Old Strathcona Farmers' Market: A Saturday Well Spent
Crowds of Edmontonians, who know how to enrich their weekends, flock to the Old Strathcona Farmers' Market , which is open from 8 - 3 pm every Saturday for the duration of the year. The enormous market has been going strong since 1983. Shoppers find above-standard groceries and unique gifts. A vast array of vendors visit the market. Years ago, organizers established the following saying: "We Make it! We Bake it! We Grow it! We Sell it!" The market, though, doesn't only have wares to offer. High spirits, like fresh fruit and vegetables, can be harvested when one heads down to Old Strathcona on a Saturday. One might bump into an old friend or enjoy a lively conversation. An hour spent at the market is never the same as an hour spent there on a preceding weekend. It's a good idea to return to the market, since the vendors rotate and you won't want to miss your chances. A market map on the website clarifies which vendors will be present; there are seasonal vendors as well. At any given time, there should be about 130 vendors at the market. If you're in Edmonton and you'd like to see if it's for you, which is very likely, check out videos and a photo gallery at www.osfm.ca.
One might buy ingredients in order to make one's own meal or choose to go with gourmet prepared food. Farmed food, of course, is a huge focus. Organic and gluten free options are available; one can browse over these choices on the website. Most products are produced in Alberta, but there is BC fruit for sale. An impressive selection of desserts and sweets complement the wide selection of savoury baked goods. There is an array of meat and dairy operations associated with the market. Much is taken into consideration by vendors, for example, the notion of raising animals without hormones in free-range spacious environments. Thundering Ground Bison sells not only bison meat but also bison hides. The market offers ethnic foods, including mouth-watering natural dumplings. There are gourmet recipes on the website for shoppers to try as soon as they get home. What if one feels like a coffee and a bite to eat while at the market? Toast Kitchen uses market and local ingredients and will gladly help visitors take the edge off their hunger.
In addition to food purchases, there are many ways one can indulge oneself and gift others. There is sure to be a selection of soaps and bodycare products. An artist at Historical Bead Jewellery sells jewellery made from vintage glass beads and historical trade beads. Beautiful ceramic necklaces catch the eye, as do gemstones and crystals. One might bring along a photograph of a loved one and receive a pencil drawing of her. One might also purchase a photograph taken in a distant country, or here in Alberta. Children might enjoy beautiful homemade dolls. There may be a chance to restore a book that has fallen apart. Hand carved wooden household items are sure to please. Clothing wise, the market has hosted vendors who sell a wide range of attire and accessories. One might look for a cozy knitted piece or a leather handbag. Associated vendors sell mohair collectibles, reversible bags, you name it. The vendors considered here comprise a small portion of what might be available on any Saturday.
The market is ideal for those who live intentionally. After a humdrum week, one does not look forward to humdrum shopping errands. Community spirit in Old Strathcona has always been a serious business. It is explained on the market's website that the Old Strathcona Foundation, which works to preserve community spirit, was formed when citizens gathered to prevent a freeway from taking over the area, which has a "unique and lively community". An hour at the market can complement a day trip to a close-by park or to Edmonton's ravine territory, a vital stop if one craves not only greenery and serenity but also community. 82nd Avenue is close by, too, for those who really want to shop until they drop. The market might be a place to meet with friends or grab a treat on the way to a show. If you want to plan a longer trip and if you want to bring the kids, keep in mind that in the past, the farmers' market has celebrated their anniversary with live music and children's activities. It's possible that an event will be scheduled.
Check the website to see when events will be held. Drop by any Saturday to discover one of Edmonton's best weekend pick-me-ups.