Not all farmers’ markets are created equal. Case in point, the three new markets that have more than doubled the Sunday scene are all quite different. Eden’s Market (which I recognize is still in its early stages), needs to attract more produce and protein vendors to make it a worthwhile grocery stop (instead of just a charming stroll-through). This is what makes the French Quarter Farmers’ Market so impressive by contrast.
French Quarter Farmers’ Market
Mack and I stopped by on Sunday. Situated at La Cité Francophone, the market has taken full advantage of the site. Vendors are located both indoors and outside, with picnic tables scattered in the grass. A busker was performing when we arrived, with a number of people enjoying the music under shaded seats.
In the short three weeks they’ve been open, they’ve managed to accumulate nearly thirty different vendors. All sell food products, something that sets this market apart from others. Though a select few only vend every second week, those who visit regularly will still have the pick of staple products from Steve & Dan’s, Skyline Greenhouses, Greens, Eggs and Ham and Serben Free Range (I am hoping the website is updated soon with the complete list).
We were reminded by market manager Jean-Michel Dentinger that it is a French market after all (we noticed several producers greeted customers in both French and English), so it is no surprise that good cheese (The Cheesiry and Smoky Valley Goat Cheese) and bread (Bonjour Bakery/Treestone) are to be found here.
For those looking for something sweet, Passion Sucre offers baked treats. We were lucky enough to score a care package, featuring not only chocolate croissants, but éclairs and even a #yeg chocolate-dipped strawberry!
Treats from Passion Sucre
Though Eden’s Market definitely takes the food truck cake, the French Quarter Farmers’ Market boasts The Crooked Fork, one of Edmonton’s newest truck. They had run out of their hickory-smoked pulled pork, so we opted for their poutine. It hit the spot!
The Crooked Fork
This market also features cooking classes by Chef Elaine Wilson, of Food You Can Cook. Cooking demos are an excellent way to highlight to consumers how they can transform the ingredients they pick up at the market, and are common elsewhere.
We took part in Elaine’s second class (she runs two classes per session, one at 12:30pm and another at 2:30pm). We learned how to make Thai Massaman sauce, a base which she transformed into a delicious beef and potato curry as well as a spicy tamarind soup. Elaine always amazes me with her knowledge, but also her ability to juggle answering questions with the prep tasks at hand!
Elaine is passionate about food!
Elaine normally charges $20 for the class, but for the past two weeks, classes have been by donation, with all proceeds going to Alberta flood relief. Next week, watch Elaine cook up appetizers, a main and dessert for what she terms an “elegant dinner party” – all in forty-five minutes! Sign up in advance on her website, or drop-in if you’re feeling lucky!
Mack enjoys his sample of Massaman curry
In short, the French Quarter market is thoughtful and well-rounded. I’d be interested in seeing how it progresses in identity as a year-round market (especially through the winter, given they are reliant on food producers), but it is a wonderful addition to the city’s market scene.
French Quarter Farmers’ Market
8627 Rue Marie-Anne-Gaboury (91 Street), La Cité Francophone
Every Sunday from 12-5pm