Thursday, 6 October 2011

Off to the farmers market we go...

 One of our favourite family outings is waking up early, piling in the car, grabbing a large Timmy's and making our way to the 'valley'. The valley in question being the Annapolis Valley, about a 40 minute drive from Halifax. Usually the scenery is enough to draw us here, with endlessly green rolling pastures, thick and leafy tree lined boulevards, magazine-cover-worthy houses and the smell of farm freshness in the air.

The Valley technically ranges from Windsor to Digby bordered by mountains and the Bay of Fundy, but for me the valley comprises of my favourite towns and villages beginning with Windsor venturing out as far as Canning and ending with Kentville in the south.

This particular trip had us visiting the farmers market - Hennigar's in particular, which is our favourite.

The valley I speak of boasts over 600 farms ranging from dairy and cheese to apple, corn, vegetable and even lavender (seasonally specific). Being autumn at the moment, all of the apple and pumpkin U-Picks are a flurry with families, home-cooks and anyone wanting a fun day out with Mother Nature. It is so much cheaper to buy right from the farm and so much better for the local economy, not to mention the environment.

For me, it is for secretly selfish reasons.. I like to imagine myself living the lifestyle of the farmer. I dream of one day operating my own pretty picket fenced hobby farm, complete with goats, pigs, ducks, bees, chickens, herbs and vegetables - maybe even a horse! Not too big but large enough to encompass tree lined grazing paddocks and a lake or a stream. I want to be self- sufficient.

In a perfect world I would make my own goats cheese and yoghurt, extract my own honey, smoke and cure my own bacon and ham, make sausages (charcuterie) and collect fresh eggs and vegetables.
 Maybe even have a 10 mile restaurant on the property complete with bed&breakfast cottages.

But back down to earth.....this time we went to the market with some seasonal purchases in mind - fresh sweet apple cider, pumpkins and potatoes.
I don't know if Hennigar's necessarily has the best produce, but my Fiance and I definitely think they have the best variety in their store. Here you will find a thorough selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables, locally made jams, jellies and preserves, an in-store bakehouse and country gift-store.

The service is old-fashioned and I am always super impressed that they give free cider samplings and that the staff hand polish every apple that is put out - the fall Honeycrisp are the best!
And for all of those outings, especially in the summer, when you feel you need a treat, Hennigar's even has an in-house ice-creamery and homemade fudge bar. The fudge is creamy sugary goodness too!!

Lets just say the drive from Halifax is worth it for sure..and make it a full days event people - don't forget to visit Blomidon lookout over the valley too.....Oh and the butcher in Canning....and the wineries in Grand Pre...and the Library Pub in Wolfville....and the Tangled Garden....the original Just Us! cafe....and the farmers market in Wolfville. Just to name a few!

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