Alberta Avenue Farmers’ Market: Update

I had some time after work on Thursday, so hopped on the train and headed to the Alberta Avenue Farmers’ Market. After a quick connection to a bus at Coliseum station, I was there – fifteen minutes after leaving downtown.

Trees!

All decked out for the holidays

The market has undergone some changes in the past two weeks since my last visit. A new market manager has been installed, and from the sounds of it, was a necessary step, and a positive one. Kerry is working on bringing in new vendors, and though the market will be closed December 23, 2010 and January 2 and 9, 2011, she’s already planning to partner with Deep Freeze, Arts on the Avenue’s winter festival, to offer a special market in conjunction with the festivities.

Mary Ellen and Andreas of Greens, Eggs and Ham have also been tirelessly drumming up more vendor support for the market, and helped bring on both Shooting Star Ranch and Smoky Valley Goat Cheese. They really are amazing – between farming, deliveries, and family, they’ve also managed to squeeze one more market into their roster – the Kingsland Market in Calgary on Saturdays.

Greens, Eggs and Ham

Andreas and Mary Ellen Grueneberg

Elk farmer Christine Harrison of Shooting Star Ranch has an amazing memory – she had to prompt me that we had already met – briefly at Planet Organics’ Meet the Locals festival over a year ago (where they also carry their products). This was her second market day (and the only farmers’ market that she does), and though it had been slow so far, she was confident that sales would improve. I picked up some ground elk, which will be perfect for a warming batch of chili later in the week.

Shooting Star Ranch

Christine Harrison of Shooting Star Ranch

It was the first Alberta Avenue market day for Holly Gale of Smoky Valley Goat Cheese. It’s so fantastic for this small market to have such a wonderful cheese producer. I really hope customers give her cheeses a try – they won’t look back!

Smoky Valley Goat Cheese

Holly Gale of Smoky Valley Goat Cheese

Arie Jol of Ma-Be Farms is a veteran at this market, having joined in the fall of 2009. He sells grass-fed beef and bison, naturally-raised pork, and free-run chickens and eggs. He has his share of regular customers, such as one woman who asks, “Are you treating your chickens well?” before buying her eggs. Every week, he responds, with assurance, “Yes.”

Ma-Be Farms

Arie Jol of Ma-Be Farms

Though the selection of vendors is small (which will hopefully change soon, along with the hours), I love the vibe of this market. Sure, it is so different in many ways from the City Market, but they do both have an intimacy not seen at the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market – space and time to be able to individually connect with the vendors. This market also has such potential to become a community gathering venue like The Carrot down the street, vitally important “bumping places” for burgeoning neighbourhoods like Alberta Avenue.

Check out the Alberta Avenue Farmers’ Market when you have the chance!

Alberta Avenue Farmers’ Market
118 Avenue & 93 Street
Open Thursdays, 2-7 p.m.

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