Founded in 1750, the Halifax Farmers’ Market is the oldest continuously operating farmers’ market in North America. Ironically the current market is housed in an ultra-modern LEED certified building newly constructed to house over 250 merchants and marketeers.
A quarter-of-a-millennium ago the market was spread out along the sidewalks of Halifax’s historic Market Street. While the venue has changed the produce and offerings have not, with a panoply of the freshest and choicest foods and other offerings spread across the new market’s airy property.
I had an opportunity to explore the market with Emily Forrest, a knowledgeable guide who recently opened a tour company designed to pamper the gustatory desires of visitors to Halifax. For a bargain price of twenty five dollars Emily leads guests through a tasting extravaganza.
Offerings include genuine Cornish Pasties (that’s a short “a” vowel sound, NOT pronounced like the burlesque garment of the same spelling) available the Maritime Pasty Company. Their Eccles cakes are yummy and be sure to try their Nellie Mott’s Non-Alcoholic Ginger Wine. Remember the password “Tiddy Og” for a dollar off all pastry offerings. (Don’t be put off by all the talk of “tiddies” and “pasties”; this IS a respectable establishment!)
Another not-to-miss shop is the Foxhill Cheese House. This outlet for a sixth generation family farm features non-homogenized chocolate and regular milk in traditional milk bottles. The chocolate milk is light and full of cocoa flavor, unlike the treacly, seaweed-spiked concoction that large dairies serve out. Also a must is to try out the authentic recipe gelato…best I’ve had since visiting Milan.
For scrumptious wraps and hearty Acadian dishes such as fricot, a beef or chicken and vegetable light stew just follow chef Darren Poirier’s rendering of traditional and not-so-traditional songs as he works away at the Wrap So D Catering establishment. He has served over 250,000 of his amazing cinnamon buns: “made with real butter,” he sniffs, unlike a certain other large chain which fancies its cinnamon buns as pretty “hot stuff”.
Whatever your taste, whether it’s specialty breads served by a former high-powered Manhattan lawyer…who looks like your grandma, to home-made soups guaranteed to cure the common cold, you’ll find it here on Halifax’s historic waterfront.
If You Go:
Local Tasting Tours
Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market
The Halifax Farmer’s Market – By Destination Halifax, A. Young – All Rights Reserved
All other images by George Burden – All Rights Reserved
George Burden says
Thanks for your kind comments John. I have been doing quite a few articles on the Halifax area and Nova Scotia for Life as a Human, including a series on the islands in the harbour, which you might enjoy. Be sure to come back for a visit!
John C. Fentress, PhD says
Lovely to see this article. I spent more than 30 years in Halifax, where I was a professor in psychology and neuroscience. Its a truly beautiful city. The local people have done a superb job fixing up and maintaining the water front area, now including this lovely market. Great province; wonderful people. Late summer through mid October (including Canadian Thanksgiving with the fall colors) are perfect times to visit. Its worth the trip. Stay for a while and enjoy the rich culture.
Thanks for sharing this.