Tucked away just on the outskirts of Vancouver and along the banks of the Fraser River is the quaint historic village known as Ladner. Named for one of the founding families, it was initially developed as a centre for farming and fishing. It is a part of the Municipality of Delta, British Columbia, Canada, and is now considered a suburb of Vancouver. Although the community is growing, Ladner has maintained its charm and has preserved much of its heritage. This makes it the perfect setting for an outdoor summer market.
Every year, starting mid-June, the community hosts the most wonderful outdoor market. Started in 1996 the Ladner Village Market has grown to take over three city blocks, runs rain or shine, and has over 140 local vendors. It is part farmer’s market, part craft fair, part block party and a whole lot of fun. The vendors may vary from Sunday to Sunday, but you can always find fresh produce, plants, cut flowers, garden accessories, hand-crafted jewellery, home made soaps, artisan crafts, local cheese, fresh bread, and specialty treats like fudge and nougat. Don’t worry if you come hungry, there are many food vendors as well as restaurants and coffee shops nearby to meet just about any craving.
Some of the vendors that stood out for me included:
- Beaver House Fudge from Duncan, B.C. According to my friend Alison who lives in Ladner, their fudge is “orgasmic”. Her favourite is the hazelnut cream fudge. Although I didn’t have a “When Harry Met Sally” moment, I did enjoy the chocolate peanut butter fudge. Max and Karel, the owners, are very proud of their fudge and are quite fun to chat with. Funnily enough, this wasn’t the first time they were told that their fudge elicited this kind of reaction. www.beaverhousefudge.com
- La Belle Auberge from Ladner, B.C. Known for its exquisite food in a beautiful heritage house in Ladner, Chefs Bruno Marti and Tobias MacDonald have taken their food to the road and created the best dang street food I ever had. It was tough to chose between the bison burger and fresh trolled pink salmon on a lemon crepe, but I went for the salmon and it melted in my mouth. Scrumptious deal for $5.00 – just be prepared to wait in line for a few minutes. www.labelleauberge.com
- The Pepper Truck from the Applebarn in Abbotsford, B.C. This is perhaps one of the best deals of the day, a large bag of incredible fresh red and orange peppers for $4. I love to roast peppers and marinate them in garlic, oil, and balsamic vinegar. Throw in some eggplant, zucchini and an onion and you have yourself a perfect little snack is good on toast with cheese or on its own with crackers. www.applebarn.ca
Although an easy drive from downtown Vancouver (about ½ hour) on a Sunday, you can also get there quickly by bus. The 601 South Delta bus which used to go along Granville Street now has to be caught at Bridgeport Station in Richmond. You have to catch the Canada Line (new Skytrain route) to Bridgeport and then transfer to the 601. Check Translink for specific details on which bus or Skytrain to catch from your area to connect with the Canada Line at www.translink.ca. Also, keep in mind that as the market grows in popularity, parking is a bit of an issue any where near the market area. Just be prepared to walk a little bit and you will be fine. For more information on the market and to see when the market is happening (not every Sunday in the summer), check out their Web site at www.ladnervillagemarket.com
If you didn’t find all that you were looking for at the Ladner market, there is another produce market just past the tunnel on Steveston Highway called The Richmond Country Farms. Great deals here as well and in October they have the most amazing Pumpkin Patch festivities that include a hay ride to the pumpkin patch, live music, and a corn maze: www.countrypumpkinpatch.ca
Hmmmmmmm, hazelnut cream fudge!