Farmers Markets North and South; Innisfil and Orillia

I believe in putting my money where my fork goes. I prefer shopping at a farmers market. I like posters that remind me “if you ate today hug a farmer”, although I have yet to actually hug a farmer! I had a great time recently visiting Farmers Markets north and south of Barrie; in Innisfil and Orillia.

I hope dear readers that you will explore the markets, purchase some amazing local foods, and maybe be inspired to hug a farmer or two!


First stop was the Innisfil Farmers Market; it runs Thursdays from 2-7 p.m. seasonally at the Innisfil Recreational Complex, with ample free parking onsite. This is the 4th year for the market, which started as a pilot project for the Town of Innisfil under their Inspiring Innisfil 2020 forecast. Rob Radcliffe is the Chair this year, and with an ever growing roster of vendors, Georgian Hills Vineyard about to join in with their VQA wines, this is a great place to shop! Weekly entertainment is provided. Special events are held, from strawberries to BBQ’s, corn roast to apples, a celebration of the fall harvest with a pumpkin festival in the fall. The market has a friendly energy you can feel, cheerful balloons and signage help showcase the vendor of the week.

I found Holly’s Sweets & Eats, which I consider hands down Barrie’s best bakery side-by-side the family owned Ficklewood Farm. We tried their pork sausage on a bun with onions and red peppers and tasted their pulled pork; both are nicely seasoned, very tasty indeed. I purchased an amazing cheese, caramelized onion and bacon bread, which made fabulous BLT sandwiches for lunch on the weekend!

I sampled some delightful maple products from Everything Maple and More, and learnt they had been on Dragons Den pitching their wares.
A flower booth was blooming lovely, Cookstown greens; known for their outstanding produce had baskets of bounty. Indeed all the vendors were most welcoming. Highly recommended.

Orillia now boasts two markets; while historically downtown was the home for the original market, changing times and locations resulted in the creation of two markets.

The Orillia Fairgrounds Farmers’ Markets situated at ODAS Park, open Saturdays 8-1 p.m. is mandated to support farmers and the farming community, so a country location with a grassy treed site is the perfect home for their 52 vendors. As market manager Anne Lesperance shared with me, customers tell her “This feels like a good place for a Farmers’ Market to be”.

I happened to attend on Strawberries and Cream event day and was duly impressed. This was a joint fundraiser for the market and The Sharing Place Food Bank in Orillia. Kawartha Dairy donated the ice cream and the monies raised were split between the food bank and the farmer’s market. The market portion will go toward the building fund as a contribution to their winter home. Anne Lesperance explained that with new refrigeration units at the food bank, they are now able to accept fresh produce from vendors at both Orillia Farmers markets. Vendors are able to donate to the Sharing place, which means that members of the community in need, are able to access fresh produce.

Local altruism in action!

A unique find I discovered at the market was a mobile wood burning oven. I was familiar with some of the vendors as they are also at “my” home market in Barrie. It was good to see McBride’s Organics and Black Angus Farm Gate and to meet new vendors, Just Say Cheese and Franni Granola amongst many others. I found Simply Tea and Chocolate situated here, having known them from a Barrie locale too!

The market has a wide variety of unique events scheduled for the season, including a Buskerfest, Medieval Festival, College /University Student Scavenger Hunt, Three Sisters Celebration and more.

As they say “they make it, bake it or grow it”, go check it out!

Orillia Farmers Market- Downtown is the oldest business in town; literally, dating back to 1842, so their motto “Get your boots to the roots” is absolutely apropos!


Changes have taken place, but now that the downtown market is firmly grounded at the library the tradition of bringing farm fresh foods continues. From the oldest to the newest, trend setting food vendors are making this a niche market and food folk are rejoicing. The market has booths from two local restaurants that base their menus on locally grown foods sourced from the farmers market. Yummy and reasonably priced breakfasts are available for the early risers from Bistro 179 and Tre Sorelle, known for their Italian specialty items are regulars. My taste buds were thrilled to eat at Fox Foods, their tacos and “foxsicles” have me craving more. Thankfully they are opening a resto this fall in Orillia. Oh Editor take note, I am going back! Midland’s Grounded Coffee has a booth here; theirs is the daily brew in my home. It was great to see the Pretzel People again too! Pat Loewen, is the Manager of the Orillia Farmers Market, she was the original start up 23 years ago with the Gravenhurst Farmers’ market, and she knows food!


This is the first farmers market where I had the vino experience, as Pillitteri is the resident wine vendor. This being the first year 100% VQA Ontario wines can be sold at farmers markets. Frankly it seems a civilized, logical extension of supporting local growers and producers to me.

So please check out the farmers markets, support local, hug a farmer, grower or food producer and put your money where your fork goes!

Written by: Penelope Morrow

Penelope Morrow is a writer, editor and food aficionado from Barrie, follow her tweets

Photos by Celeste Morrow-Bailie – CMB Photography

Ten Great Summer Grilling Cookbooks for the Barbecue Enthusiast

Sizzle and Smoke: The Ultimate Guide to Grilling for Diabetes, Prediabetes, and Heart Health– 155 pages
This cookbook is aimed towards people with diabetes and contains a health guide with the amounts of calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, etc. for each recipe.  It is also endorsed by the American Diabetes Association.  It contains an extensive section on sauces, condiments, salsas, pestos and has 50 full meal recipes and 30 side dish recipes and a dessert section.  The book is very nice with mostly typical barbecue ideas.  A must have for someone looking to cut back on sodium and improve heart health, while still enjoying barbecue.


The Gardener & the Grill: The Bounty of the Garden Meets the Sizzle of the Grill– 224 pages
This barbecue cookbook contains over 30 pages of sauces, seasonings, vinaigrettes and dressings and tzatziki.  It has 22 wonderful and interesting appetizer ideas, including my favourite: cream cheese stuffed jalapeno poppers.  It also contains a full section on sandwiches and pizzas which includes recipes for dough, Meze and Naan.  It offers a complete guide to grilling and all the instructions you may need.  Although it is mainly focused on grilling garden treasures, it does contain ideas for sandwiches with meats like chicken and sausage.  It has a wealth of knowledge on grilling vegetables for salads (including potato salad) and using a saucepan on the grill.  The soup and main dish sections are also great.


Fabulicious!: On the Grill: Teresa’s Smoking Hot Backyard Recipes– 208 pages
Nice book with several recipes.  Most Barbecuing requires a lot of seasoning, marinades, and sauces.  This book was lacking in that department.  It does include full sections on chicken, seafood, pasta, and other assorted meats.  It contains over 60 full recipes (including appetizers, soups, and desserts). It is a very useful cookbook with some great barbecue ideas, but not quite as complete as others.


Vegetarian Barbecue – 80 Easy-to-Grill Recipes Including Dips, Skewers, Salads and Sides – 183 pages, hard cover
This barbecue book is quite nicely designed with easy to read recipes.  It contains a lot of clever dips, salsas, and sauces with an excellent sour cream dip.  There are pictures of almost every recipe.  There was a nice small dish/appetizer section which contained wonderful ideas from grilled lotus to skewers to spring roll cigars.  There’s a fair amount of salad and tofu recipes.  All-in-all there’s 20 full-size meals with pictures of each very imaginative recipe.  Each of the salad recipes contains pictures and seasoning ideas that complemented the dish.  If you’re looking to improve on grilling vegetables, and more vegetarian ideas, this book is very clever and inventive, and the pictures really bring it to life.


Taste of Home Backyard Barbecues: 405 Dishes for Sizzling Celebrations– 256 pages
This book boasts over 405 dishes.  Cover to cover, it is jammed with recipes and still has a fair number of pictures.  These quick and easy descriptions are what you need to make things like: Polynesian kabobs, California quinoa, grilled snapper with caper sauce, many desserts, grilled teriyaki pork tenderloin, trail mix, and obviously a lot more.  This book isn’t as clever and exotic, but with this many recipes it does have a lot to offer. It’s a great value for the price.


The Barbecue! Bible– 556 pages
This book has over 500 recipes.  It has very full sections on Chicken and other poultry, fish, shell fish, vegetarian dishes, other grilled vegetables, rice and beans, salsa, relish and slaw, sauces, marinades, seasonings and desserts.  Right off the top there are over 50 pages of anything and everything grill related from marinade times to how to prepare and cook various meats and cuts to using foil and suggested heat levels for any cooking need.  It has very few pictures, and is filled with mostly recipes.  It doesn’t contain too many generic ideas, they are mostly exciting and exotic. Dishes like bacon grilled prunes, lettuce bundles with beef, Korean short ribs and beer can chicken stand out.  If it doesn’t bother you that the pictures are limited, this is clearly the best choice and most complete of cookbooks, among the rest. Great price too.


Brazilian Barbecue & Beyond – 192 pages, hard cover
This book has the most exotic barbecue ideas I’ve seen.  It does have pictures on most of the recipes.  It’s a very exciting and vibrant book with fantastic off-the-grid meal ideas that you don’t find in other barbecue books.  It contains many clever sauces, marinades and also has a full side and appetizer guide.  Overall, you may not be able to pronounce everything in this book, but you’ll want to try it all; very exciting and interesting ideas that are well worth picking up.  This is simply the best non-traditional barbecue cookbook I’ve seen.


Weber’s Time to Grill: Get In. Get Out. Get Grilling.– 304 pages
It contains sections on: appetizers, red meat, pork, poultry, seafood, eggs, veggies, and desserts. It’s a complete cookbook from A to Z.  It features pictures of every recipe.  It you’re like me, and you need pictures this book is a must have.  It also contains a very extensive and complete fish section.  It is lacking a little on the sections with marinades, salsa, sauces, seasoning to mix and match with your own creations and ideas. However the many recipes it does have usually contain sauces and marinade ideas to complement.  It has over 150 recipes that go from easy to adventurous.


The Grilling Book: The Definitive Guide from Bon Appetit – 432 pages
This book has lots of pictures to go with the recipes.  It has probably the best section on burgers that I’ve seen, including burgers with chicken, turkey, salmon and tuna.  It’s a big and complete cookbook with recipes for every type of meat and lots of veggies recipes, as well as sauces, salads, drinks, burgers, sausage, seafood and sandwiches. It contains a lot of easy recipes but also has many exciting, adventurous and off-the-grid recipes too.  Of any of the cookbook I’ve seen, it has the most extensive section of lamb recipes.  Boasting over 200 recipes, and with a lot of pictures of the dishes, this one is among the best out there.


Rob Rainford’s Born to Grill: Over 100 Recipes from My Backyard to Yours – 268 pages
This one has pictures of every recipe and has some of the most exotic and exciting recipes I’ve seen. Two of my favourites were the Jamaican beef patties and full prime rib rotisserie recipes. It also has a great grilled fish section.  It’s definitely lacking in sections for sauces, marinades, and salsas.  It does however make up for this by containing a lot of inventive ideas for sauces, marinades and seasonings in the recipes themselves. The sauces on the recipes for grilled ribs, pork, steak and fish are fantastic. Overall, Rob Rainford’s book is a nice buy.

-Written by: Michael Whone

Follow Michael Whone on Twitter @whoneranger and visit his website: