For over 150 years the small paved space at 52 Frank Street in Strathroy has been leading a double life. While the painted yellow lines that stripe its asphalt may lead you to believe it’s just a parking lot, Market Square has been a gathering place for merchants and the community since 1861.
Every summer Saturday morning, from 8 a.m. until noon, you can witness a special transformation as Market Square becomes The Strathroy Farmers’ Market. This quaint market brings together area farmers, merchants and entrepreneurs who offer local produce, plants, crafts and candles, as well as specialty products like beloved Girl Guide cookies, Epicure Selections and Arbonne Cosmetics.
According to Market Manager Daryl Bycraft, the market provides a unique opportunity to shop and socialize in a centralized location that is within walking distance for many Strathroy residents, and only a short drive from London.
While business peaks in mid-July as most fruits and vegetables come into season, high-quality local products and approachable, friendly vendors are always available.
Run by twelve-year-old entrepreneur Alex Jackman, Skeezeys Garden provides a one-stop shop for fresh fruits and vegetables sourced from local farms in Wyoming, Mount Brydges and Strathroy. Currently asparagus and rhubarb are in abundant supply, and more produce is on the way, including yellow watermelon and the best seller of the season – fresh peaches, which arrive in August.
Tony’s Quality Homemade Breads is a new side-venture for Tony Bruinink, the ex-co-owner of Hollandia Cookies, and his wife Shirley. , The market is the place to be if you’re hoping for a taste of tradition from this baker, who has no brick and mortar location. Bruinink learned the tricks of the trade from his father, who was a baker in Holland. Multi-grain, potato and raisin bread are familiar favourites, while the cinnamon sugar bread, a sweet regional specialty from the province of Friesland in northern Holland, provides a taste of something different.
The Strathroy Farmers’ Market is also an excellent stop if you’re hoping to beautify your own garden.
Bycraft Gardens offers a variety of perennials, herbs, grasses, annuals and hanging baskets.
Almo Gardens provides an assortment of trees, including red dogwood, white pine, Norway spruce, oak, white birch and more, which are all grown from seedlings on Alex and Monica Lamothe’s 47-acre tree farm.
Later in the season, on August 24th, the Strathroy Horticultural Society will hold their plant and bake sale, and on October 19th, the weekend before Halloween, the Strathroy Art Group will be selling painted pumpkins that are sure to add a touch of magic to your seasonal decorating.
No matter when in the season you visit the Strathroy Farmers’ Market, you’ll be pleased to find many friendly faces, and vendors who are knowledgeable and passionate about their products. Who knows, you may even make a new friend.
TANYA CHOPP is London-based marketing communications specialist and freelance writer whose work is focused on the promotion of health, wellness and support of the arts. She cooks with wine, and sometimes she even adds it to the food.