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Are locally grown food or hand-made products really better?

Handcrafted, sophisticated, delicious. Home Grown Kombucha. • Credit: Erin Rody
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Are locally grown food or hand-made products really better?

In Northwest Ontario, the answer is: definitely yes.

Fresh homemade bread and field picked cucumbers will win you over, but there's plenty more to enjoy

Living in Northwest Ontario, where we experience cold winters, residents are forced to eat fruit and vegetables that are shipped from thousands of miles away. So when summer comes around and we can head out to a Farmers Market and fill our bags with succulent fresh vegetables that were just picked, we tend to get excited. 

Besides the vegetables and fruit, there are so many other locally made products available. When you buy homemade BBQ sauce, a bottle of Komucha, handmade soaps, and beauty products, you're not only getting a fantastic product, but you're helping a local family.

Here are some of the products that you can find at one of the farmers' markets in Northwest Ontario:

Fresh Produce

There are several farms that bring their produce to various farmers' markets throughout the region including Loewen Gardens, Reimer's Garden, Fifth Avenue Farms, Penner Farms, Honey Mill Farm, and Rocky Ridge Fruit Farm. At the beginning of the season, they often have flowers and plants for sale until all their produce is ready. 

Wild Rice

Wild rice is prevalent in Northwest Ontario. If you've never had it, you should try some. Not only is it tasty, but it's healthy too! Wild rice is incredibly delicious, low in fat, gluten-free, and high in protein and fiber. In addition, it is a terrific source of minerals and vitamins. Learn how to cook wild rice here.


What is chaga, you ask? it's actually a fungus that grows on live birch trees. Apparently, it has many health benefits, is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and more! It's available as a powder or a tincture that you can put in your tea. Kailey Divers of Canadian Pure Wild Rice offers chaga in Kenora and many other markets.

Kailey Divers of Canadian Pure Wild Rice stands behind the pure chaga and tincture.


Aschenti Cocoa is at the Matiowski Farmers' Market. They are the first bean-to-bar company in Manitoba. They are made from scratch and in small batches. Aschenti describes the process from start to finish on their website, which is quite interesting. 

The beans are sorted by hand and roasted at low temperatures.

Chocolate shoes? Yes, please! Chef mark Wrigley of Clayoquot Cuisine & Catering makes fantastic desserts including these wonderful shoes. 

Shoes by Chef Mark Wrigley. Almost too nice to eat!


Kombucha, pronounced "kom-boo-cha," is a cultured tea containing live microorganisms (probiotics). It improves gut flora, detoxifies your system, and can ease arthritic pain. Home Grown Kombucha is produced from brew to bottle in Ignace, Ontario. 

Gluten-free Baking

Opera Cakes and Wheat Free Bake offers some wonderful gluten-free treats. From cookies to cupcakes, this is the place to stop at for a yummy treat if you can't eat gluten. 


From grass-fed beef to pasture-raised chickens, there are several vendors that offer local meats and fresh farm eggs. You can find many of these vendors throughout the region such as Rainy River Meats, Rainy River Elk Company, Cornell Farms, and Alf's Smoked Cheese

Health & Beauty Products 

138 Home Kenora - Homespun Skincare & Babaganeuf Canning & Preserves has a wide variety of homemade products such as soap, lip chap, deodorant, and even bug spray. They also have an assortment of jams, preserves, and mustards. 

The Lake of the Woods Sunrise Soap Co. makes pure, handcrafted soap made in small batches using the highest quality ingredients, specialty oils, and botanicals. 

There's such a wide variety of homemade goods throughout the region, be sure to stop at one of the farmers' markets this summer.

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