More than any other quadrant of the Crown of the Continent, Alberta SouthWest is a provider of food to the world. The region’s economic and social fabric was woven by deep generational traditions of buffalo hunting, open-range ranching and grain farming wove
Opportunities abound for first-hand experience of Alberta SouthWest’s past and present cultures of hunting, ranching and farming.
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump near Fort Macleod shows how First Nations hunters harvested bison long before the horse and rifle.
Heritage Acres Farm Museum near Pincher Creek preserves vintage agricultural structures and operates horse- and steam-powered farm implements.
Room To Grow near Glenwood offers pesticide-free produce, fresh brown eggs and home-raised, government-inspected beef.
The region’s numerous Hutterite colonies sell bread, eggs, and honey from their kitchen buildings.
The visitor’s easiest connection to local growers is the seasonal emergence of produce stands, from the well-organized weekly farmers markets in every town to the beds of farm trucks laden with corn still moist from its dewy dawn picking.
Alphabetical Listing of Farmers Markets in Alberta SouthWest
Cardston Farmers Market: Thursdays, 11 am to 2 pm, June 25 to Sept. 3 Jewelry fashioned by Blood First Nation jewellers from a variety of ammolite found only on their own reserve lands is one of the exquisite attractions of Cardston Farmers Market. Another is the market setting, inside the Remington Carriage Museum, 623 Main Street. About 20 vendors in all participate in the market, offering varieties of homemade breads, soaps, lotions, pet treats, deerskin gloves and slippers, beef jerky and garden produce. Four separate Hutterite colonies are regular participants. The market encourages local entrepreneurs by providing free tables to fledgling vendors.
Claresholm Farmers Market: Wednesdays, 3 pm to 6 pm, July 8 to Sept. 9 A dozen or so vendors set up in the the town arena. Hutterite baking and vegetables are regular offerings, with strawberries and saskatoons appearing in season.
Crowsnest Pass is without a formal market, but various growers scatter casual stands along the main street of the Blairmore neighborhood. Folk from a nearby Hutterite colony sell produce and baked goods on summer Saturday mornings. In late summer, growers from the famous-for-corn area surrounding Taber, Alberta sell from the roadside.
Fort Macleod Farmers Market: Thursdays, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, July 16 to Sept. 17. From stands inside the town curling rink, a dozen or so local vendors offer fresh breads and pies, veggies, tanned cow hides and leather work, knitting, baby clothes, bibs and blankets, quilts and Hutterite honey.
Lethbridge Farmers Market: Saturdays, 8:00 am to 12:30 pm; Wednesdays, 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm, May 16 to October 31 The region’s biggest market, with average 2,000 buyers and browsers per event. The Saturday morning market takes place indoors at Exhibition Park. The Wednesday market is outdoors, at the downtown intersection of Third Ave., and Sixth Street.
Nanton Farmers Market: Saturdays, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, May 22 to Sept. 12 The outdoor market is held in the parking lot of Parkland United Church (parking lot), Nanton, South of Calgary.
Pincher Creek Farmers Market: Fridays 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, July 3 to October 2 Pincher Creek's indoor farmers' market is moving this year to the foyer of the visitors centre at Kootenay Brown Pioneer Village. A browse for seasonal produce could be, perhaps, a side-dish to a thorough visit of the museum and its outdoor assemblage of pioneer-era structures.