Meet The Farmer That Feeds You

New and old farmer's markets get ready for another season of growing and selling

The sun glanced off ripe red tomatoes, juicy green zucchinis and vibrant yellow and orange peppers while people gathered to see what the City Market had to offer at city hall on Saturday.

Aside from the fruits and vegetables, people bustled around the foyer to see assortments of baked goods, knitted hats, works of art and many other items courtesy of a variety of local vendors.

The City Market has been ongoing for the last 10 weeks at City Hall in an attempt to conquer the Edmonton weather. This was the first year such an attempt was made.

“In the past what has happened is that some of the vendors would meet every two weeks on the street corner to meet their customers in different parts of the city to deliver a product,” says Dan Young, the chairman of the Downtown Farmer’s Market Association. “We thought, well, why not make that all one place?”

It was decided that there would be 10 Spring Markets held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Saturdays leading up to the move back outdoors, and while the market is already nine weeks in, Young says holding the market indoors has been a bit of a learning experience.

“I think it gave us a very good idea of what we need to do to grow,” Young says. “The opportunity to go year-round gave [the vendors] a good learning exercise where they can now see what kind of practices and processes [they] have to put in place to meet the demand.”

This weekend, the City Market will be moving back outside to its usual location on 104th Street.

While the City Market has been around for more than a century in one form or another, now there is a new kid on the block planning to make its grand opening in the Riverbend area.

The Southwest Edmonton Farmer’s Market got going earlier this week.

“It’s really exciting to be opening in Riverbend/Terwilliger,” says Zita Dube-Lockhart, the manager. “We know markets have been around the city for many, many years, but this is an area of the city that has been neglected by that, so we are looking forward to bringing a little bit of local farmer’s market flavour into [the area].”

It hasn’t been a simple job though. At first Dube-Lockhart says it was a bit of a challenge to get vendors to come to an area where they weren’t as well known, but after some initial hesitancy, that has changed. The market is nearing its maximum capacity of 58 vendors.

While the early success is all well and good, the challenge now is to keep the momentum going.

“We all know that the best advertising is word of mouth,” she says. “Meeting the needs of our customers, offering them new and exciting products that they can’t otherwise find elsewhere, the highest quality goods here in the city from our own local vendors. I think that is marketable enough to bring people back week after week.”

Riverbend Gardens is one of the vendors providing goods at multiple farmer’s markets around the city. Janelle Herbert, one of the co-owners of the company along with her husband and parents, says they are waiting until they have vegetables to sell before they set up shop at the Southwest Edmonton Farmer’s Market, but they are selling bedding plants at other markets in the city. She explained there are some very good reasons to support the local businesses.

“Money exchanged locally, changes hands locally,” Herber says. “It’s important to have a choice in what kind of food you buy.”

City Market

104th Street between Jasper Avenue and 103rd Avenue

Open Saturdays from May 21 to Oct. 8

9:00 a.m to 3:00 p.m.


Southwest Edmonton
Farmers Market

Lillian Osborne High School parking lot, 2019 Leger Road

Open Wednesdays from May 18 to Oct. 12

5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.


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