EDMONTON- You know it’s summertime in Edmonton when the vibrant colours of fresh vegetables hit the tables at local farmers’ markets.
Rain or shine, thousands of Edmontonians flock to market every week, to support local farmers and businesses.
“We’re in our 29th year of operation. It started with around 10 vendors and now, like I say, we’re up to well over 100,” said Wayne Hryniw, manager of the Callingwood Farmers’ Market, Edmonton’s original and largest Sunday market.
Rony Erdmann of Erdmann’s Gardens & Greenhouses has been with the Callingwood market since its inception and has enjoyed watching it flourish into what it is today.
“(It was) slow for the first few years and then it just grew and grew and grew.”
The growth of local markets is being seen nation-wide. According to a recent BMO survey, 97 per cent of market-goers say the reason they shop close to home is to support the local economy and local growers.
“It’s local. I believe in supporting the local merchants if you can,” said one woman who was shopping at the Callingwood market Sunday morning.
Furthermore, she says the product is good.
“Everything is so fresh, prices are good, things taste better. It’s great,” she explained.
“We’ve never been disappointed and that’s the main thing,” added an elderly gentleman who was also shopping Sunday morning.
“I think from us, the customers know we grow everything on our table and everything is fresh; within the last day or two days it’s been picked,” said Erdmann. “And I think they appreciate that we do our best to grow good, safe, fresh food for them.”
The Callingwood Farmers’ Market is Alberta Approved, meaning 80 per cent of the vendors must sell Alberta products.
“Basically, you make it, bake it, grow it locally,” Hryniw explained. “We want to promote local business… That is very important to maintain the local economy.”
It’s an ideal many vendors live by and are happy to see it’s catching on.
“As farmers, we really do appreciate people coming out and supporting the local farms, supporting our businesses. We grow, really, for people,” Erdmann expressed. “It’s a great sense of pride when people come back next week and they tell you how much they enjoyed those potatoes or those carrots or those peas. It really makes it worthwhile.”
With files from Shannon Greer, Global News.