Farm markets are a wonderful starting point for both locals and tourists to Vancouver Island who enjoy exploring new and different foods, engaging with the local farming community, and finding the freshest and best-tasting produce available. You can start by checking out these tourist favourites in both Victoria and Sidney, BC.
Moss Street Market
For one of Victoria’s largest selections of locally grown produce, drop by the Moss Street Market. Between May and October, you can find it at the Sir James Douglas school yard and boulevard, on the corner of Moss Street and Fairfield Road. During the rest of the year, it switches to an indoor venue – the Garry Oak Room on Thurlow Street.
Held on Saturdays starting at 10am, the Moss Street Market features more than 25 farmers who grow produce with an organic and sustainable approach, as verified by the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets. From a variety of fruits and vegetables (including apples, pears, berries, greens, potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, and herbs) to seeds, plants, and flowers, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
You can also get jam, coffee, preserves, tea, honey, salsa, and baked goods; some tuna, salmon, chicken, pork, turkey and lamb; and even handmade crafts, accessories, and home and bath products.
Victoria Downtown Farmers’ Market
Every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday all year-round, there’s an indoor farmers’ market within the public market at the Hudson which gathers the cream of the crop of Victoria’s farms. It runs between 11am and 3pm, offering the freshest mushrooms and sprouts, organic fruits, vegetables, herbs, the finest honey, olive oils and balsamic vinegars, and even free-range poultry and eggs.
Are you a fan of specialty wine and chocolates? Keep an eye out then for the winery and artisan chocolate stalls, along with vendors famed for their baked treats and pre-packaged frozen meals.
Oaklands Sunset Market
Cap off your Wednesday itinerary with a stop at the Oaklands Sunset Market along Belmont Avenue in Victoria. Open between 4:30 and 8:30pm from June to September, this outdoor market has table after table of fresh produce, baked goods, and prepared food. Vendors and even food trucks also display the ingredients they use, so you can trace and check what goes into everything you purchase there.
If you can, catch the new bi-monthly Bottles Sales event at the Beer Garden area and enjoy a sip or two of local winery, brewery, and cider-house favorites.
James Bay Outdoor Community Market
Another must-visit, the James Bay Outdoor Community Market sits at the corner of Menzies and Superior Streets, just two minutes from Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Pick up some local fruits and vegetables, fresh flowers, baked treats, hot and cold snacks, prepared meals and items for your arts and crafts collection.
More than 50 vendor tents are set up throughout the green space that the market occupies. You can check them out on Saturdays from 9am to 3pm from May to October.
Sidney Street Market
If you’re in Sidney on a Thursday, spend your evening at the town’s festive outdoor market at Beacon Avenue. From May to August between 5 to 8:30pm, the avenue is closed to traffic and more than 150 vendors line the main street to welcome locals and tourists alike.
The Sidney Street Market actually draws as many as 5,000 visitors each night, thanks in large part to its assorted selection. Yes, there’s lots of fresh, locally grown produce and flowers, plus homemade breads and jams. You can also spot handcrafted jewelry, toys, and other gift items made by local artisans. Need a quick bite? Plenty of food kiosks are set up as well.
Whether you’re indulging your culinary sense of adventure or simply looking to sample the best of local food, Vancouver Island’s farm markets have you covered. Be sure to drop by one during your travels here and, of course, bring your appetite.
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Featured image credit: By Tracy O from Victoria, BC (Blueberries 2) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0), via Wikimedia Commons