As she showed us some of the more than 250 varieties of fruits and vegetables she grows, the group learned that Ann’s work at Simpler Thyme was a labour of love. When she moved out to the Freelton area from downtown Hamilton 25 years ago, she didn’t plan on farming, she explained. Now, she has volunteers from across the world who are there helping her grow and harvest.
First, she talked with us about concerns facing farmers in Ontario, as well as her efforts to eat a completely local diet. She then led us through her garden, where she challenged us to identify the various plants. With the help of one member of Neighbour to Neighbour, she even discovered a new variety in her garden. Then, in the forested half of the 50-acre farm, she described the hard work that goes into harvesting maple syrup from the trees in a traditional and sustainable way.
At the greenhouse of Bill Orosz, who owns half of Simpler Thyme, Ann showed us the various natural methods (from thick plastic to geothermal technologies) that the building uses to simulate a warmer climate. In the greenhouse, Bill has grown bananas, papayas and other tropical fruits. We then stopped by to see Ann’s pigs and chickens before heading back to her home for refreshments and market shopping.
The adventure with Neighbour to Neighbour is one of five trips for Hamilton community centres that Hamilton Eat Local is helping to organize this summer and fall. Be sure to get your tickets for Hamilton Eat Local's Rural Routes tours, which are open to the public.
Binbrook Farmers' Market is open Saturday mornings from 8am to noon at the Binbrook Fairgrounds (2600 Regional Road #56). It's sponsored by the Binbrook Agricultural Society, which is gearing up for its 157th Binbrook Fair from September 16th-18th.
Downtown Farmers' Market underwent renovations over the winter and was reopened in Jackson Square (York Blvd side) in February. Its hours are Tuesdays 7am-6pm, Thursdays 7am-6pm, Fridays 8am-6pm and Saturdays 6am-6pm. In addition to its themed cooking classes, Saturdays at the market feature Kids in the Kitchen (10-10:30am), the Market Fresh Cooking Demonstration (11-11:30am) and live entertainment every other weekend in the market food court.
Dundas Farmers' Market is located in Municipal Parking Lot 7D at Hatt Street and Miller’s Lane and is open every Thursday from 3-7pm until October 27th.
Locke Street Farmers' Market is back for a second year, open every Thursday from 3-7pm at 211 Locke Street South (Fenian Films parking lot - across the street from Locke Street Bakery). The market will run until the end of October.
Makers' Market, open outside Christ’s Church Cathedral (252 James Street North), is in its fifth season. Browse art, photography, jewellery, clothing, gifts and accessories made by local and independent artists. It’s open on Saturdays from 10am to 3pm, and during Art Crawl on the second Friday of every month.
McMaster Farm Stand was started last year as a project of the McMaster Students Union, and is back for another season, having celebrated its grand opening for the year on July 13th. It will be open two days a week, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11:30am to 3pm. The farm stand will feature deals on in-season produce. It is located on the McMaster campus, across from University Hall and in front of the Nina de Villers Memorial Garden.
Mountain Farmers' Market has a wide selection, friendly people and a great view of the city! It’s open every Saturday from 7am to 1pm until late October. It’s located at 19 Viewpoint Avenue, just off Concession Street.
Ottawa Street Farmers' Market is open year 'round, Fridays and Saturdays from 7am-3pm at 204 Ottawa Street North. The market is gearing up for "Sew Hungry: Food Truck Rally 2011" on Ottawa Street. The big event will take place on Friday, September 16th, 2011. Keep an eye on the market's Facebook page for details.