Although Edmonton has plenty of farmers’ markets (with more seeming to spring up in every pocket of the city), up until now, almost all markets run just once a week. Enter Mother’s Market, Edmonton’s first three day year-round market, which opened on Friday in the building that formerly housed Mother’s Music at 10251 109 Street. It will be open from 10am-7pm on Fridays and from 10am-5pm on the weekends.
When it was first announced, some wondered how Mother’s Market could possibly compete with the City Market in the summer, located just a few blocks away on the pedestrian-friendly 104 Street. To be fair, not everyone can make it to the market on Saturdays, so the ability to pick pick up groceries on alternate days is a definite plus. Much of their success, however will depend on the range of products they can offer, in addition, of course, to the shopping experience itself.
Two floors of shopping
Originally slated to open in May, the delay to June 20, 2014 seemed to allow the market to gather more vendors in the interim, including several familiar to City Market shoppers, such as Prairie Mill, Greens, Eggs and Ham, and Irvings Farm Fresh.
Greens, Eggs and Ham (a duplicate of their Symons Valley Ranch booth in Calgary)
It was immediately clear the advantage offered to vendors at an indoor site – no need for a weekly set-up and take-down, easy access to power and water, and no variable weather conditions to worry about. As a result, many of the stalls are more visibly branded, and customers can tell at a glance which products are in stock.
Irvings Farm Fresh
Personally, I was happy to see Sunworks. Though their location across the river at Blush Lane isn’t that far, it’s nice to have walking distance access to a variety of meats and eggs. In addition, they also sell Vital Green milk products (I’ve been missing the ability to pick up local, organic milk close to home since Saxby’s closure impacted Van Os Dairy).
There were still many empty vending spaces, some due to be occupied soon (Innisfail-based Lund’s Organics will enhance the produce offerings, which are still fairly slim, and at present, include imported produce from the US). I’ve always found the biggest weakness of the fall/winter component of the City Market in City Hall is the relative lack of produce, especially when compared with Old Strathcona. This is an area where Mother’s can definitely compete.
It was also great to see a number of vendors unique to Mother’s Market. Those who were sad to see Wild Tangerine go will be happy to know they can still pick up prepared curries, spring rolls and soups at this location. As well, Transcend Coffee will not only be serving the caffeine-deprived (drip coffees only, at this point), but also use their stall as a way to introduce customers to alternative home brewing methods (think AeroPress and Chemex).
Locating concessions on the second floor was a great idea to help draw shoppers upstairs, which would otherwise potentially see less foot traffic. Besides a forgettable hot dog vendor, the crepe, Indian and Mexican food stalls were still works in progress. Native Delights, however, was up and running. We still haven’t tried a bannock burger ourselves, but it is heartening to see the business (two food trucks, a concession at Osman Auction, and now, Mother’s Market) expand. More seating options will definitely be needed, particularly if the market would like customers to linger, but that could be on its way.
I have to say some of the vendors seemed out of place to me, but I know people have vastly different definitions of what vendors should comprise a farmers’ market. I could have done without the art and scented wax vendors, for instance, but to each their own.
Second floor vendors
Most of Calgary’s farmers’ markets already operate on the three day per week model, so it will be interesting to see if Mother’s Market will be the first to succeed at doing so in Edmonton. So far, I’d say they’re off to a good start – but only time will tell.
10251 109 Street
Fridays 10am-7pm, Saturdays and Sundays 10am-5pm
Rebecca also posted about the market.