Sunday, May 8, 2011

To market, to market: Hubbards Farmers' Market opens for the 2011 season.

Coffee is always our first order of business on any market adventure.
The breeze was cool and the coffee hot at yesterday's season opening of the Hubbards Farmers' Market. Located in the heart of coastal Hubbards, this tiny market packs a lot of punch. Its vendors cover the same range of food groups and local art you'll find at the Seaport Farmers' Market in Halifax, but the smaller scale and country setting give this market an edge in comfort and community. Despite the cool weather there was a solid turnout, and people milled in and out of the barn with their coffees and dogs, children running wild across the grassy clearings. We even had a few patches of sunshine.

I wasn't sure what to expect so early in the season, but as we wandered around I made a few precious discoveries.

Broadfork Farm and their army of glorious tomato seedlings.

After coffee, the stunning tomato seedlings from Broadfork Farm were the first to catch my eye. They had so many varieties I could barely contain myself, and I saw a San Marzano plant that was nearly a foot tall!  When I commented on the size and health of their plants, Shannon explained to me that they heat their seedlings from underneath: perfect growing conditions for heat-loving, sun-sucking tomatoes.  I will most definitely be visiting them again soon.

Blueberry honey from Higbee's Berry Farm in New Ross.

I was drawn like bees to honey (.....what??) to a large corner table where Higbee's Berry Farm was displaying jar upon jar of sunny yellow honey. And not just any honey - they were selling blueberry honey. I was sold, and so were a lot of other people; in the time it took me to snap a few close-ups and scratch out some notes, I saw at least half a dozen other honey-lovers buy a jar of the sweet stuff. Higbee's is well-known for its blueberry production, and they have managed to extend their strawberry season to one of the longest in the province. Their market table is always full of surprises: last fall I even scored some chanterelles. Thanks to Cindy for letting me get so close.

Sunflower (left) and pea shoots from Pleasant Hill Farm.

Our last stop on the Hubbards Market circuit was Pleasant Hill Farm's outdoor stand, where generous bags of organic bright green arugula and pea shoots practically shouted spring. I talked with Cindy (another Cindy) for a minute about my bag of pea shoots and she professed to love the sunflower shoots even more. She gave me a sample, and I instantly bought a bag of those too. They were sunflower seed meets leafy green and I was already imagining them on my dinner plate.

And so, an hour later, we took our small bag of market treasures and a camera full of pictures home for the day. Filled with low-key country atmosphere and brilliant surprises, I think the Hubbard's Market opening was just the beginning of an exciting market season to come. Hope to see you there soon!

ps. There are a few extra photos of the market opening on the Hungry Tiller Facebook site. Just follow the link on your upper right.


  1. Great post.. so happy to have discovered your blog.. those sprouts look good enough to eat! We're in the same neck of the woods, so I'm looking forward to following your blog.

  2. Thanks Niki. The sprouts were amazing! We had them for supper over the last two nights tossed with a light lemon dressing and a bit of green apple. I'm hoping they have them again next weekend!


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