The Kitchener-Waterloo area has become a mecca for foodies with farms, markets and chefs savouring local ingredients.
Popular across the Waterloo Region are old-style farmers’ markets and “food that schmecks (tasty and flavourful),” thanks to the large Mennonite population.
It will be soon fall harvest time and a great way to enjoy this bounty is to taste what the region has to offer, says publicist Stephen Murdoch.
Going to market
“We’re known across Canada as one of the best places to find fresh, locally grown food and we’re now approaching the peak of the season,” said Minto Schneider of the Waterloo Regional Tourism Marketing Corp.
The area’s farmers’ markets – St. Jacobs, Kitchener and Cambridge – are about one hour east of London and an hour west of Toronto.
Called “Canada’s largest year-round market,” St. Jacobs has hundreds of food and craft vendors with farm-fresh produce, meat, cheese, baking and more.
Offerings change with the seasons and there’s an eclectic mix of local growers, Old Order Mennonite farmers, quality flea market wares, edibles, bedding plants, buskers and a petting farm.
Until October, Mennonite farm tours are available on a horse-drawn trolley.
Summer Tuesdays end on Aug. 27 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and then the market is open Thursdays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. all year at 878 Weber St. N., Waterloo. For more information, visit stjacobs.com/farmers-market
On Saturdays for more than 140 years, people have come from far and wide to the Kitchener Market with a bounty of goodies sought by even fourth and fifth generation shoppers.
It’s open Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. year-round and has an upper level with international food vendors, Tuesday to Saturday. 300 King St. E. For more information, visit kitchenermarket.ca
The Cambridge Farmers’ Market has been around since 1830 always at 40 Dickson St. with a “reputation as a true farmers’ market.”
Vendors come from a 100-km radius to sell meat, baked goods, cheese, cold cuts, sausage, European breads, maple syrup, honey, just-laid eggs, ethnic and organic foods as well as homemade crafts and one-of-a-kind items.
Open Wednesdays through Oct. 9 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturdays year-round from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, visit cambridge.ca/corporate_services/cambridge_farmers_market
Many fine-dining establishments in Waterloo Region design their menus “around locally grown meat and produce,” Murdoch said.
Verses Restaurant in Kitchener serves French-inspired cuisine in a redesigned 1946 New Apostolic church with dining in the choir loft, altar area or the nave surrounded by rich wood panelling and stained-glass windows.
Borealis Grille in Kitchener “promotes and serves locally sourced Ontario quality foods and beverages” and has microbrews on tap.
The Charcoal Group’s eight restaurants range from traditional Italian dishes at Del Dente, to the pub style Beertown and long-established Charcoal Steakhouse take advantage of the region’s produce and meat.
Langdon Hall in Cambridge is a culinary highlight with Grand Chef Jonathan Gushue’s team “pairing their favourite chefs, culinary personalities and winemakers with the best ingredients of the season.” For more information, visit ExploreWaterlooRegion.com
Sorry kids, adults only
Adult fans of Lego can gather for a Summer in the City theme on Aug. 28 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Vaughan Mills Shopping Centre, (1 Bass Pro Mills Drive) Entrance 4.
Adult Night is the one night a month for “grown-ups only” at the Lego Discovery Centre to “embrace the nostalgic, let out their inner child and simply enjoy.”
Master model builder Graeme Dymond will lead challenges on a variety of Toronto landmarks. For more information, visit legolanddiscoverycentre.ca/toronto/holding
Princess Leia, Dr. Spock, the Hoff and Hulkster are among the stars at Fan Expo Canada continuing through Sunday at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
Carrie Fisher of Star Wars, rocker Alice Cooper, Zachary Quinto, Katey Sagal, Ron Perlman, Max Brooks, Linda Hamilton, Ian McDiarmid, Gina Torres, Stephen Amell, Luke Perry and Jason Priestly are among the names in pop culture, film and TV attending.
They join with David Hasselhoff, Hulk Hogan, George Takei, Stan Lee, Bobby Orr, Roberto Alomar, Dean Cain, and Lena Headey, among others. For more information, visit fanexpocanada.com