Simcoe Farmer’s Market
172 South Drive,
Norfolk County Fairgrounds
Open every Thursday from 9 am to 4 pm all year round. There are 30 – 50 vendors
History of Simcoe Farmers Market
In 1849 George Kent donated some land to be used for a market. This area between what is now known as Robinson, Head, Talbot and Market streets, was an open-air market until 1868. Then a building was erected mainly to be used by the market butchers with the rest of the market, including live animals, outside. It was often a struggle to keep the market going. In 1980 the Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce suggested reviving a summer market to promote tourism and to bring local farm fresh produce to local residents.
During the winter of 1980, some dedicated vendors and market supporters searched for a building that could be used for a permanent year round market. By the spring of 1981, the market had a home. The Norfolk County Fair Board offered to rent the market the ground floor area of a large building with plenty of space out back for parking and the outside market. The market was a risky business at first with only 6 vendors staying during the winter to pay the rent. Fortunately, the Town of Simcoe agreed to support and run the market, realizing that a market is a very usefull community amenity. From those scant beginnings, we have grown to 32 year round vendors, with a waiting list. In addition, we have up to 20 local farmers bringing their produce to out outside market. Over the years, we have made several improvements, most noticeably the heating (4 furnaces), new doors and stairwell enclosures. Now in the winter we do not need our winter coats on! What a difference from that first year when those 6 vendors had only snow suits, enthusiasm, commitment and a rented construction heater to keep them warm. The heater made so much noise, they had to shout to each other.
Our now vibrant market offers the customer the opportunity to talk to the people who make or grow what they sell and evidence of the pride and knowledge in the products is obvious. There are organic, hydroponic, odd and unusual varieties of vegetables, fruits and flowers, preserves from own produce and home baked pies. We have vendors who press their own apple cider, collect honey and tap the maple trees to make syrup. Specialty bakeries offer Canadian, Dutch and Portuguese goodies, and there are bulk baking supplies for customers who make their own. There are vendors who butcher the meat they sell, catch and smoke the fish they sell, process the poultry, rabbits, eggs, and deli and make the cheese they bring to market. Other vendors buy a large variety of produce which helps to give the market a more varied selection of fruits and vegetables which just do not grow in Ontario’s winter! The list goes on as we walk through the craft-section displaying beautifully made pottery, woodwork, leatherwork, baby clothes, sewing, knitting, handmade soaps and creams and miscellaneous items. There is also a lunch counter and in season the best homemade ice cream. The market is a community event where many people meet their friends and neighbours while shopping in a more personal way than at a supermarket.
Simcoe Farmer’s Market is a place
“Where Good Things and good Friends Meet”.