There’s no better way to experience a place than by living like a local. Discover cool coffee shops, live music venues, and secret beaches with tips from locals who make Halifax an amazing place to live and visit. Each of these Haligonians are passionate about this place, and have a story to tell. Get to know them and experience Halifax like a local.
Laura Oakley: Shop and Eat Farm-to-Table in Halifax
If you’re not familiar with Halifax you might not realize just how close we are to Nova Scotia’s farming haven, the Annapolis Valley region. Referred to as simply “The Valley” by locals, this agricultural hub is home to more than 1,000 farms, 15 wineries, 25 u-pick farms, multiple farm stores and community farmers’ markets and an ever-growing number of microbreweries.
With all of this goodness just a short drive away—you can get to a farm in 40 minutes—it’s no surprise that Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) has multiple fully stocked farmers’ markets. In addition to that, there are several locally-focused stores where you can pick up items grown, produced or made in Nova Scotia any day of the week.
Prefer to let someone else do the cooking? There are a number of stellar farm-to-table dining experiences in the Halifax area, whether you’re looking for high-end or casual.
Grab your green bag
Let’s start with where to shop. All of the farmers’ markets I’m about to mention offer a mix of local produce, meats, seafood, dairy and baked goods. You’ll also find hot meals, pre-made food, retail food items, distilleries, wineries, and craft breweries plus plenty of crafters and artisans selling their wares. (It’s okay to show up hungry.)
The longest-running farmers’ market in Canada, the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market operates every Saturday and Sunday at Pavilion 23. Stop by for traditionally-made Gouda from That Dutchman’s Cheese—especially the smeerkaas (spreadable Gouda) and famous Dragon’s Breath Blue. Check out what produce is in season from Elmridge Farm before you leave.
While you’re on the Halifax waterfront stop at the Halifax Brewery Market, inside the historic Alexander Keith’s Brewery building on Lower Water Street. This market is only open on Saturdays and features Dartmouth-based butcher Vessel Meats (look for the cheeseburger sausages), Italian-style cheeses from Roma Cheese, and much more—if you’re hungry, grab a generous plate of homemade grub from Louly’s Mediterranean.
The Hubbards Farmers’ Market is a seasonal operation in the beach community of Hubbards, just 30 minutes from Halifax. (Families take note—this market is within a community park with a playground. And close to several beaches.) From May through October this market is a great Saturday stop for fresh sourdough from Boulangerie la Vendéenne or to sample award-winning spirits from Lunenburg-based Ironworks Distillery.
The Warehouse Market is a North End Halifax farm store run by Abundant Acres farm but stocks a wide variety of locally-produced grocery staples along with some imported items to keep it convenient for customers. Do not miss the gorgeous greens from Abundant Acres (I like the spicy mix) and sustainable seafood by Afishionado (they usually have fresh oysters).
Make a reservation
Looking for farm-to-table dining? Book in at the cozy wine bar Obladee in downtown Halifax to indulge in a small, thoughtful menu featuring seasonal gems. On the Dartmouth side, head to Oxalis for a fine dining experience with a touch of gastronomy. Or, if you want those water views, try Rhubarb Restaurant near Peggy’s Cove for down-to-earth food and service (get the lobster roll).
Laura Oakley (she/her)
Laura Oakley is a freelance food and travel writer based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She has contributed to a number of local and national magazines and websites. Laura has a degree in Journalism from the University of King’s College and travels the province extensively as senior feature writer for Curated Magazine, an editorial publication dedicated to covering all things food and drink related in Nova Scotia.