The Farmers’ Market Troubadour #1 – Carleton Place Farmers’ Market; Story Time: “What a Shame”

Hey folks–

Welcome to the Farmers’ Market Troubadour newsletter number one!  Over the next few months I will be bringing my guitar and my book of songs to a dozen or so farmers’ markets, mostly in driving distance of my home market The Kemptville Farmers’ Market, where I have been involved since the beginning and am currently active as the Community Liaison.

My plan is to bring a regular stories, some pictures and maybe an opinion or two to this project– and my hope is to help build the community of farmers’ markets, vendors, customers, enthusiasts and music lovers into a network.  

I describe myself to the world as a chef, author and musician–this blog is a chance to share all three of those passions in one place.  Welcome, and I hope to see you all at a market somewhere soon!

The Market:

covered market!

This week I played music at the Carleton Place Farmers’ Market on their opening day!! Business was a bit slow as the word is still getting out about the season, and the weather was a little finger numbing, but overall I had a blast playing from 10-12 with a short break in the middle.  Market hours are 8:30am-12:30pm

Carleton Place Farmers’ Market is located very near the downtown core at Market Square– on the corner of Beckwith and Lake Avenue East.  The excellent location includes a completely covered market area, clearly marked washrooms, plenty of parking and a great selection of prepared food, crafts and producers.  

Highlights of the music:

–a couple of youngsters were busking on fiddles when I got there– they were great!! I’m sorry I didn’t get their names…

–“Wheels on the Bus”  by request for a kiddo that helped me with lots of the words.  

–Being asked if I could be filmed right as I started one of those terrible covers that do so well at farmers’ markets and that I’m not sure I want the rest of the world to know I play, getting suddenly self-conscious as a result, and botching it completely (and I mean completely), on video, of course… Ok, I’ll own it, it was Country Roads.  I’m sure the viral video of my disastrous take is on the way…

–Realized I needed an uptempo song right when I started ‘Me and My Nicole’ and went ahead and played it that way– new take and might become a thing!  

–Tried one of my mom’s favourite songs “High Hopes” and it went really well–probably gonna keep it around…

–George at the stall next to me requested Gentle on My Mind– why don’t I play that one? Will have to learn…


–Saw and caught up with my old pal David McGahey (McGahey Farms) and his son Peter–talked about the wind down of the food hub… Check them out for grass fed meats and yummy veggies.  

–Got a Pork Jowl from Stone Pile Farm— she’s making bone broth from their pastured pork and it is reasonably priced… I am looking forward to smoking the jowl and will let you know how it turns out.  Yeah, I’m the guy who sees the word “jowl” on a chalkboard and has to buy it.

–Saw some other veggies around but ran out of time to hit everybody… mostly it looks like seedlings, salad greens and micro-greens at this point, no surprises there…

–Darlene at ‘Our Hobby Farm’ connected me a lovely perennial for Nicole for Mother’s Day 🙂  Thanks Darlene!


–”Dilly Spread” from the Pickle Vixens: a company making a spread with cream cheese and dill pickles, yep.

–Bike Repair (Conrad’s) on site

-TC Creations had some groovy birdhouses and yard art.

–The Indian food smelled amazing, but I missed it (sorry Pooja!) as I wrapped up a bit too late to try it this time… I will be back!

Coffee situation:  

–regular brewed at a couple of vendor stalls…

–Stopped by Gathering Grounds Café at 135 Bridge Street after the market– This café is a social enterprise business that offers a full selection of specialty coffees, and also operates as a customized employment and life skills training program for teens and adults with disabilities. The Equator Coffee was yummy and I was very happy to support them!

Story Time: “What a Shame”

(I will try to include a story with each letter if I can find the time– this one is not related to CP market but to the greater Ontario FM community and includes actual opinions, so beware…)

The Farmers’ Market Community of Ontario received a blow on Thursday, April 25, 2019, when the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) advised that Farmers’ Markets Ontario will no longer receive ongoing financial support from the provincial government.

Farmers’ Markets Ontario is a member based organization representing over 180 partner markets, that advocates on behalf of members with municipalities, regulators and potential funders.  They also offer everything from liability insurance to personalized advice on a variety of subjects including management, marketing and professional development. They even offer discounts on market tents!  

FMO has been an excellent partner to our market community, and to the Kemptville Farmers’ Market in particular– We first started working with FMO on projects over 10 years ago; initially by getting financial assistance for an advertising campaign, and eventually by tapping them as a rich resource for information about how to actually do this weird wonderful thing that is setting up and running a Farmers’ Market.  

In more recent years, they have helped us secure affordable (critical) insurance for our market and we have used their market manager training program… During the 27 years that Ontario has funded FMO, and in large part through their efforts, local food access in our region has increased 10-fold.  Our farmers’ market would certainly not be nearly as successful as it has become without having had their ongoing support.

In 2013, I was invited to attend a local foods ‘roundtable’ event in Kingston hosted by then PC party Agricultural Critic (current Minister of Agriculture) Ernie Hardeman.  The PC Caucus at the time had just published a white paper that suggested a number of initiatives to “increase local food [access]” including “creating a regional food terminal, increasing food literacy and reducing red-tape that hinders our farmers and food industry.”  

In my memory, the meeting was an afternoon affair that included several key players in the local food sector that I have coincidentally gotten to know better over the years.  Although I admit I was a little charmed by attention from our MPP Steve Clark, in my memory, the conversation from the front of the table contained little substance. And I distinctly remember feeling, at the time, that the true purpose of the meeting was probably for the PC speechwriters to learn our (the local food advocacy movement’s) language so they could better appropriate it in the future.  

Local Food starts at the Farmers’ Market.  Most of our food comes from big farms, usually from far away and even more often, from really, really far away.  Supporting local food access means building a local foods business community, which, in turn, means supporting small local foods producers (aka “small businesses”).  To do this, we must support the real world infrastructure that they rely on to incubate, gestate and grow. We must support Farmers’ Markets. FMO is a success story in doing exactly that.

Our current government seems to be designing a rural policy that is all style and no substance… Hosting a roundtable to listen, and then forming a government to betray.  De-funding an organization like FMO is clearly not the action of a government that actually seeks to increase access to local food– it is, rather, the action of a government that, as they have repeatedly told us, is ‘open for business’ in this case, big business.  What a shame.

Ok, that’s it for this week– next week is at the Kemptville Farmers’ Market!

Your pal,



Farmers’ Market Troubadour

Headed out to the Carleton Place Farmers’ Market this morning for the first in a Farmers’ Market Troubadour series that will last for the next several months– watch this spot to hear the tales of my travels and adventures…


Hi folks– May is looking like a pretty good month to see your friendly neighbourhood song-slinger at a venue near you… time to pull out your trusty old folded paper map, compass and sextant and to have a look-see at which stop is nearest to you..

May 18 — Musiikki Café, 73 Brock St, Kingston, 5-7pm, Matinee Show – (tip jar) — come early for a happy hour helping of tunes and still make your dinner reservation at one Kingston’s amazing dinner spots…

May 19 — Kemptville Farmers’ Market – 200 Sanders Street, 12-4pm, AND FRIENDS (including a Burning Sensation or two)– Join us for this free VegStock throwback set at this season’s Kemptville Farmers’ Market opening day event– other acts include Fiddlehead Stew (members of Fiddlehead Soup and the Heroic Mad Peasants) and a headline performance by none other than the legendary Keith Glass!!

May 25 — The Garnet, 231 Hunter St, Peterborough, 8pm $10/pwyc. I will be joined for this show by the whimsical Poet of Peterborough, Mary-Kate Edwards for an evening of lyrical mayhem…

Mary-Kate Edwards: “With deeply personal lyrics and a soft yet intense vocal delivery, Mary-Kate has been writing music since she was five years old. As the daughter of a writer and a musician, words and music has always been a major part of Mary-Kate’s life.
“I’m a poet before I’m a musician,” she says. “I’ve been writing poetry since a really young age. It’s always something I did. My dad is a writer as well, so I was always inspired by him, and my mom is a musician.”

See one near you or at least worth the drive? I certainly hope so– I can’t wait to see all of you out on the road…

April 6: Bruce at Moose


Hi Folks!

Next Saturday (April 6) I am playing with Greg Kelly for the first time in way too long at his super fun Saturday songwriter’s showcase, Tunes after Noon, presented at Moose McGuire’s pub… If you are in Ottawa and want to hear some live stuff in a listening room, this could be the moment! I will have copies of the latest cd, A Perfect Cliché, on hand for those who are interested.

April 6 – 1-3pm, Tunes after Noon, Moose McGuire’s pub:
3320 McCarthy Rd, Ottawa, ON K1V 0X3

photo credit Brian Cote — This is me and Greg a few years back… After seeing this photo, we briefly considered starting a band called ‘Objects in Mirrors’ 😉

Also coming up– April 20 is a show in Wakefield at Kaffe 1870– Doug Hendry and his pal Libby Hortop are joining me for that one — here is a graphic for that that I spent way too much time on:

There are a number of Farmers’ Markets dates starting to roll in… just check out the calendar on the website if you are curious about those; I am starting to settle on some ideas for a blog series doing ‘reviews’ of each of the market gigs with a story, a song and a recipe for each date… it will be an email based blog so if you would like to join up, send me your email address here to subscribe:

Coming Up!

Hi all–

First signs of Spring are that I’ve spent the weekend working on booking musicians to play at the Kemptville Farmers’ Market music for this season (looks like I’m back on the board!) and also looking for Farmers’ Markets to play myself–I suppose it would be easier if I just played Kemptville every weekend… but… (wink)

In all seriousness, I have to admit that over the last couple of years, these market music gigs have slowly but surely become my favourite ones… I mean, it is kinda the best of all worlds for someone of my particular set of predilections; local food, farmers, (often friends) a bit of travel but not too much, a warm happy and generally receptive audience, early in, early out… It’s a pretty swell side hustle, all things considered. I’m starting to enjoy it so much that I’m even thinking of starting a blog this season about the various markets I visit… maybe just a couple of paragraphs talking about my favourite treats from each stop, a couple of pictures, highlights… I mean, I’m going there anyway, it could be a fun way to share the experience… So, look for that.

In more current news, I’ve got a couple of shows coming up next month:

Saturday, April 6Moose McGuires, 1pm:

I am playing at the famous Tunes After Noon showcase with host Greg Kelly: Greg has been hosting this songwriter series at various venues for several years now– the current landing spot is Moose McGuires (3320 McCarthy Road, Ottawa) Greg is a dear pal who sang on my first record and we always have a smile for each other… The show starts ‘After Noon’ believe it or not, at 1 pm. We would love to see you Ottawa folks there…

Saturday, April 20 — Kaffe 1870

I’m happy to return next month to a favourite Quebec venue… for this gig I will have Fiddlehead Souperstar Doug Hendry along for help on the harmonies and to call the dances. Libby Hortop will be opening the evening:

“In 2014, Libby Hortop bought an Autoharp off Kijiji on a whim and began writing songs in the simplest, most uninhibited way possible. Her music is one part earnest and one part wise, like that of her inspirations, Joni Mitchell and Joanna Newsom. Libby’s future ambitions include writing for hammered dulcimer and penning French lyrics. She can often be found wandering the woods of Gatineau Park.”

In a final note:

I do have a limited supply of ‘dupes’ (no frills cd copies) of the new album, A Perfect Cliché, for those who aren’t doing the download thing yet… I am happy to mail one to you if you will do two things–

  • Send an email to with your full mailing address, and:
  • E-transfer me $10 to cover the cost of the cd and the postage (more is welcome, but that will cover my costs…).

You can also scroll down on any page on the website and click the ‘Tip Jar’ button to send cash through PayPal if that is easier. Or stop by my house or work, I’ll keep a couple handy in case I see I you. Let me know if you’d like the first album, a bumper sticker or a t-shirt while you are at it and I can mail that your way as well…

One month later…

Hi folks– It’s been about a month since I unleashed, er, um, RE-leased my third full length album ‘A Perfect Cliché’ to the world– I’m sure you’ve all heard it by now, but just in case I missed anyone, here it is on Spotify for you to enjoy! Click here for Spotify (…other links here: A Perfect Cliché)

I’ve also got a couple or three upcoming shows to announce:

  • March 2, 8pm in Campbellford, Ontario at the Churchkey Pub
  • April 6, 1pm at Moose McGuire’s in Ottawa with my BFF Greg Kelly
  • April 20, 9pm at Kaffe 1870 in Wakefield with Libby Hortop opening

Also looking for other Ottawa area (or beyond?) gigs/house concerts if you’ve got any hot leads…

I’m happy to announce that in response to popular demand, I’ve ordered a very limited supply of hard copies of the cd if that is your jam (expected to arrive mid March) reserve yours if you want one by emailing me at …

FYI: The Tuesday Night Scene is on hold for now– we will make a formal announcement soon about some changes there…

See y’all out there!