It started out a busy Saturday morning dropping my wife Sara and daughter Lienna off to her dance recital rehearsal. Next, it was off to the Truro Farmers' Market where Jaden's school choir had been asked to sing. Our Saturday morning routine typically involved cartoons and a trip to town to get groceries before noon, so we were destined to try something different!
It was a rainy morning, so I was surprised to see how busy the Farmers' Market was. Now that the market occupies the historic fire department off Prince Street and features a large outdoor covered area, it maintains its vibrant atmosphere rain or shine.
I hadn't been to the market for years. The variety of vendors, food, music and the facility itself creates a great social scene. I couldn't help but get myself a coffee, relax and enjoy the sights and sounds. When Sara and Lienna rejoined Jaden and I, we decided to pick up a jar of Kittilsen's Honey and a gluten-free rhubarb tart to go!
We enjoyed the farmers' market vibe so much that we decided to check-out another one just a few weeks later on Canada Day weekend. The drive to Tatamagouche took just 45 minutes and with the miracles of technology our portable DVD player entertained the kids with Bee Movie (inspired by the Kittilsen's Honey, no doubt) making the trip feel like no time at all.
From the parking lot on the hill, we were lured to the market by music and view of the Waugh River to the Creamery Square. The Creamery Square is a fantastic waterside attraction featuring a heritage centre and Saturday farmers' market with a performing arts centre currently under construction. A rock duo was performing outside upon our arrival, so we stopped to take in a few tunes before perusing the vendors inside.
There were plants for sale, cool handmade jewellery and crafts, but because it was getting close to lunch time, we couldn't help but be drawn to the food. We started with pure maple sugar candies from Sugar Moon Farm first and loved them so much that we went back for more. The kids also had a custom fruit slushy which was a huge hit!
We worked our way to the neighbouring Grain Elevator that at one time was part of the old creamery operation that used to occupy the site. The building has been refurbished and now provides a unique home to a variety shops and artisans that open during the Farmers Market. I must say, they have a lot of really neat stuff in there!
We enjoyed a picnic lunch while listening to another local band before checking out the award-winning Creamery Square Heritage Centre. As we entered the Centre, we were greeted by friendly staff and volunteers and Jaden and Lienna were immediately invited to try on a period costume. I could tell by the expressions on their faces that they were excited by the idea of dressing up.
After a few photos we moved on to the Brule Fossil Exhibit. It's exceptionally well done and explained the significance of 250 million year old fossils found on a local beach in nearby Brule. The Brule site is the only example of a fossilized Walchia forest ever found in its original growth position. The fossilized animal tracks also found are the oldest evidence of herding behavior in animals in the world!
From there we got to visit the mysterious "Boiler Bob" and see how the famous Tatamgouche butter was once made at the site. Along our way, the kids got to make their own butter and try a variety of games and activities that were popular back in the day. It was impressive to see how even the simplest of games could be so entertaining even today.
Upstairs we encountered a variety of exhibits relating to the Mi'kmaw, Acadians, and Loyalists along with some of the most unusual artifacts I have ever seen. The two-headed calves and the dog-powered treadmill butter churn were among the most memorable I think!
To conclude our truly memorable Creamery Square experience we met Dale Swan who told us countless fascinating stories of the famed Giantess from Tatamagouche: Anna Swan. Anna grew to just over 7' 11" tall and joined Barnum Circus at age 16. She later married the "Kentucky Giant" Martin Van Buren who was 7' 9" tall. We had fun playing dress up again, only this time the costumes were a little roomier. Trying on a pair of giant pants definitely helped drive home the point of just how large Anna and Martin were.
It was getting later in the day, so we didn't have time to check out any of the great local beaches in the area. We looked forward to our return to the Northumberland shore on another sunny day.