So, we paid a visit to the new, re-designed Hamilton Farmer's Market on Saturday.
Keep in mind - I have no point of reference for the "re-vamped" Hamilton Farmer's Market (HFM), as I never saw the old farmer's market. In doing some research though, it seems to have a long and interesting history.
(the article calls it "a magnet and an anchor"...given its location and appeal, I can understand that!)
Things I like about the market include:
1) Brightness and openness. Now, I'm no design guru or anything, but a dark windowless farmer's market would never make sense to me. I like the bright, fresh, open look of the HFM, and the Birks Clock in the centre was wonderful to look at (we were staring at it, as were tons of other people!) FYI, for anyone not familiar with the Birks Clock, here's an informative article I found on the subject.
2)The traffic level. Nothing drives me crazier than too much hustle and bustle when you're trying to browse, select and buy food (ahem, St. Lawrence Market on a Saturday!) As I was saying to my hubby, HFM was busy enough that you're not wondering where everyone is, but not busy enough to make you lose your mind on a Saturday.
3)Samples! To me, this is one of the marks of a good farmer's market - the availability to taste-test some of the fresh wares you're interested in buying. There were enough samples on hand at the HFM (chocolate, specifically!) to make me happy.
4)Location, location location. How can you beat a farmer's market literally right in the heart of the city? Also (and this may sound funny), but I am in favour of the market being attached to the library and Jackson Square. Let me tell you - on a cold Saturday, less required walking outside is welcome!
5)Obviously, the food. We loaded up on meat & veggies for the week, and the prices were incredibly reasonable (especially for meat). Some of the veggies had seen better days, but I anticipate this is a result of it being February in Ontario. We hope to make heading to the HFM a regular event - I'm especially interested to see what comes into the market during the summer/harvest time.
We also recently heard that there's a farmer's market on Ottawa Street, which is also open year-round. We'll be checking this one out as well.