Waterloo farmers' market
Along with my two sons, 8 and 10, I'm planning to eat my way through the St. Jacobs/Kitchener/Waterloo farmers' market next Saturday. It can be a bit overwhelming though, so I'd appreciate any recommendations for bread, cheese, pastry and anything else we should know about. Thanks!
I went to UW and lived in Waterloo for close to 9 years. St. Jacob's is certainly a popular destination for locals... and.. *shudder*... bus tourists.
St. Jacobs... I would recommend:
- Eating: There's a food court/eating area at one end of the market. There are two places I recommend without reservation: The pancake and farmer's sausage place (sorry.. don't remember the name), and the apple fritter place. At both eateries the goods are made to order. Your children might also be interested in seeing how the fritters are made, from peeling and coring using old style equipment to frying and packing.
There's also a fresh fish fry truck outside. Again, all fish is made to order and the style is Scandavanian in nature. Delicious.
- Grocery shopping: In terms of veggies and fruits, head outside. The selection is definitely better, and prices tend to get lower the further you're away from the central barn.
- Baked goods: There's a vendor outside the rear (facing the outdoor vendors rather than the parking lot) that sells a *large* selection of bread in large cardboard boxes. They range from normal loaves to more obscure Portuguese sweet pastries. I highly recommend the variety of fruit-filled Portuguese breads.
In terms of when to go, I'd head there early morning (< 0900hrs) for an unrushed experience, or early afternoon for the good deals when the vendors are anxious to relieve themselves of their produce. If you head there after 0900hrs, the main indoor building is usually PACKED, and I"m not kidding about how packed it usually gets. There's barely any walking room from vendor to vendor and it's not really conducive to a good educational experience. Make sure you have a good grasp on your children's hands if you do decide to venture indoors during peak hours. On the other hand, the peak hours are the best time to walk the outdoor portion when the vendors have all their goods out.
Kitchener Market... The Croatian Cuisine offers a pig roast every Saturday! I've been there a few times and I can honestly say it certainly does not disappoint.
Early afternoon = food shopping... which I neglected to provide commentary.
There's a fairly popular poultry vendor in the inside market. You can't miss it... it's the only one with a sea of crowds in the front (I believe the colour scheme of their uniforms/logos is blue and white, and they're located next to an entrance). There, you can purchase fresh eggs (popular amount is a flat of 24) and fresh chickens and turkeys. Throughout university when I was doing a roasted turkey, I would get it from there. They also sell poultry innards which are awesome for stir frys and.. other culinary experiments.
In terms of other meats, the vendors inside are all pretty good. One particular memory is a vendor that has farmers sausage on display... but it is one ginormous link coiled high. The sausages are bought by the pound and they'll pinch the sausages to the length of your choice when you order. They're ridiculously fresh and contains no preservatives, so you'll have to consume them post-haste. I've tried grilling them, and broiling them in an oven, but the best result came about in a merlot simmer with the prerequisite stewing vegetables and a bay leaf.