Fall is the best season. I can say that because I have analyzed every season, and using the scientific method I worked so hard to learn in high school, I discovered that fall just is the best season.
It’s not just all the leaves turning colours, the last flowers blooming before the frost comes, it’s not even just Halloween or Thanksgiving that makes me love autumn best. It’s the farmer’s markets.
It might seem frivolous to base my opinion of an entire season on something as simple as a farmer’s market, but fall isn’t in full swing for me until I’ve walked down aisles of fresh flowers and vegetables.
When I was younger, my parents would take me to the Haney Farmer’s Markets on Saturdays as a special treat. I’d sit at the base of the memorial at Peace Park and make chalk drawings on the ground. We’d buy kettlecorn to share as we listened to live music under the bandstand or under the white tents.
Kettlecorn tastes best when eaten outside when the weather is just about to turn cold. It’s the same thing with apples – I honestly don’t eat apples very often, but something about a crisp apple on a bitter fall day brings me back to days at the market with my folks.
We’d walk all the way around the market one way, then walk back the other way. If I were very good (and didn’t ask), sometimes my parents would let me pick something out.
I’ve collected countless treasures from the Haney Farmer’s Market. I have a beautiful pink shawl I purchased a few years back that I brought with me to Fredericton, all the way from B.C.
Sometimes it was something as simple as a bar of soap, or a little trinket for my shelf, but the things I’ve found in the farmer’s market have a special sentimental value.
Since my first season in Fredericton is fall, I asked as to where the best farmer’s markets were to be found. One of my university residence’s proctors, Reid Sutherland, was kind enough to walk me to the Boyce Farmer’s Market in downtown Fredericton.
I was struck by how similar it was to the market at home. There was corn (no jubilee sadly – I’ve discovered that’s a B.C. specialty), apples, and even samosas.
Walking through the stalls, smelling popcorn, fresh baked goods, and honey, I could close my eyes and almost believe I was back in Haney.
The Boyce Market had some new things to offer: special east coast cider was a nice one.
I also enjoyed kombucha for the first time. My personal favourite flavour was blueberry and mint, but lemongrass and lime was a close second.
The bakeries had classics like ginger molasses cookies, but also some new things I’d never tried. Scones with crème cheese instead of clotted cream? I didn’t think I’d like it, but I have to say it was delicious.
Farmer’s markets bring together everything I love about fall. There’s always a booth selling little bits and bobs to do with Halloween. There’s corn, which is my favourite vegetable. There are apples, which are almost as powerful an icon of autumn as the eternal pumpkin, which towards the end of the season makes its own appearance.
Back home in Maple Ridge, the Haney Farmer’s Market is held at Memorial Peace Park, which is one of my favourite places in Maple Ridge to sit and relax.
The Boyce Farmer’s Market in downtown Fredericton is held in its own little buildings right downtown. (I’m told it’s inside because it’s cold on the east coast. I’ve only ever had Maple Ridge winters, so we’ll have to see.)
Farmer’s markets bring together everything I love about living in small communities – good people, good food, and a beautiful environment.
Living in Fredericton, one of my favourite things to do is walk with my friends down the hill from campus, along the path where all the trees are beginning to turn red and gold, and down to the farmer’s market.
Sitting on the curb on a cool autumn morning, biting into a fresh samosa, watching people bustle from stall to stall wearing scarves for the first time since March – that’s what fall is all about.
Marlowe Evans is a student at the University of New Brunswick from Maple Ridge who writes about youth issues.