Want an easy way to be a more green Jasper National Park traveler?
Simple. Buy locally grown food on your way to Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada.
The region’s local farmers’ markets and many small farm stands offer green travelers and budget-conscious travelers a way to get locally grown produce at surprisingly low prices. Buying locally grown produce reduces your travel carbon footprint because the foods were shipped less and have less packaging than foods typically found in a grocery store.
Buying local has added benefits. For the traveler from lands faraway, visiting a market on the way to Jasper National Park is a way to experience the local food heritage.
For instance, have you ever tried saskatoons, a sweet fruit that looks like blueberries? Saskatoons grow in western Canada and northwest/central US. Even if you buy saskatoons at local restaurants and ice cream shops, the saskatoon berries will have traveled less than, say, bananas shipped from South America. Your travel carbon footprint will be reduced.
How to make the most of a trip to a farmers’ market in Alberta?
Make it easy to be a green traveler. Make the habit of always bringing silverware in your suitcase when traveling. Carry it in your backpack when out and about. If you happen upon a farm stand and pick up an assortment of fruit, vegetables, bread, crackers and jam, you have a way to eat it.
The Alberta Farmers’ Market Association recommends buying what is seasonal, appealing and fresh. They also recommend asking questions of the growers. It is a great way to learn about local farming and meet new people. The Association also suggests being selective as buying too much will result food can result in food going bad before it is eaten.
Farmers’ markets and farm stands can also be places to find unique locally made handicrafts and gifts.
The farmer’s markets in the region tend to be open seasonally (July and August, usually June and September, and sometimes beyond) and for only a day or two each week – and for limited hours. Be sure to know the hours before planning a trip to a farmer’s market.
Where are the farm stands and farmers’ markets in Alberta?
While a listing of farm stands is unavailable, farm stands tend to be open during the mornings and early afternoons. If you are out driving in rural areas, keep a look out for the opportunity for a spontaneous stop at a farm stand. Some farm stands even have DIY u-pick farms where you can pick your own fruits and vegetables.
Farmer’s markets are easier to find. The following links will help you find farmer’s markets in the vicinity of Jasper and Banff National Parks.
Just minutes from the eastern entrance to Jasper National Park is the town of Hinton, Alberta. The Hinton Farmer’s Market at the Hinton Centre, 965 Switzer Dr, is open Thursdays from 11AM to 2PM for most of the year. The same organization comes to Jasper a few times a year, making use of the Jasper Activity Centre.
The little town of Edson is midway between Edmonton and Jasper National Park.
The Edson Farmers’ Market is on Fridays from mid-April to min-December from 10:30am to 2pm. If you happen to be passing by Edson at this time, give the Edson Farmers’ Market a try. The market is held at the Edson Friendship Centre.
Keep an eye out for farm stands along the highway.
The West Edmonton Mall is by no means the only place to shop in Edmonton. Edmonton has plenty of farmers’ markets for shopping. Farmer’s Market Online lists 8 different farmer’s markets in Edmonton.
Check out Edmonton’s Old Strathcona Farmers Market (website), open Saturdays from 8AM to 3PM, which has around 130 vendors and can sometimes see 10,000 visitors on a busy Saturday. Be on the look-out for street performers as well.
Farm stands can be found in the Edmonton suburbs.
The Calgary Farmers’ Market (website) and the Millarville Farmer’s Market (website) are the big farmer’s markets in the Banff National Park area. Stop by on the way to Banff and Jasper National Parks.
A nice photo album of the Calgary Farmers’ Market can be found here.
Besides being environmentally friendly, buying locally grown food can save on food costs, making for a cheaper Jasper National Park vacation. It can also be a lot of fun!
Be sure to buy locally grown foods from farmers’ markets and farm stands on your Jasper National Park vacation so that you may be a green traveler.