Story and photos by Sarah Crookall, video by Phil Raby
Like a hidden gem, a new farmers’ market is located in a cranny of the downtown Oshawa core and is ripe with plenty of goodies.
Every Tuesday local vendors bring fresh goods from their farms, from fruits and vegetables to baked and bottled items. Nestled between the Regent Theatre and Bell Telecommunications on the Victoria Street pedestrian walkway, the marketplace held its grand opening on July 3.
“I think a lot of people like it because there’s not as many places to go grocery shopping close by,” said Sandor Park of Pingle’s Farm Market. The 25-year-old farm participated in its first farmers’ market this year, and has another station at the north Oshawa farmers’ market.
“A lot of people can’t always come to the farm to buy their goods, so the farmers’ markets are a good way for people to get the goods they need,” said Park.
Joy Vogel-Lahti of Joy in Your Kitchen prepares fully-cooked dishes from local ingredients, which she then delivers frozen ready to be heated and served. She also explained how the farmers’ market is a convenient location for her clients. “Most people are happy with something that is accessible,” she said. “People who don’t drive can come pick up what they need and not have to drive anywhere or get a cab.”
Ms. Vogel-Lahti offers samples of her creations at her table, along with her homemade sauces. A tent and table over, Willowtree Farm had fresh garlic and a variety of produce from the Port Perry farm. Pingle’s Farm Market also tempted passersby with strawberry-rhubarb pies, butter tarts and produce.
Currently raspberries and strawberries are in season said Park, along with other fruits that have been harvested early because of warm weather. In coming weeks Pingle’s Farm Market will bring more seasonal goods to its table, such as tomatoes and corn.
“A lot of seniors live close by, so they come by first thing in the morning,” said Park. Opening at 10 a.m. on a weekday, the market serves many of the office and lunch-time crowds passing through the downtown area.
The not-for-profit market is sponsored by the Student Association of Durham College and UOIT. The goal of the downtown market is to stimulate the local economic, environmental and social sectors.
“I know the board was really pushing to bring this to the downtown because they’re trying to get a more positive atmosphere down there and support locally grown stuff,” said market manager Justin Meloche.
Next on the market’s agenda are plans to host live entertainment and additional vendors. The freshly created market will continue to be open Tuesdays from 10 a.m. through 3:30 p.m. until October.
Meloche expects that the operation will grow. “This is our first year in the location and a lot more vendors are interested,” he said. “We plan to expand really soon, so you can expect a lot more coming.”