The Halifax Farmers' Market (aka The Brewery Market) is ground zero for anyone who wants to eat fresh, local food that is grown in a conscientious and sustainable way. And it's not just food. You'll find artisans and crafts people, builders and florists, butchers and bakers, fishmongers and farriers. The variety is startling: for example, check out the saltstone lamp table, or the comforters, pillows and hot water bottle covers from Woolies, the gift of sheep at Upperbrook Farm outside of Truro.
"This is really where people should come, there's a lot more going on here," says Norbert Kungl, an organic farmer who comes into Halifax early Saturday mornings to sell his produce. Nowhere in Nova Scotia can one find such a sterling selection of both local and organic (or near organic) food.
Try baked goods at Boulagerie La Vendeenne or Gourmandise Avenue, but get there early before the lineups get too long. Or Mary's Bread Basket. Or Julien's. How about Big Life Whole Foods and their tasty organic vegan and vegetarian selections or hearty porridge bread?
And that's just the beginning.
You can find a week's worth of local food from Whirled Beet Produce, Almentos Catering, Life's Good Soup, Getaway Farm, Wood 'N Hart Farm, Alex Nicola and his "amazing garlic," the organic Four Seasons Farm, or the completely self-sustaining Little Dorset Farms. There's Fox Hill cheese and yogurt, Ron Titus and his fully certified organic meats from Angelhoeve Farms, and veteran food producers Ruth and Paul Colville with their Coldspring Farm operation in Middleton. If your tastes run to tofu, there's Acadiana Soy products, certified organic, non genetically-modified. Yum.
Ted Hutten, of the Hutten Family Farm, grows mixed vegetables, specialty vegetables for Asian restaurants, as well as apples, peaches, pears, plums and cherries. He's not certified organic, but is local and considerate. He'll supply you with spinach, beets, root vegetables, onions, squash, leeks, available all year around. "We should eat seasonally," he says. "You can eat spinach year around, but in February it's going to be more expensive."
You can also find wild fruit from a producer called Summervine, grown in Malagash, Nova Scotia. No herbicide or pesticide sprays are used. The grapes go to wine, but look to their berries that are made into jams and jellies and sold on a seasonal basis.
Speaking of alcohol, Glen Breton Whiskey, Nova Scotia's only single malt whiskey, can also be found at the market.
One other thing to mention: this hub of local and organic food and goods needs to move to a new space. Right now, the Farmers' Market organization is moving ahead to raise the funds to construct a new super-sustainable, Lydon Lynch-designed building down near Pier 21. They need $10 million to do it, and people keen to be part of such a great thing for the city's future are beginning to pony up. To be one of them, go to halifaxfarmersmarket.com and click "investment."