Winter Farmers’ Market at Connon Nurseries
Updated: Jan 17
Vaughan - January 13th, 2023 - Last January, Christina and I ventured west to attend our first farmers’ market of the winter. As you could imagine, the market energy becomes a tad bit damped by the cold winter season post holidays, however, there are some markets that run January through April and provide the exact amount of market fulfillment that us Harvest Hunters need! We saw the ads for this winter farmers’ market on Instagram and could not say no. Unbeknownst to us, however, the Winter Farmers’ Market is run by Connon Nurseries - at the time we thought it was the Waterdown Farmers’ Market that put it on. But because the nursery is responsible for this fun activation, we are killing two birds with one stone in this post.
We drove west on the QEW then down a few secluded, wintery roads when we arrived on site at Connon Nurseries’ Waterdown location on Robson Street. Upon arrival that Saturday morning, the parking lot was bustling with customers of the nursery as well as market goers. We first entered the nursery where we were surrounded by gorgeous plants and winter-season planters. After some exploration, we walked to the back of the nursery where the Winter Farmers’ Market lay in the greenhouse. The marker was set up in rows, with traffic flowing in one direction allowing us to explore each and every vendor. Vendors included meat and poultry providers, bakers, wineries, kombucha distillers, and more. Every vendor was super friendly and enthusiastic, and we walked away with one bag each of exciting goodies.
Now how about Connon Nurseries? Well, John Connon immigrated to Canada from Aberdeen Scotland in 1895. While working for the Robert Evans Seed Company of Hamilton, he realized the need for the sales and distribution of trees and shrubs to local farmers. In October of 1906, he fulfilled his dream of supplying farmers when the John Connon Floral Co. Ltd. was incorporated. Several re-locations occurred in the first twenty years of the company (all within the Hamilton / Stoney Creek area), until 1922 when the family moved to First Street in Waterdown. 1931 saw the company move to Dundas Street in Waterdown.
Connon Nurseries continued to supply quality products to the retail public, as well as to the landscape contractors in the area. As sales grew from this location, it became necessary to develop their own production to support sales and market demand and in 1989, the first production farm on Robson Road was acquired. Production of container-grown flowering shrubs, trees, evergreens, perennials, ornamental grasses, and water plants began and continues today on over 300 acres in the Waterdown area. In 2017, the Dundas Street location closed and re-located to the redeveloped, 20 acre site on Robson Road, now known as the Waterdown Sales Yard.
Connon Nurseries serves Eastern Ontario’s retail and wholesale market from a Sales Yard in Trenton, Ontario. The development of the Newmarket Sales Yard in King, Ontario, provides quality plant material from our farms to both markets. Over 20 acres on this site serve the surrounding areas of the GTA and beyond.
With several locations for operations, Connon Nurseries has decided to expand their Winter Farmers’ Market in 2023 to both the Waterdown and Newmarket locations. Running every Saturday from January 14th to April 1st between 10am and 2pm, I cannot wait to explore the different local food makers and creators at both markets. For more information on Connon Nurseries or their markets, visit the official website.
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