It might not be able to cure your Monday blues, but the Hamilton Farmers’ Market can sure satisfy your cravings four days a week. Open Tuesdays and Thursday through Saturdays year round, the Market is located inside Jackson Square in downtown Hamilton. It recently underwent some major renovations, along with the Central Library beside it, but they’ve still kept the Birk’s Clock that can be seen from almost very angle on the top level of the Market.
Celebrating its 180th year, there are 60 vendors that include both local, national, and international goods. These fabulous vendors range from fresh deli to produce to vegan treats and lunch options that can’t be beat.
Not sure what to cook that night? Head to the Farmers’ Market, and try out some boar or bison meat from 5k Bison and Boar Ranch. Looking for some deli? Leslie’s European Market is a staple there, and let’s me try out my poor Hungarian language skills. Need a fresh bouquet of flowers for a loved one or just to brighten up your living room? The Farmers’ Market has three florists there, too. Want a quick meal? There are multiple options that will tickle your taste-buds.
One vendor that keeps me coming back for more is Pokeh Bar. Located on the lower level of the market, Pokeh is Canada’s very first poke bar, which offers Hawaiian-influenced bowls of seafood and salad combined with rice and the most amazing toppings. It’s almost like sushi deconstructed, and yet it is also so much more. They were recently awarded the #1 poke place in Canada by the Food Network, and it’s not hard to see why! Terrace House on Netflix (anyone else watch?) first introduced me to the wonders of poke which features raw fish (though you can get tofu as a ‘green’ option!), bases of either rice or cucumber noodles, and pretty much your heart’s desire when it comes to toppings and sauces.
Don’t let the myriad of options scare you – the service there is topnotch and they can either lead you to get a signature bowl from their menu, or to a build a bowl and talk you through what you’d like to have! Both times, my toppings have been pretty similar – cucumbers, carrots, edamame, avocado (premium topping) and kimchi, with soy sauce/sesami oil and some spicy mayo, though I swapped out the ahi tuna for salmon on my second go. They don’t skimp out on toppings either, which is refreshing!
The lineup might seem long and daunting, but it goes quickly and gives you a little bit of time to decide on what you want! When you first get your regular or large-sized bowl, you might think it small, but don’t the size fool you. This fresh, flavourful bowl is seriously filling and makes for a perfect lunch option that will fill you up for most of the day! You can either take it to go or eat there; there are plenty of seating options, and both times I sat either at the counter or nearby, my stroller next to me, and didn’t feel like I was in anyone’s way. Make sure you to bring cash with you as they don’t take debit/credit, though there is an ATM conveniently located within the Market.
If you’ve realized it’s Monday and the Market isn’t open, which means no poke, there’s some good news! They are currently working on their new location on Concession Street which, I’ve been told, will be open on Mondays! Stay tuned to their Instagram and the hashtag #UptownPokeh for more news about when it’ll be open!