Oh my! We have visited some pretty impressive farmers markets over the years, but Salt Spring Island’s famous Saturday Market outdoes them all.
The last time we visited 20 years ago, the market was a thriving operation with, perhaps, 80 vendors – very impressive in the days before farmers markets became ‘the thing.’ Two decades later the number of booths has rocketed to 140-plus, occupying a huge portion of the oceanfront Centennial Park in downtown Ganges. While the market is large it was gratifying to see that there is also tremendous depth of quality in the products offered – the mantra of ‘make it, bake it or grow it’ resonates on Salt Spring, for many years a hotbed of inspired artists and a dedicated farming community.
The other great thing about the market is that most of the food items are concentrated in one area, with many of the craftsmen and artisans located along the leafy walkway of the park. It makes it easy to just pop in and purchase your groceries for the week if you are so inclined, without having to wade through huge crowds. But for visitors to Salt Spring a thorough tour of the entire market is advised – there is such a massive range of beautiful items that it is worth the time to meander along and enjoy the experience.
We began our explorations at the food end, marveling at the abundant displays of fruit and vegetables, many of them organically grown. We enjoyed samples of such diverse treats as sprouted peanuts and organic cheese. Artisan bread and decadent pastries (some from an authentic French patisserie) shone in tempting displays and a huge booth crammed with gorgeous floral arrangements stole my heart.
For those needing a pick-me-up (or a quick lunch) there were luscious looking pot stickers on offer along with other hot offerings.
The crafts offered for sale are all of such splendid quality that it wouldn’t be difficult to do all your Christmas shopping in this single location. Gorgeous colourful felted slippers, unique clothing items, jewellery, pottery, wind chimes, fairy doors, garden and home décor, bags created from discarded clothing, giant metal bugs – the list is endless and engaging.
All-told, we spent a couple of hours wandering about, enjoying the ambiance of the waterfront location and the atmosphere of one of the most eclectic farmers markets in the area. This is not a place you should expect to visit and be done with in just a few minutes – the enchantment of so much excellent product to enjoy will draw you in, guaranteed.
The Salt Spring Saturday Market runs outdoors from Easter weekend to the last weekend in October. Vendor booths are open for business between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Further information on the market can be found at the website:
GPS co-ordinates are:
Lat. 48.852390 Long. -123.498634
N 48 51.143 W 123 29.918