Forget Stampede. With more than a dozen farmers’ markets vying for Calgarians’ attention each week, these friendly expos are the best way for urbanites to connect with the sturdy agricultural-backbone of our province. Here are a few places to go when you’re ready to buy the farm.
Calgary West Country Market
With space for 200 vendors, the Wild West-themed bazaar aims to be the lead horse in Cowtown’s community market race. Here you can find some of the freshest produce, salmon, steaks and baked goods around. The superb selection of locally-sourced food is only half the attraction: Promotions, demos and concerts enhance the rodeo-esque experience. April 18 to October 27. Saturday 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Wild West Event Centre near Calaway Park
Hillhurst Sunnyside Farmers’ Market
This is the best place to learn about the newest practices in organic farming, gardening and, of course, “beer gardening” (the market’s adult beverage corral is legendary). May 30 to October 3. Wednesday 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association
Kingsland Farmers’ Market
In addition to wares from local farmers, producers and artisans, the market boasts some excellent eateries. Hit up Coco Brooks pizzas or Jackson’s Deli (famous for its oven-cooked Alberta roast beef sandwich) while the kids play in that ridiculous inflatable castle. Year-round. Thursday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 7711 McLeod Tr. S.W.
Calgary Farmers’ Market
A decade of experience has made this one of the city’s premiere shopping attractions. North America Farm Direct Marketing Association named the CFM “the best planned farmers’ market on the continent” in 2007 – and this was before the market’s 80 vendors moved to a gorgeous new facility last year. More than 20,000 Calgarians visit each week to grab fresh spices, authentic Quebec cheese curds and elk. Year-round. Thursday – Sunday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. 510 77 Ave. S.E.
Image courtesy of Frank Kehren.