Two months ago, when Kerrie Miller took over as the Alberta Avenue Farmers’ Market Manager, the number of vendors dipped, and morale was low. The atmosphere in the hall was far from lively, though the vendors that did remain made the best of it. But now, in its second week in 2011, Alberta Avenue really does seem to be looking up.
Perhaps it had to do with the sound of children playing, or the dreamy quality of the twinkle lights above, but the mood at the market was so lively and positive today. Patrons chatted happily with vendors, and people lingered (and had a reason to do so – the concession and dining area, in lieu of outdoor street food, is a great one).
Andres of Greens Eggs and Ham
It felt more like the City Market than ever before – I had the time and space to chat with producers, and ran into a few familiar faces. The change in time – from 2-7pm to 5-8pm, seemed to bolster the small crowd.
Sew Cozy Mittens, made from recycled sweaters (Ansa was at Deep Freeze too)
Ma-Be Farms, Shooting Star Ranch and The Chocolate Doctors were there, though the big draw for everyone seemed to be Linda Kearney’s breads.
The Queen of…Bread?
Linda (aka The Queen of Tarts) is more widely known for her desserts, but since she and her husband will also be offering an extensive selection of bread at their new bistro-cafe on 104 Street, she thought it would be wise to start testing loaves early.
She had a half dozen varieties today, beautifully displayed in baskets. They use organic, locally grown and milled flour, and all of their breads use levain instead of yeast.
I picked up a baton, fougasse and a loaf of multigrain bread – the first two were consumed even before the accompanying soup made it to the table – Mack liked the baton best, while the fougasse was my favourite (it had a solid crust that gave way to a nice, soft interior).
Linda will be selling her breads every Thursday at least until her shop opens – after that, she will determine if she can manage to do both.
Kerrie is still working on attracting other vendors – keep up-to-date by joining the mailing list. Holly Gale of Smoky Valley Goat Cheese is expecting to come once a month, and in between, Greens, Eggs and Ham may be able to carry their products.
So – if you need any more incentive to check out the market, how about this: pick up some goat cheese, a baton, and hop on the train – it made me feel like I was in Paris more than I’d care to admit.
Hope to see you there!
Alberta Avenue Farmers’ Market
118 Avenue & 93 Street
Open Thursdays, 5-8 p.m.