Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market: an Edmonton gem

27 Feb
Old Strathcona Farmer's Market

Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market – if you squint, you can see me!

Hi.  I’ve missed you.  Where have I been?  Well, my boss had the most brilliant idea – let’s send Alice to Edmonton in February!  It’ll be an enriching experience; she’ll learn to defrost frozen eyelashes, have an opportunity to wear THREE pairs of thick tights simultaneously, and become an expert at re-starting her own heart after succumbing to hypothermia!  Her LinkedIn profile will be just bursting with new added life skills which I will endorse out of guilt.

Needless to say, after being here in Edmonton (-30 C!) for almost 3 full weeks, I’ve become a little homesick for Toronto and in particular, am missing my habitual Saturday morning grocery shopping with MCyyz at my neighbourhood St. Lawrence North Market.   When I overheard that my hotel in Old Strathcona was just around the corner from Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market, I immediately scrawled, “MUST CHECK OUT FARMER’S MARKET!!!!!” in giant cursive writing across my work calendar, with a Sharpie that stained through onto the following month.   I didn’t even care that it was a jointly shared calendar for the team…cripes, everyone, just come to the market!  Even you, Mr. Senior Vice President!

Being the food nerd that I am, I had to look up The Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market on ye olde Google machine (sorry conference call, this is more important!).  It started off in 1983 as just 10 vendors in a parking lot and in 3 short years it had to move into the ‘Old Bus Barns’ building.  It now has over 130 vendors selling fresh produce, Albertan bison and beef, prepared foods, baked goods and crafts – all of which must be locally produced, making it a true farmer’s market.

So on a Saturday morning, bright and early, I donned my toque and mitts and tried to re-create one of my greatest pleasures back home.

Inside the Old Strathcona Farmer's Market

Inside the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market – um, ignore busy man on cell phone.  I’m bad at photography.

Cheerful vendors?  Check.

A sense of community?  Check.

Delicious homemade preserves, free-range bison meat, and baked goods and samples of everything?  Check.

Samples!

Samples!

 

Bagels!

Bagels!

It’s always fun checking out farmer’s markets whenever you travel because you get to see what the local agriculture produces and what eating trends are for that area.  Also, it’s usually always a great space to find out about community projects because it is, inherently, a community project!  At the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market, I noticed a lot of Vietnamese cold rolls being sold (interesting!), a lot of bison and beef vendors (not surprising), and got to try roast dandelion coffee (?!) as well as Saskatoon berries.  Last but not least, I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with warm and friendly vendors who truly loved being there and fed me like I were their long lost grandchild.  It was such a warm lil’ ray of sunshine on what had been, up until then, a very cold and dreary experience in Edmonton.  Okay, okay, I’ll stop the sap now.

So if you find yourself in or around Edmonton on a Saturday morning, you must check out the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market.  It’s a gem in the middle of Edmonton!

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2 Responses to “Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market: an Edmonton gem”

  1. Carrie February 27, 2014 at 11:20 am #

    You hit the nail on the head that it’s a true farmer market. so many these days sell brand products. Love my farmer market!

  2. Deb February 28, 2014 at 5:33 pm #

    Makes me want to go there……in summer…..

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