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Every Thursday in the summer, a small Farmer’s Market runs in Waterloo’s town square. My family and I visited last week and bought apples and cherries (assured they were picked from the tree that morning!), strawberries, curly kale and garlic as well as fresh bread from Downie Street Bakehouse in Stratford.

I appreciated that–unlike many other farmer’s markets around–the produce sold is required to be organic only and the vendors are truly local (from within a two hour drive).  While I shopped, the kids made free crafts at the art table.  A very nice market experience indeed!

After the market, we walked to Seven Shores cafe for a casual dinner.  The owners used to run Seven Shores Trading Company in Kitchener.  It sold fair-trade furnishings, clothing and artisan crafts from around the world and it’s where I bought my favourite bamboo t-shirt.  They closed their store in 2008 to open a cafe in Waterloo but they continue to sell some artisan crafts in the cafe as well as a mini produce market outside.  The owner told me they focus on fair-trade practices, pay their staff a living wage and promote local, organic eating.

Their menu has options for gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian and omnivore eaters.  They even offer Daiya to make vegan grilled cheese.  I ordered the veggie wrap.  It was served on a soft tortilla with hummus, veggies and a side salad.  When the chef overheard me tell the counter staff that I was allergic to alcohol and couldn’t have the balsamic dressing on the salad, she offered to make me a dressing with fresh strawberries and olive oil instead and it was delicious!

Seven Shores had no vegan desserts, so we headed to Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt after dinner.  We had never eaten there before but heard that they offer at least one vegan sorbet option each day and lots of vegan toppings.  You help yourself to as much yogurt or sorbet and toppings as you like, then head to the cash register where you pay by weight.  The vegan option that day was peach sorbet.  The ingredients of the sorbet base are nothing special: water, liquid sugar, corn syrup solids, stabilizer (guar gum, pectin, dextrose).   I didn’t have the heart to ask to see the ingredients in the peach flavouring but I’m going to guess that none of them actually came from a peach.

Our vegan toppings: fresh mango, coconut, Oreos and walnuts.  We got a waffle cone for the kids but note that their cones contain egg yolk.  Our sorbet rang in at almost $9.00 which seemed pretty steep to me for what was mostly frozen sugar water.   Still, it was a fun family outing and on a blazing hot day, the sorbet hit the spot.

Menchie’s is located at 247 King St. North, Unit 3 in Waterloo.

Seven Shores is located at 10 Regina Street N, Unit 4 in Waterloo.