Woke up on a Saturday morning and not sure how to start your day? Grab a cooler bag or a picnic basket and head south of Calgary to the Millarville Farmers’ Market. Open Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. until Oct. 4, the open-air market has an impressive line-up of vendors.

This is a classic farmers’ market so bring some cash. There is no debit machine, though some vendors have portable debit machines and there is an ATM located near the main office. If you’re anything like me and are change-less when you try to park, just smile and the attendants will likely let you pay on the way out. Honour system!

Here are six items to put in your picnic basket: 

CANADIAN ROCKY MOUNTAIN RESORTS’ ELK MEAT 

Aside from owning a handful of great restaurants around Calgary (Bar C, Cilantro, Divino and The Lake House), CRMR is known well for its line of artisan food products, ranging from preserves and sauces to cured game meats. Try some elk salami, smoked sausages, perfect for a charcuterie platter or a picnic. (crmr.com)

CHINOOK HONEY’S BLUEBERRY HONEY 

This is just the stand you want to find if your sweet tooth is leading the way. From jars to pails, you can have your fill of a variety of honey, like this blueberry-infused variation with a slightly purple hue. As Alberta’s original meadery, Chinook has a line of ‘honey wines’ for sipping, which are always an interesting alternative to whatever you’re drinking on your patio on a hot summer day. 

CRYSTAL SPRING CHEESE’S CHIVE GOUDA 

Variety is the spice of life. As such, it’s only natural to expect the same in a line of artisan cheeses. This chive gouda is a perfect summer cheese, loaded with fresh herbs. Its melty, gooey factor makes it a winner on top of burgers or in a grilled cheese sandwich. 

LONGVIEW SZECHUAN BEEF JERKY

What’s a road trip without some delicious beef jerky to munch on while you’re rolling down the highway? With so many flavours – at least 10 at last count – it will be hard to choose. There are pepperoni, sausages and turkey, elk and buffalo jerky too. It’s surely appease any carnivore riding along with you.

NOBLE MEADOWS FARMS’ GOAT’S MILK CHEESE CURDS

From goat’s milk to regular and flavoured goat’s cheese, this little stand has got some interesting goat-centric items. The most interesting of all, perhaps, might be the packages of fresh cheese curds made with goat’s milk. Aside from the obvious application (poutine), curds are a great topping to barbecued burgers or even chopped loosely and added to a simple garden salad.

- By Dan Clapson

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