Exploring Some of the Lakeland’s Indoor Farmers’ Markets
Summer may be over, but it’s not too late to get your fix of farmers’ market goodness.
As the temperature begins to chill and the nights get longer, the urge to visit an indoor market to stock up intensifies. We’re clearly all bears looking to get ready for hibernation, right? Thankfully, Alberta’s Lakeland offers some of the best in locally made food and wares from neighbourhood vendors that’ll have you stoked for more.
And the best part – there are plenty of indoor markets waiting for you!
So with that said, here are some key indoor farmers’ markets in the heart of the Lakeland worth experiencing.
Start with a trip to Cold Lake’s Exhibition Park for an indoor Thursday market experience you won’t find anywhere else. The sizeable Exhibition Park Agriplex is home to an amazing selection of local products and goods. We’re talking baked goods, honey, eggs, pies, vegetables, pirogies, berries, jams, homemade crafts all from amazing vendors serving the Cold Lake area and beyond. That’s also not including the kids’ play area or the on-site concession, making the Cold Lake Farmers’ Market a must-visit all year round.
From there, it’s off to Bonnyville for their Saturday farmers’ market held at the Bonnyville & District Leisure Center. That’s right – Bonnyville is home to two weekly farmers’ markets and the Saturday iteration is open year-round, offering plenty of farm-fresh baking, meat, artisanal products, organic honey, homemade preserves and tons of Ukrainian, Chinese and German food to go around!
Dare we get crafty at the Smoky Lake Market? The Smoky Lake Agricultural Society plays host to a cornucopia of vendors at its Agricultural Complex every Saturday morning. The market is always open to new vendors, so no two Saturday markets are exactly the same. Expect local produce to sit hand in hand with food demonstrations, free-range eggs, handmade crafts and traditional Ukrainian food all year long.
The farmers’ markets in Smoky Lake are great community experiences and nothing proves this better than their large-scale special markets. Starting with the Super Easter Market, the special markets double the number of vendors. The Great White North Pumpkin Fair happens every October, featuring 90 vendors and held in massive tents as growers from all over bring their best pumpkins, squash and gourds for a dramatic weigh-off of epic proportions. Then there’s the Local Food Celebration and finally, a Christmas Market for those in search of winter joy.
Make It, Bake It, Grow It!
From there, it’s time to head up north to Lac La Biche. The Lac La Biche Farmers’ Market has a little something for everyone; it’s lasted as a community mainstay for over 40 years by providing a wide variety of items including seasonal vegetables harvested right in the neighbourhood, freshly sourced meats, unique products and crafts from local artists and artisans. The market is backed by an eclectic mix of local vendors and community supporters, bringing homemade chocolate treats, custom Raggedy Annes, fruits and berries from British Columbia and a healthy helping of beef jerky into the mix. As the market cutely describes it – if you can make it, bake it or grow it, you’ve got a great chance of having it featured at the market!
St. Paul is home to the world’s first UFO landing pad, the Iron Horse Trail and the St. Brides Trading Post, home to a huge array of hides and furs and plenty more. St. Paul is also home to a wonderful Farmers’ Market held at the Centennial Senior’s Centre every Friday morning. There are tablecloths and linens to find, hot bowls of soup and sweet treats to consume, window plants to admire and plenty of crochet decor to take home.
Vermilion plays host to a regular Tuesday afternoon market right off its main street! You’ll want to take the time to explore – Vermilion offers plenty of charm and hidden gems to find in its picturesque shopping districts and local hubs. It’s only right any visit to Vermilion gets topped off with the chance to find great local products in a family-friendly environment!
Deck The Halls
Who doesn’t love a festive holiday shopping season? The Christmas spirit is loaded with joy and cheer so powerful that it’s capable of bringing farmers’ markets back to life. Starting in November, plenty more markets open up for one-off winter markets. Christmas Markets are a thing of wonder. With an added emphasis on unique vendors providing answers for every Christmas dilemma you’ll inevitably run into this season, you’ll find plenty of what makes markets already great: produce, local unique items and more. But Christmas means so much more baking, preserves, home decor, artwork and plenty of unique items for the loved ones hard to please on your Christmas list.
The winter market season begins the first Saturday of November, with the Vilna Cultural Centre opening up for the town’s Christmas market. Did we mention they’re also accepting donations for the Smoky Lake Food Bank? The very same day, the Glendon RCMP Hall will also be opening its doors for its annual Christmas market. Expect plenty of local unique flavour, concession and a special appearance by a certain white-haired fellow!
Christmas aficionados in Vermillion worry not; a Christmas market touches down on the last Tuesday of November, where you’ll find plenty of winter-themed products, wares and gifts to transform your Christmas shopping list into something truly incredible. Boyle’s Christmas farmers’ market, occurring just a few days before, offers a wide range of vendors taking space on both floors of the Boyle Community Hall including Christmas gift baskets, decor, smoked meats and more.
As the countdown to Christmas begins, know that you don’t have to panic if you’ve left your holiday preparation in the cold. During the month of December, similar markets take place in Smoky Lake, Lac La Biche, Bonnyville, Cold Lake and St. Paul. There’ll be plenty of different vendors selling one-of-a-kind items that double as excellent gift ideas made for the community in mind. Keep an eye out as you cross off your list – you’ll never know what you might find.
From pumpkin-inspired markets to winter wonderlands, there’s still plenty of farm market magic to tap into down in Alberta’s Lakeland. Here’s to great adventure found only in farmers’ markets!
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