A trip to the Cochrane Farmers’ Market makes the perfect big city getaway on a Saturday morning.
Held on the Cochrane Ranche Historic Site, you’ll be surrounded by trees and under the watchful eye of the nearby Men of Vision cowboy statue. It’s a fitting setting to showcase local produce, specialty foods and crafts.
Vendors offer a variety of goodies, from fresh fruits and vegetables, savoury sausage, baked goods and aromatic cheeses to hand-crafted wooden clocks and glass-blown spoon rests. Featuring locally produced goods, where possible, the market celebrates the area’s rich ranching heritage as well as its diversity.
Mari-Eve Cote has been bringing her kids to the market for several years. “There are fruits, vegetables and Indian food,” she said.
Her children enjoy munching on fresh fruit and playing in the grass. Jana Lescanec has been selling her allergy-friendly Sweet Gypsy Bespoke Chocolates at the market for a couple of years now.
“We have been Cochrane market shoppers since we have moved here” she says. “We love the market.”
Cochrane’s proximity to the Trans-Canada Highway means Rocky Mountain adventure-seekers often stop by for a coffee and a snack. Lescanec says that while people drop by on their way west, many people are from the immediate area.
In addition to the market, the Cochrane Ranche Historic Site is great for other activities. A creek runs through the property and a number of trails create a pretty green space suitable for dog walks and family picnics. From the top of the hill, the views of the town site and nearby foothills are lovely.
The space is the original site of Alberta’s first large-scale livestock, established in 1881, owned by Senator Matthew Cochrane, for whom the town is named. It was the largest ranch in Western Canada at 108,000 acres. A tiny museum, the senator’s historic home, sits near the market entrance.
Walking through the market on Saturday mornings when it’s open from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. throughout the summer, you’ll know you’re walking on land that is a part of Alberta’s rich ranching heritage.
Make time for checking out the historic main street. It includes the famous MacKay’s Ice Cream shop and new Horse Creek Heritage Candy & Gifts store next door, which sells gifts and old-fashioned candy and features a historic chuckwagon.