Locating the Local: A guide to local ingredients in Halifax

We’re hearing it more and more. Local food is healthier- nutritionally, environmentally, and economically.  And in Halifax, it’s getting easier to buy food that isn’t traveling great distances to reach us. Rustik Magazine just published an article suggesting that Atlantic Canada is at the “tipping point” of its food movement.

The support for buying and eating locally is immense.

However, even for the most astute locavore, knowing where and when to locate these local ingredients can be a challenge. Despite my familiarity with foodstuff, I often forget about the abundance of local food we’ve got all around us. I can feel pretty confident about going to independent food joints in town and get a meal that is sourced partially, if not mostly, locally. But what about local ingredients? If it’s me cooking the meal, where am I going?

preparing a meal from local ingredients

After a couple conversations and plenty of research, I’m going to have a shot at a fairly comprehensive (though admittedly incomplete and always growing) guide to buying local ingredients in town- from local grocers to pop-up farm stalls…

Starting with the obvious. On the weekends, you can weave your way through the chambers and courtyards of the Historic Farmers’ Market (1496 Lower Water St, Halifax NS) and get your fix on local foods like organic tofu, heirloom veggies, meats, ice cream, and baked goodness,  every Saturday morning from 7:00am – 1:00pm. While it’s still bustling first thing in the morning at the peak of the growing season, the Old Market is a quieter and more intimate experience than its counterpart, the new Seaport Market (1209 Marginal Rd, Halifax NS).

If you’re looking for even more of a variety of fresh, local food, the  Seaport at Pier 21 is where to go. Saturday (7am-3pm) is the day to go for your big grocery haul and magical Maritime morning, however we aren’t, as a lot of us might actually believe, restricted to the weekend for our local food harvest. There are also farms like Noggins’ Corner, Fox Hill Cheese House, and Selwood Green selling mixed produce throughout the week at the Market. Find out here who is selling at the market on any given day of the week! The Seaport is also the main pick-up stop to get your local and sustainably-caught Off the Hook Community Supported Fishery seafood order (though there are also other pick-up locations all around Halifax and surrounding areas!).

If you aren’t right in town, you’re still in luck as the Dartmouth Farmers’ Market at Alderney Landing is open Saturdays and Sundays, with vendors selling local vegetables, wine, free-range & pasture-raised meat, herbs, and pies… to name a few. Hubbards and Tantallon also both have their respective markets, with Hubbards Barn Market open from 8-12 on Saturdays, with vendors selling a variety of cheeses, meats, and vegetables, and Tantallon Village selling from 2-6 on Tuesdays, focusing on small-scale primary producers providing meats and produce. And Sackville just opened their own new farmers’ market at the Knox Church courtyard (567 Sackville Drive), the Sackville Farmers Market on Saturdays from 9-1pm.

In the downtown Halifax shopping central, you can find Pete’s Frootique (1515 Dresden Row) , who also makes an effort to offer local produce, cheeses, tofu, meats, and more. Around the corner and down the block at Victoria Park on Thursdays from 4-6pm, you can find Abundant Acres from Burlington selling produce straight from their farm.

Head down South Park to the Victoria General Hospital on any Friday throughout the season to find the outdoor Partners for Care Victoria General Hospital Farmers’ Market, with fresh produce from Elmridge Farm, as well as fresh fish and gluten-free baked goods.

If you’re looking for an “authentic” farm-fresh experience, visit Common Roots Urban Farm for seasonal produce grown right on site, or check out the abundance of community gardens growing near you, here.

As a student at Dalhousie, I’m overjoyed that I can get in-season vegetables, fresh eggs, baked treats, and local tea right on campus during the school year at the student-run Dalhousie Farmers’ Market Collective on Wednesdays from 10-2.

DSU Farmer's Market Collective

Getting to the South End can be a trek for those of us who live uptown. I work in the North End and live in the West End. Sometimes, the farmers’ markets just aren’t en route for me. Fortunately, the North End is its own local utopia. Starting off with Local Source, who, as their name suggests, strive to be your One-Stop Local Shop. Located at 2530 Agricola, Local Source is a market, bakery, and caterer selling a hodgepodge of products from many farms and businesses, as well as their own breads and baked goods. Outside of Local Source on Wednesdays you’ll find Highland Farm from 3-6, selling organic produce and honey. Down the street is the The Grainery, a local co-op where you can find all your Speerville and Longspell-sourced grain and bean needs.

Up in the Hydrostone, on 5544 Kaye Street, is Highland Drive Storehouse, specializing in butchery (free range, pastured, and non-hormone meat), local produce, and preserves. Up the street at the corner of Almon and Agricola on Wednesdays from 2-6pm, you can find Fields of Scotch Village/Gold Island Bakery selling seasonal produce, baked goods, and preserves.

And of course, the Gottingen area is anxiously awaiting the opening of the Community Carrot Co-Op, a community-owned grocery store that will sell fresh local produce. Home-Grown Organics, (2310 Gottingen Street), isn’t far down the way- they specialize in “groceries and dairy goods in bulk from organic farmers’ cooperatives, distributors and individual farmers.” They are open Tuesday through Friday from 1-7 and Saturdays 9-5.

Up in the West End there’s Local Jo Market and Café, (2959 Oxford Street) open 7 days a week and selling free range eggs, beef, sausages, and seasonal produce. Outside the Cafe on Thursdays Selwood Green Farm sells seasonal produce from 3-5:30pm.  Organic Earth on 6485 Oxford also carries local produce, meats, eggs, and dairy. At a health food store on 3154 Joseph Howe Drive, The Healthy Bug, you can also find local free range chicken/beef. In Clayton Park, a pop-up farm market began at the Shannex Clayton Park (114 Fairfax Drive), after seeing the success of a pop-up farm market at the Hammonds Plains Community Centre- the Hammonds Plains Farmers’ Market, open Thursdays 2:30-6:30 at St. John’s Anglican Church, 787 Kearney Lake Road.

While we’re talking about Bedford, there’s Bailey’s Supermarket on the Bedford Highway, as well as Nature’s Cove (364 Bedford Highway), with local meat and gluten-free products, and another Pete’s Frootique in Sunnyside Mall (1595 Bedford Highway).

In Fall River, just off the highway there’s the Vegetorium Country Farm Market, a true wonder of a local food market, open 7 days a week year-round. They sell an impressive variety of local produce and specialty foods from the owners’ farm as well as from other Nova Scotian farmers. On Thursdays, they’re also selling produce at Mic Mac Mall (21 Mic Mac Blvd) by the Winners entrance. And while we’re in Dartmouth, Dave’s Valley Fruits and Vegetables sell fresh produce at 322 Main Street.

The Vegetorium, Fall River

Farm markets like Farmer Clem’s and Avery’s Farm Market also often offer local, in-season foods, with various locations around Halifax. Farmer Clems is at 590 Portland, Dartmouth389 Bedford Hwy; and on Sackville Drive. Avery’s is at 7 Victoria Rd, Westphal; 287 Cobequid Rd, Lower Sackville; 198 Beaver Bank Rd, Sackville; and 461 Hwy 2, Elmsdale.

Last but not least, Noggins’ is, in addition to selling at most markets and grocers in Halifax, doing pop-ups all season at various locations around Halifax. After making this exhaustive list of vendors, I’m realizing that we are literally surrounded by local food. Locating the local stuff is getting easier!

Of course there are more vendors and pop-up farms that I’ve neglected. Who am I forgetting? Leave a message in the comments 🙂


Whats Playing Wednesday: Cursive

Deputy Minister to Swim Across Halifax Harbour for United Way