There are few better ways of immersing yourself in a new destination’s culture and heritage than through its food – and there are few better places to do so than at a farmers market! Chat with locals, learn how their favorite dishes and delicacies are created, and sample things you’ve never even heard of. Here are some of the world’s best.
USA – Union Square, New York City
While you might not associate the Big Apple with, well, literal apples, the Union Square farmers market might just change your mind. Already one of the world’s favorite once in a lifetime holiday destinations, New York might be more famous for its cultural and big-city-vibe attractions, but if you’d like to experience a little bit of the country during your stay, then this is definitely the place to do so. Founded in 1976, this farmers market takes full advantage of the State’s many orchards and wine regions and boasts more than 140 different vendors. Local chefs frequently give cooking demonstrations, and you’ll find everything you need from fresh produce and veggies, to fresh fish, artisanal soaps and locally produced crafts, treats and beverages.
Australia – Byron Bay Farmers Market, New South Wales
If you’ve headed to Byron Bay for its amazing surfing and scuba diving opportunities, then you might want to add the local farmers market to your itinerary too. With specialties like freshly squeezed sugar cane juice, local honeys and coffees, miso and everything in between, you don’t want to miss the weekly Byron Bay Farmers Market every Thursday between 8 and 11. Stallholders are only permitted to sell produce that they’ve grown or produced themselves, so freshness and authenticity are guaranteed. If you miss the main event, then the market’s smaller sister event, the Bangalow Farmers Market, is also open every Saturday at the same time.
South Africa – Langenhovenpark Boeremark, Bloemfontein, Free State
Bloemfontein, one of South Africa’s favorite small-town getaway destinations and the country’s judicial capital, also hides a pretty special little secret. As the locals know, the fantastic Langenhovenpark Boeremark farmers market is open every Saturday morning from 7am until 1pm – but you’ll want to get there early as the goodies on offer sell fast! With pony rides and jumping castles for the little ones, it makes a great morning out for the whole family. Aside from all the fresh veggies, yummy homemade biscuits, cakes, jams and preserves you would expect, stalls also sell everything from clothing and books to jewelry, so it’s the perfect spot to find souvenirs and presents for your loved ones back home. The stylish three star BON Hotel provides centralized accommodation Bloemfontein, or try out a local B&B or guesthouse – either way you’re in for some real small town hospitality.
Britain – Ely Market Place, Cambridgeshire
If sustainably grown produce and ethically produced meats and cheeses are your thing, then make sure to swing past Ely Market Place, where you’ll find everything from game meats to free range eggs to freshly cut flowers. They’ve also become justly famous for their dedicated vegan alley, where you can try out some exotic plant-based dishes like cashew cheese and even vegan “Scotch eggless”! The main event happens every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month, but a smaller general market is also open on Thursdays and Sundays. If seasonal and locally produced eats are your thing, then you don’t want to miss this special farmers’ market.
Canada – St Jacobs Farmers Market, Woolwich, Ontario
No-one does maple syrup quite like the Canadians, but you’ll find a heck of a lot more local delicacies on offer at St Jacobs than just the famous sweet treat! Make sure to sample ‘summer sausage’, a specialty of the Waterloo region, as well as lashings of delicious local breads and cheeses. Canada’s largest year-round farmers market is open every Thursday and Saturday (as well as Tuesdays during the summer months) and is also the home of several cultural attractions such as theater events, museums and even model train displays.
Thailand – Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok
While it’s a lot more than just a farmer’s market, Chatuchak makes it onto the list for the sheer size and variety of wares on offer. Quite possibly the biggest weekend market on the planet, this massive tourist attraction consists of some 15,000 stalls and draws in a whopping 200,000 visitors each day. Popular with locals and tourists alike, chances are if you can’t find it here, you can’t find it anywhere! There are few better ways to sample all of the delicious Thai delicacies this nation is so famous for, and all in one place to boot. If Thailand has drawn you in with its stunning beaches, ancient temples and gorgeous weather, then make sure to include a stopover here.