I love fresh produce. I have enjoyed growing my own at times, and I still feel like nothing beats picking a bright red tomato, still warm from the vine, and making a tomato sandwich right then. But when I’m not picking my own produce (which I have to say has been less often in recent years), I love having the option of supporting local farmers.
To me, supporting local farmers can mean many things, from checking to make sure the produce I buy at my local supermarket is as local as possible, to buying directly from the farmers. When I buy local, I know I am reducing my ecological footprint and getting the freshest products I can.
In Bridgewater, there are so many options! From farm stands to farmer’s markets to CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture). Here are a few to get you started.
Farmers’ Markets are spaces where many local farmers, artisans, and craftspeople can sell their wares directly to customers without a middle person. In many communities (especially when there isn’t a pandemic), they often have live music and become gathering places for much more than just shopping. I look forward to when these markets are once again vibrant community centres. For now, they operate according to provincial guidelines for COVID safety.
Bridgewater Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays from late May until late October plus a couple of special holiday markets in November and December in the Bridgewater Memorial Arena at 123 Empire Street. A wide variety of vendors including fresh products, cooked foods, baked goods, coffee, soaps, and more.
Lunenburg Farmers’ Market is a 20 minute drive from Bridgewater and operates year round on Thursdays at the Lunenburg Community Center. They have good COVID procedures in place for in person shopping or you can order online and pick up at the door.
Wile’s Lake Farm Market is about a 10 minute drive from Bridgewater. “Food, flowers, and fun! That’s what you’ll find at Wile’s Lake Farm Market, where our baked goods, prepared food, farm produce, and garden centre plants and flowers have been delighting our customers for over 30 years.” Produce grown on the farm and by other local farmers and food artisans available.
Community Supported Agriculture
Buying a CSA share is more than just buying local produce. It is supporting local agriculture in a much more direct way. Because farmers have substantial costs in the winter and early spring but don’t have much income until mid to late summer, they often have to take out loans to get their crops planted and to market stage. A CSA farm sells shares to customers early to help cover those months before crops are ready for market. Customers get great local produce in exchange for sharing the risks associated with farming.
Heart & Soil Farm NS offers an eight-week, one-size box CSA share of herbs and vegetables, all hand seeded and naturally grown. Pickup is at the farm on Lower Branch Road (about a ten-minute drive from Bridgewater).
Mirella Rose Farm practices small-scale grass-based farming using methods from biodynamic and organic farming (though not certified in either). They produce a variety of meats (chicken, duck, pork, beef, lamb), eggs, vegetables, and fruit. They have a “highly customizable” CSA membership.
Soil Mates Farm, in Farmington, NS, are first-generation farmers who are passionate about feeding themselves, their community, and the soil. They offer a weekly vegetable basket for 19 weeks in two sizes. Three pickup locations are available: Lunenburg Farmers’ Market, at their farm, and in the Lane’s Privateer Inn Parking Lot in Liverpool.
Watershed Farm is a CSA dedicated to organic and biodynamic principles growing herbs, fruits, and flowers.
This summer, some of the Treehouse Villagers already living in Bridgewater will be coordinating pickups of our CSA shares. When we move into Treehouse Village, we look forward to preparing community meals with local, fresh produce in addition to feeding our own households.
Do you know of any other Bridgewater farmers’ markets or CSAs? Leave us a comment and we’ll add it to the list.