St Jacobs – Farmers Market, Hiking Trails, Unique Shops, Hand Made Products, Mennonites, and more

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If you could travel back in time, to an innocent age of local, *organic, pure foods, shops where the products are hand made, simpler clothing, and untouched nature, would you?  I just came back from visiting the village of St. Jacobs in Ontario, Canada and although I did not time travel, it was the next best thing!

Supporting Local Producers, St Jacobs Farmers Market, Ontario
Supporting Local Producers at St. Jacobs Farmers Market, Ontario

The St. Jacobs Farmers Market was the first stop on our agenda as it opens by 7 am to 3 pm on Thursdays as well as on Saturdays.  In the summer, they add an extra day – Tuesdays from 8 am.  Both locals and tourists alike visit and shop at this popular destination in Ontario, Canada.  The market has both an indoor and outdoor area offering everything from fruits and vegetables, mostly local and much of which is organic, to meats, cheeses, preserves, flowers, clothing, music, crafts, footwear, jewellery, woodworking and more.  With 100’s of vendors, you will be kept busy for hours!

Alternatively, The Outlets Mall, with 25 plus shops, across the road have great deals on name brands (open every day) and The Market Road Antiques boasts over 100 dealers ready to help you find your antique treasure.  The Peddlers Village building at the market offers a wide variety of ready to eat foods including Crepes, Pretzels, Perogies, Souvlaki and more, as does The Tent and The Farmers Market Building.  The Peddlers Village was closed due to smoke damage when we visited, but vendors stated it would re-open very soon.

Farmers Market Building. St Jacobs, Ontario
Farmers Market Building. St Jacobs, Ontario

The area itself has several hotels and guest house B & B ’s as well as camping sites for those who wish to overnight directly in the area. Although the Market and the Village are not in the same location, they are only a short 5.7 kilometers apart; 7 minute drive, 12 minute bike ride, or 40 minute hike.

Conestogo River, Three Bridges. St. Jacobs, Ontario, Canada
Conestogo River, Three Bridges. St. Jacobs, Ontario, Canada

Mennonites, who live and work in the area, can be seen out and about attending to their daily routines; they are not actors and prefer to not have their photos taken. They contribute greatly to the community in their capacity as farmers, woodworkers and a variety of small businesses; every local will attest to their fantastic cooking and baking skills as well as friendly, helpful nature. The Mennonite Story, a multi-media center in the St. Jacobs Village offers wonderful insight into the Mennonite history, beliefs and lifestyle and I can strongly recommend it!  Horse drawn tours from the St. Jacobs Market take you on a country tour to an actual Old Order Mennonite farm.

A Morning at the Market in St. Jacobs, Ontario
A Morning at the Market in St. Jacobs, Ontario

In addition to the above mentioned activities, The Village, offers a variety of entertainment including hiking trails, Heritage train rides,  and the St. Jacobs Playhouse and School House Theatres, where  you can watch award winning stage performances. Unfortunately, we did not get the opportunity to attend a show, but we read rave reviews!  We stopped by Hamel Brooms on King St., and the owner John, was very friendly and gave us a great demonstration on how he hand makes brooms. Thanks John!

Hamel Brooms - Hand Made, St. Jacobs, Ontario, Canada
Hamel Brooms – Hand Made, St. Jacobs, Ontario, Canada

From our early start at the St. Jacobs Farmers Market, the Outlets Mall and Market Road Antiques (I found a beautiful candle holder!), tasting different local foods from booths of friendly people (apple fritters and cheese curds top the list), a quick one hour hike and ending with a two hour tour of the Village and shops, we had a wonderfully exhausting day.  Our dinner was a smorgasbord of market finds, including summer sausage, homemade bread, cheese, potato salad, pickled corn and a delicious apple pie. As per suggestion, we also tried dipping buttered homemade bread in pure Maple Syrup – Schmechts Gut! Perfect ending to a perfect day.

Sausages and Preserves. St. Jacobs,
Sausages and Home Made Preserves. St. Jacobs, Ontario

Side note:  Local restaurant legend, The Stone Crock in St. Jacobs Village, is famous for their country style breakfast and home cooked and baking specialties!  Due to time constraints, we did not get to go.

*As clarified by a market representative, “While many market vendors and farmers do favour organic practises, only a few of them are currently officially certified as organic. This is in part due to the many years of strict regulations required to ensure soil is free of non-organic matter, and that the land is suitably distanced from any non-organic practises or possible cross pollination from neighbouring crops etc., before certification can take place”.

St. Jacobs – Photo Album
St. Jacobs – YouTube
Hamel  Brooms – +1-519-664-1117; 1411 King Street, St. Jacobs
Train Tickets – Waterloo Central Railway
St. Jacobs Farmer Market – St. Jacobs Country Info

St. Jacobs – The Village

St. Jacobs Farmers Market

St. Jacobs Hotels:
Courtyard by Marriott – +1-519-884-9295
Holiday Inn Express & Suites – +1-519-772-9800
Homewood Suites by Hilton – +1-519-514-0088
St. Jacobs B & B ’s:
Leisure Estates  – +1-519-669-3295
Maryhill Country Inn – +1-519-648-3098
1842 Bed & Breakfast – +1-519-664-0289
Brenneman Bed & Breakfast – +1-519-698-2951
By the River Bed & Breakfast – +1-519-669-9310
Walnut Hill Cabin Bed & Breakfast – +1-519-664-1124
White Pine Ranch Bed & Breakfast – +1-519-638-2756
St. Jacobs Camping:
Green Acre Park – +1-877-885-7275
Laurel Creek Conservation Area – +1-877-558-4722

 

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