One of the things I enjoy most about London is the markets and the amount of locally produced food and drink that is readily available. Here are my recommendations for market shopping in London, Ontario.
Covent Garden Market
I am lucky to live a two minute walk from Covent Garden Market and I normally pop in for something every day. Covent Garden Market is one of the most lovely markets I have ever been to and although it’s probably not the most cost effective place to shop I love the atmosphere and the relationship you can build with the independent merchants.
They include traditional butchers, bakers, greengrocers, florists as well as stalls selling coffee, ice cream, chocolates, cheese, patisserie, turkish burek (so goooood!), tea, fresh pasta and health foods. One of my favourite merchants is Snack ‘n Bake where you can find a massive selection of spices, herbs, nuts, seeds, flours, sugars and grains.
At noon the market really comes alive as people flock there for lunch and choose from one of the hundreds of options on offer. Hearty soup, shawarma, thai, Chinese, sushi, custom salads, rotisserie chicken, sandwiches, bagels, quiche, omelettes, curry, fish and chips, crepes……the list is endless.
Covent Garden has free wifi and plenty of seating upstairs on the mezzanine overlooking the market or in warmer weather you can sit outside in the market square on one of the long wooden benches and catch some rays.
Thursday and Saturday mornings are my favourite, when local small farmers, bakers, and other traders pitch up at 8am outside in the market square come rain or shine. You know your kale is super fresh when it still has a slug on it and the farmer who picked it the night before is serving you. Give me that everyday over a pre-packaged, pre-washed sealed bag from a supermarket.
Visit Covent Garden Market. 130 King Street, London
Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market, Western Fair District
The Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market is open on Saturdays from 8am – 3pm. Sometimes my husband and I take a morning stroll down Dundas to get there, other times we drive and park in the car park. The lower level of this market hosts grocers (our favourite is Common Ground Market Garden because everything is grown locally in St Thomas), butchers, bakers, florists, deli’s and other food merchants.
Without fail we will always pay a visit to our favourite stall, Downie Street Bakehouse, who hand bake small batches of artisanal and speciality breads. Their mission is “to stamp out Bread Disappointment” and they have always delivered, apart from the day we were running late and they had already run out of every single loaf! Our favourite’s so far are the chocolate cherry sourdough and the garlic parmesan loaf although the selection changes every week.
I always wanted to try the momo’s (a traditional Nepali snack food) from Momo’s at the Market but the line is always so long I’ve never quite got there, so I’m guessing they must be good. I’ve been to Nepal three times and I dream about some of the momo’s I had in Kathmandu.
The creative vendors on the upper level retail an assortment of furniture, clothing, beauty products, pottery, art and knitted items. We especially love the handmade and beautifully finished raw edge tables and benches by WJ Boland Design, beautiful hanging ornaments at Forest City Stained Glass and pom pom hats at Woolly Maple.
Visit the Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market at Western Fair District, London, ON
Trails End Market
Trails End Market is located way down Dundas in east London. You definitely need a car to get there and to transport home all the stuff you’re going to buy. It’s almost impossible to leave with less than seventeen bags. The market was established in 1983 and is 90,000 sq ft of market space situated in two large linked warehouses.
The furniture department is open throughout the week and has a large selection of sofas, dining sets, beds and other home ware. Random vendors sell amongst other things, refurbished computers, homemade natural remedies, maple syrup, body wise braces, tupperware and handmade metal signs.
The farmers market is open on Saturdays from 7am – 5pm and there are some amazing bargains to be had. We normally go to bulk buy meat for our freezer (a pile of pork chops for $20), some kind of european spicy sausage from the deli counter and for great deals on in season fruit and veg from the many, many traders.
Our favourite is the apple stand which sells the best apples ever. Grab a big bag for $20 and keep them in the fridge – they will last more than a month and they will be the best you ever taste.
Before you start shopping you may need some sustenance to get you through the impending heavy bag lifting. The latin american food stand is family owned and freshly prepares Mexican, Columbian and Salvadorian street food. There’s also a Vietnamese, Turkish, and traditional burger and hotdog stand.
Visit Trails End Market. 4370 Dundas Street, London