Almonte has a rich tradition of community involvement and fellowship.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, a thriving traditional Market was located in downtown Almonte, just off Brea Street (where the parking lot is now). Vendors would arrive with their horse drawn carriages full of hand-made items, livestock, locally grown foods, and other wares. Patrons would arrive from miles around to spend the morning stocking their own carriages with the items they needed and enjoy fellowship with their neighbours. It was an event not to be missed, and for some, their only trip into town every week.
The current Almonte Farmers Market (AFM) maintains that same feel. It was conceived around the kitchen table of Master Gardener, Helen Halpenny in the fall of 1989. A few local farmers met over coffee to discuss bringing together their extra produce and offering it for sale. Their vision of rejuvenating the old Almonte Farmers Market as a producer-based market laid the ground work for the successful farmers’ market that we have today.
Shortly after the farmers’ market started in its new incarnation, the market vendors were approached by Bob Chorney of Farmers’ Markets Ontario, which was just starting up at the time. Bob was amazed at how far along in the planning stages the AFM vendors were. Farmers’ Markets Ontario shared the same producer based ideas and so it was easy for the AFM to become a founding member of Farmers’ Markets of Ontario. The FMO has given our market unfailing support and provided us with signs and other marketing tools, canopies, ideas and help throughout the years.
The Almonte Farmers Market has had to adapt and grow to survive in a very competitive market. Large chain grocery stores offering local produce, and an increase in large farm, road side stalls have created challenges for the lazy Saturday morning market. The atmosphere, fellowship, unequaled fresh products and core group of vendors keep this market alive.
The first market was held in the Mississippi Mills Public Library parking lot in 1990 and remains there to this day. It operates from May to October, Saturday mornings from 8:30-12:30. Items available include in season fruits and veggies, perennials, and other locally grown items, flowers, baked good, woodworking and other hand crafted items like knitting and sewing, preserves, berries, organic meat, honey, etc.