.
The Market can also be used to learn about finances and build social skills. By offering your child the chance to purchase something, they will learn how to interact with others publicly, building social confidence and money-counting skills! Through learning the responsibility of money and its value, kids will cherish and understand the meaning of hard work, earnings and spending.
The fun and learning don’t stop after the Market closes! Try introducing your family to a new recipe using the fresh produce purchased. Kids love hands-on activities in which they play a role, making them feel important and part of a team. Having little ones help prepare meals can teach vital cooking lessons to encourage new hobbies and family traditions.
While school may be out for the summer, your kids have even more opportunities to learn through experiential learning right here in downtown St. Thomas, every Saturday from 8am to noon, growing our local economy and supporting small businesses and vendors! You may even make a market fan for life and find you have eager companion to attend the market with for years to come!
But if you really want to go all out with your tomatoes, try making their family's favourite cherry tomato confit. It's a perfect way to use up a surplus of cherry tomatoes and preserve their flavour all winter. Just bake them with olive oil and herbs until they burst and meld together, then blend it all with a dash of balsamic vinegar and plenty of seasoning. Delicious! (and you'll find the recipe below!)
At Our Fields Farm, it's all about the love of good food and the joy of sharing it with others. So head over to the Horton Farmers' Market and say hello to Roger, Romina, and Hallie - and don't forget to try their excellent produce grown using organic methods!
"Our family favourite recipe for a glut of cherry tomatoes is a confit. You bake a tray of cherry tomatoes swimming in olive oil for two hours at 200 degrees. You can also throw in whatever herbs you have handy- woody herbs like thyme or rosemary do well here. They will pop and spill their sweet juices and it will mingle into the olive oil. Then I usually blended everything (removing the herb stems!) and freeze the sauce to eat summer all winter long. Don't forget generous salt and pepper. If you feel like the balance of flavours needs a little acidity (because some cherry tomatoes are sweeter than others) then sometimes I add a splash of balsamic vinegar after cooking. YUM".
Cardinal Creek Farm is entering its third year with the Horton Farmers' Market family! This small farm near Aylmer is doing some incredible things with regenerative and natural growing practices to bring the most nutrient-dense and flavourful veggies to their community.
Anne and Lambert Cook may not have grown up farming, but they have a deep passion for it. Anne's grandparents were farmers, and her mother and grandmother both had impressive kitchen gardens, inspiring Anne to start her own garden as an adult. Anne says, "You never ever know as much as you think you know. There's always more to learn. So much so that you just have to laugh at it." This sentiment is evident in the dedication of Anne and Lambert Cook, who quickly fell in love with growing their own food and the abundance and connection it brought to them.
After searching for their forever farm, they found their little piece of paradise on a 10-acre creek-lined horse farm. They set to work preparing the land, planting a family orchard, and starting their gardens without using large tractors. By not tilling, they could build fertile soil and produce healthy plants and incredibly nutritious food.
"Regenerative farming is important to us because working with the land to improve and feed the soil while reaping the benefits of seasonal veggies. The nutrient density in each plant is so much higher because it's getting what it needs from soil and microbial life in that soil. After all, we focus on adding good quality organic matter in a few different ways."
And don't even get us started on their love of good quality, flavourful food! They offer prepared and frozen meals at local markets and in their store, sourcing ingredients locally and organically whenever possible. Some new plant-based meals will be coming this season starting in late June.
But let's talk about the veggies themselves. Cardinal Creek Farm grows varieties prioritizing flavour, ensuring every bite is fresh, nutritious, and oh-so-delicious. Some of their selection includes napa cabbage and potatoes are some of their beloved, fresh-grown ingredients, along with yellow cherry tomatoes, which are in season for summer! Some of Cardinal Creek Farms' favourite ways to use these products are in kimchi, tomato soup, and potato salad. They offer their produce through their Harvest Box Program, farm stand, and local markets, so there are plenty of ways to get your hands on their excellent food. Cardinal Creek Farm's love for its customers and connections made at Horton Farmers' Market is evident. They have a spring sale for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) ending on May 26th and a seedling sale from May 13th to the end of the month.
So there you have it, folks! Cardinal Creek Farm is a small but mighty force to be reckoned with in the local farming world. If you have yet to try their veggies, you're missing out on some seriously fantastic flavours. The Cardinal Creek Farm family can't wait to see you at the Horton Market!
Mother's Day weekend can mean many things to many people, but around here, it means Opening Day! Our beloved Market has seen over 140 Mother's Days since opening in 1878, promising something enjoyable for all, creations, culinary, or crafts. This weekend, the Market returns for the summer season from 8 am to noon and provides the perfect opportunity to celebrate in various ways.
The Market is always a good idea if you want to make family memories this weekend. It's a bustling hub of delicious goodies and nutrient-dense local produce to build a menu together. Have some fun and get the kids involved! Maybe they would like to choose an item to help prepare or help mom choose the perfect sweet treat! The fresh focus this weekend is on rhubarb and asparagus in particular. These spring treats have a reasonably short season, so get them while you can source them locally!
Enjoy breakfast on one of our beautifully painted picnic tables and listen to live music - Nick Ewanick is back with the soundtrack to the Market this weekend! Forest Therapy Elgin is on hand with an incredible make-and-take for the kids to make something for mom too! And if the family is all together, why not take advantage of the opportunity for a new family photo with Benjamin Belanger Photography? Donations will be accepted with gratitude for Violence Against Women's Services Elgin.
Maybe mom's love language is gifts - we've got those too, from locally grown flowers to beautiful handmade soap, artisan goods, candles and more. You will find the perfect gift or accent to make her day a little brighter.
If you want to extend your Saturday adventure, one of the best ways to spend an afternoon is by sticking your nose in a book. Located at 488 Talbot, Lockwood Books is hosting its Patio Tea Garden's Grand Opening. From noon to 5 pm, enjoy a beautiful display of foliage provided by Park Botanicals and Forest Therapy Elgin, with a large selection of various books to dive into. Are you looking to capture some memories with loved ones? Sign up the family for the Downtown Hunt - an app-based scavenger hunt ongoing over the next several months to support the discovery of Downtown St. Thomas during the construction.
With so many diverse events and locations, entertainment and enjoyment are available everywhere you look this Mother's Day Weekend. We wish you and your loved ones a safe weekend filled with new beginnings, spring, and continuing traditions.
We look forward to meeting you at the Market!