It’s true that Vancouver is a bustle of metropolitan life, but that it also offers leafy neighbourhoods, scenic oceanfront, acres of parks, and that ubiquitous mountain backdrop. It makes perfect sense that the city has always held on to its relationship with the land. In the very heart of downtown Vancouver, this is no different, where every Wednesday afternoon, until late November, the Downtown Vancouver Farmers Market fills the plaza in front of the historic Vancouver Art Gallery building. Here, you can always expect a throng of people meandering through the booths, perusing farm-fresh produce and sumptuous creations, alongside the makers and bakers. The popular market remains a reliable community event, plus a valuable means to pick up freshly harvested local goods in the very centre of Canada’s most densely populated city.
Swinging through downtown Vancouver on a Wednesday afternoon, it seemed entirely negligent for this reporter not to stop by and see what the hubbub was all about. In between the tasters and conversations I collected some must-taste and must-do highlights. Below are the 8 experiences I most enjoyed.
1. Pastries Perfected – Ça Croustille
A lengthy lineup wound around the richly fragrant Ça Croustille booth. French pastries and breads, of seemingly endless varieties, are stacked to entice all. Their Pan Au Raisin is a thing of rich, buttery majesty. Seek out their store in Kitsilano for more authentic French pastry fixes.
2. Heirloom Tomatoes, Zucchinis & Sunflowers – Baker Breeze Farm
This Abbotsford based husband and wife team specialize in growing succulent, tasty varieties of heirloom tomatoes. The tomatoes are definitely worth their efforts, sweet and flavourful! Be sure to also scoop strawberries, peppers, zucchinis and vibrant sunflowers too!
3. Farm Fromage – The Farm House Natural Cheeses
The Farm House Natural Cheeses is a Fraser Valley operation offering moreish handmade goat’s milk and cow’s milk products. Find creamy bries, tangy sweet goudas, greek yogurts, and more. If cheese, like me, is your thing you won’t want to miss this truck stop.
4. A Satisfying Soundtrack To The Hubbub
I always make a point of checking out the musicians that have been booked for farmers’ markets. I implore you to do the same. Lanwell served up charming folk melodies, a perfect whimsical accompaniment to the stir of people winding around the booths below.
5. It’s All Coming Up Peachy – Rai Produce
Rai Produce, from Osoyoos, produces mouthwatering peaches, nectarines, apples, and cherries. The family farm, owned by the Rai brothers, is a mainstay at lower mainland markets as well as in the Okanagan. The peaches when paired with ice cream may be utterly phenomenal, I couldn’t possibly confirm or deny this.
6. You Mead To Try This – Humblebee Meadery
Humblebee Meadery shows how mead needn’t stagnate in the medieval depths of your imagination, instead bringing startling flavour profiles together for sumptuous modern alcohol-tipples. Let the taste wash over you.
7. Pickled Or Picked It’s All Perfect – Mandair Farms.
A swirl of bodies circled the Mandair Farms booth. A quick peep in revealed delightfully large strawberries, blueberries and various jars of pickled vegetables. The Abbotsford farm has been producing fruit and vegetables since the 1980’s, a true immigration success story.
8. Tamales Today – Tamaly Shop
Tamales are Central American convenience food that’s energy giving, made entirely of natural ingredients and wholly tasty – yes please! The Tamaly Shop booth has a range of the corn husk snack, available alongside homemade molé, chips and antioxidant rich juices.