With our abundance of farmers markets in the Barrie area, eating local in the summer is an easy and delicious task. Once winter arrives it can get a little harder and your creativity will have to come out. There are still plenty of options however, and with a little planning ahead you can provide yourself with canned, jarred or pickled fresh local foods to feast upon once the snows come.
Winter Farmers Markets
Winter meals have traditionally been focused on roasted vegetables, slow cooked stews, colourful veggies and fruit thawed out of the freezer, or preserved items. But where to find these items if you haven’t had time in the summer months to squirrel away your own supply? In our area there are two main farmers markets that stay open year round and simple move their goods indoors: the Barrie Farmers Market, and the Orillia Fairgrounds Farmers Market. At either of these places you’re able to find plenty of options to fill your winter pantry, as well as crisp fresh foods that are grown indoors that will help keep you healthy during the darker months.
At the Barrie Farmers Market, located in the City Hall rotunda on Saturdays 8am-12pm, you’ll be able to browse from over 42 different vendors including local farms, chefs, bakers and specialized artisans. What better way to celebrate the holidays and supporting your community than by giving locally made foods and gifts. The Orillia Fairgrounds Farmers Market is located near the entrance of the Agricultural Society on Saturdays from 8am-1pm. They have over 37 different vendors that provide a variety of local goods including vegetables, maple syrup, preserved goods, baked items and specialty made products such as soaps and woodworking.
What Local Foods Can I Buy In the Winter?
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that there are so many delicious local food options in the winter months, but taking a look at Foodland Ontario monthly availability guide will help you to plan before you head out to the farmers market. Many of these options come from indoor greenhouses, and by adding in these fresh items you’ll help to keep your immune system healthy and your taste buds from getting bored with stews and soups. Take a look through some of our recipes to find ways to incorporate local foods into your meals.
Even unexpected items like rhubarb are available fresh in Ontario from January to June. Called ‘forced winter rhubarb’, it used to be so common that at one point there were over 60 winter-rhubarb farmers in Ontario alone. Since the 1960’s the general public has forgotten about this tangy and crisp treat but it’s beginning to make a comeback. Grown indoors in darkened areas, the lack of sunlight means that it doesn’t develop it’s usual bitter taste, and stays red all the way through. A perfect mid-winter treat to bring out and amaze your family and friends.
Non-seasonal local foods like eggs, oils, honey, jams, maple syrup, fresh and cured meats, wine, cider and beers, cheeses, and fermented, canned or jarred foods are always available from Ontario farmers markets.
In the Simcoe and Barrie area there are several restaurants that serve dishes made using locally sourced ingredients. Why not spend your night out at an establishment that supports the community, the environment and your health.
Era67 is an Orillia based restaurant whose menu focuses on food that is in season and locally sourced whenever possible. They make all their dishes daily, do not use pre-packaged foods, and source their ingredients from local farmers markets and vendors.
Craving’s Fine Food & Market is a Barrie space that provides to-order foods and catering options. Their carefully curated menu uses local foods and in-season ingredients to create dishes that will satisfy everyone.
Ripe Juicery has two locations in Barrie, and one in Muskoka. They create cold pressed organic juices that strive to improve their customer’s health, and supports their local community by using local farm sourced ingredients.
Mad Craving’s is a modern bbq and bakery that creates mouth-watering foods from scratch using hormone and antibiotic free meats, and local produce from farms in the area.
The Globe Restaurant is based out of Alliston and stays connected to its local farms and neighbours by using a farm-to-table menu inspired by seasonal food availability and sustainability.
Eat Local Year Round
Eating fresh and local year round doesn’t have to be impossible – even in our cold Canadian climate. From preserving your own local fruits and vegetables, to trips to the local farmers market, or a night out at a farm-to-table restaurant, you’ll be surprised at how easy eating local in the winter can be. We look forward to seeing you again at Barrie Hill Farms in the spring when our our farm market opens.