Market and a meadery in Cochrane
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There’s nothing better than hitting up a farmers market and leaving with your bags brimming with the fresh taste of local produce and hand-made goods.
Looking for a place to do just that this summer that also includes a lovely drive towards the mountains? Then you have to hit up the Cochrane Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings this summer.
This little market hosts a collection of eclectic vendors showcasing their unique and locally sourced goods.
You’re bound to find all of your favourite staples – fruits, vegetables, and meats – all brought in from the farms and ranches of Cochrane’s backyard. What also sets this market apart is the unique hand-crafted products for sale.
As I walked up to the vendors, I thought, it doesn’t get more real than buying goods from vendors selling their wares out of the back of horse trailers and pick-up trucks. Who needs a fancy city farmers' market?
I could buy anything from an ornate, handmade wooden clocks to glass-blown spoon rests and specialty chocolates.
There’s an impressive array of allergy-sensitive baked goods and the opportunity to stock up on some beautiful prints of the Rocky Mountains taken by local photographers.
This cool blend of vendors draws in a different sort of crowd, one that seems to appreciate the concept of buying local.
This type of crowd is important to Tyler Goertzen of Dirt Rich Farm. It’s his first year selling at the market and already he’s impressed by the commitment to purchasing local.
"I like the people coming through the market,” said Goertzen.
“People here are more interested in local food and supporting local farmers, and they care about where their food comes from."
The market is an Alberta Approved Farmers' Market sponsored by the Cochrane Environmental Action Committee, so all proceeds are reinvested to help make Cochrane a more environmentally aware community.
Jana Lescanec of Sweet Gypsy Bespoke Chocolates has been selling her allergy-friendly chocolates at the farmers market for a number of years now.
She love the location of the market and finds it’s a good way to connect with community and they like what she has to offer.
"It is a very community-minded vibrant town, so there is always support," said Lescanec.
"We are in a park setting, which is unusual for a market."
The Cochrane Ranche Historic Site sits beneath the iconic Men of Vision Statue, adjacent to the picturesque creek.
Take a stroll up the hill to visit the statue and take in a view of the Cochrane townsite, and the foothill and mountain vistas.
If you're interested in learning more about the site, there’s a little museum in the parking lot at the entrance of the market.
Check it out to learn about Cochrane's ranching roots and some fun facts about the town.
Stop by Fallentimber Meadery
If you’re looking to satisfy your appetite for local fare even further, after visiting the farmer's market, head to Water Valley to visit the Fallentimber Meadery.
It’s a beautiful winding drive through the foothills in some more remote Alberta territory. If you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a fox or coyote hunting along the road.
This family owned and operated facility defines what it is to be local in Alberta. Third-generation beekeepers decided to extend their range by crafting delicious mead from the honey they harvest.
What was once a hobby beekeeping project has turned into a quaint meadery that supplies a good number of liquor stores throughout southern Alberta.
You can tour the mead brewing room and take a look at a live hive of bees (contained, of course, for observation) and learn how they make honey.
The Fallentimber team recently started brewing beer-style mead in tasty flavours like ginger and a mashup of familiar flavours called Meadjito (yes, just what it sounds like; mint, lime, and mead).
They also make a number of more traditional meads and sweet versions in surprising flavour combinations like Saskatoon berry, rhubarb and crabapple.
Be sure to take the onsite mead tasting which will just want you coming back for more or scouting it out once you’re back in the city.