Ottawa Farmers’ Market moves inside before Christmas

OTTAWA— Upwards of 6,000 dedicated omnivores who shop every Sunday at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market at Lansdowne Park will be delighted to learn it’s moving into the nearby Aberdeen Pavilion for the first time this year, extending the shopping season indoors during the most chilly weeks leading up to Christmas.

There, shoppers can expect more than 100 stalls with vendors selling root vegetables like carrots, potatoes and parsnips, as well as squash and apples. Beyond that, look for a full line of locally produced preserves including pickles, jams, chutneys and spreads, as well as seasonal tourtières and meat pies, bread and cranberry products.

Bryson Farms from Shawville, Que., is also expected to be on hand with an impressive lineup of frozen, farm-raised vegetables and soups, for example.

While there will be some locally produced crafts, market manager Linda Cook says the emphasis, as always, will be on agriculture and food products.

Market organizers also hope to organize indoor cooking demonstrations, and on Dec. 4 will welcome back Niagara-based author Lynn Ogryzlo signing copies of her latest ode to local cuisine, called The Ontario Table.

“We’re very excited about this,” says Linda, who adds the outdoor market, now in its sixth year, would normally have closed on the third week of November. Setting up inside the heritage Aberdeen Pavilion (a.k.a. Cattle Castle) means the market moves indoors for Nov. 20, 27, as well as Dec. 4 and 18 for the Christmas markets.

“This is very important to us because the Aberdeen Pavilion was traditionally dedicated to agricultural use and displays, so this allows us to continue longer into the year. Lots of vendors will still have products, it’s just that we can’t be outside because it gets pretty chilly by December.

“We certainly expect to fill the place,” Linda says, adding that vendors at other local markets that have closed for the season are also being invited to come out. Lansdowne usually has between 75 and 80 vendors on Sundays, some with two or more stalls. Inside the pavilion, Linda expects vendors may take fewer stalls, offering more variety and selection.

“We require that they are local producers and not re-sellers, so they’ll be screened by our committee to ensure their products are high quality and locally produced.”

And, as always, parking is free: If a fee is charged at the Lansdowne entrance due to an unrelated event in the park, visitors can exchange the parking stub for a voucher to purchase goods at the farmers’ market.

Lansdowne is the home base for Ottawa Farmers’ Market, which has just ended this year’s successful satellite operations Fridays in on Centrum Boulevard in Orléans and Wednesdays at Bayshore Shopping Centre.

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