Set in a historic area in South Edmonton, the Old Strathcona's Farmers Market is a bustling community of farmers, food creators, musicians, artisans, craftsmen, and cultures. I always believed that food is what brings people together.
The space was once a train barn, as street cars used to run along some of the streets of Edmonton long long ago, during the gold rush period. Now this train garage is full of colors, smells and passionate people wanting to be seen and heard and sharing their creativity with us through food, recipes, culture and a sense of organic community. Children getting their face painted, folk artists playing unorthodox instruments like a steel wash barrel stick and rope, a long hand saw and in another area a quartet, quite an eclectic array of visual and sound display. We have a few favorite vendors at the market and this time I remembered to take pictures. Cheeses from The Cheesiry: we love the amazing, pungent black pepper pecorino. Dips from The Happy Camel: along with their home made pitas, you always have to squeeze in to gather a few tastes before deciding which dip to take home. The SunWorks farm where I always wait for the brilliant sausages that are cooked by the producer who is like the pie salesman yelling his pride for what he has created. Then off to the vegetable stand for beautiful eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, lettuces, fingerling potatoes (red, white, purple) always lined up which is a good indication of the quality. Word of mouth travels fast here. There is Theo's a most beautiful greek man who would give his left arm for you and always makes you feel like you are an important food critic critiquing his dips and pita that his wife has made and leaving feeling like you matter.
Nicoletta and I have a favorite stand, we call it the Tulip Man stand. He has the most beautiful and healthy tulips that he will wrap in an old school style wrapping throwing in some moss and branches and a plethora of knowledge of how to keep the tulips growing and long lasting.
Today I bought 4 tulips, 2 amethyst, and two innocence.
The café there is always lined up with a menu of frittata and salad, cinnamon buns and a huge selection of other diner type foods, just try to get a seat. Also one more stand we usually stop by: H&R farms, which sells jams, pickled asparagus, amongst other pickled things, and various other creations. Helen, a beautiful soul with a passion for what she creates, told me she loves sharing what she makes and the name H & R stands for Helen and her husband Rudy. Today with Helen's help I purchased the pear apple ginger, can't wait to try it.
There are so many other places but will save those for another journey. Whether it is here in Edmonton or in the beauty of Italy while walking in the mediteranean air, farmers markets offer us a healthy place to shop with an experience far greater than not. Always makes our Saturday morning.