With the summer growing season ramping up, Edmonton residents now have a new option for buying local with the opening of a year-round multi-day indoor farmers’ market in the city’s southeast.
The Bountiful Farmers’ Market, nestled in an industrial area on 97 Street near 37 Avenue, will operate Fridays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Bountiful will offer the usual products found at markets: fruit, vegetables, farm-fresh meats, prepared food, alcoholic beverages from local breweries and wineries, baking, honey, arts and crafts, preserves and decorations.
The market says it is sticking to the Alberta model of 80 per cent local food, and 20 per cent from out-of-province — mainly fruit from B.C.
As of opening weekend, the market has 104 vendors, although not all will be in operation quite yet on Friday. Each vendor has a permanent stall already provided, so they can just show up with their products.
Among them are some well-known vendors at other markets across Edmonton, including Confetti Sweets, Effing Seafoods, Field Stone Fruit Wines, Holden Colony Produce, Honest Dumplings, Irvings Farm, Steve and Dan’s Fresh BC Fruit, Canadian Kettle Corn Inc., and Riverbend Gardens.
WATCH: Courtney Higgins with Edmonton Tourism and Explore Edmonton, and Jay Sparrow, owner of Sea Change Brewing Co., talk food events in Edmonton this summer.
The market said Riverbend Gardens owner Janelle Herbert was one of the first vendors to sign on with Bountiful.
“We see Bountiful Farmers’ Market as a huge opportunity,” she said in a statement, which noted the farm in northwest also attends eight other markets in the region.
“Edmonton has a unique-to-Alberta local food system and I think that Bountiful will bring the showcasing of our products to a new level.”
Beyond vendors, the market also has an ethnic food hall, an events stage and a kids play zone.
The idea of a multi-day indoor year round market is not unique in and of itself: the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market is indoors, the Downtown City Market has for years moved to City Hall during the winter before launching its indoor-outdoor space on 97 Street.
The short-lived Mother’s Market operated three days a week out of a building on 109 Street that now houses a boxing fitness studio. Calgary also has six similar style markets.
So what makes this market different? Co-owner Sanjay Grover said they decided there was a need for a year-round indoor market operating on several days.
“This is not just a marketing place,” he said, explaining the market was designed to be a destination for market-goers.
“They can shop, they can have fun at the stage, there’s going to be live bands, various things happening every weekend. There’s going to be cultural shows. Ukrainian festival, Russian festival, Indian festival, Chinese festival: so all kinds of festivals here.”
While outdoor markets are enjoyable to visit on a nice summer day, Herbert said the consistency that comes with indoor space is something both vendors and customers value.
“Edmonton needs more markets that are not subject to the weather,” she said, saying long winters and rainy or smoky weather during the summer months has a huge impact on the volume of customers that come out to their market stalls.
WATCH: On a cold, rainy day in September 2018, Global News Morning Weekend went on the road to the downtown Edmonton farmer’s market and made the best of the bad weather.
The Tomato magazine publisher Mary Bailey said she was excited for the new market in a recent segment on Global News Morning.
“I think it’s going to be fantastic – great location,” she said. “Big, indoors, lots of parking!”
“Really, if you want to buy fresh vegetables from a farmer, there are a lot of places you can go.”
WATCH: Everything you need to know about Edmonton farmers’ markets with The Tomato magazine publisher Mary Bailey
For more information, visit the market’s website.