Saturday, May 21st, 2011 at 10:51 pm

City Market Opening Day 2011

I suppose the title of this post is not quite accurate, given the City Market has been running indoors at City Hall since mid-March, but I know many people (myself included) feel the market just isn’t quite the same unless it’s out on the street.

City Market Opening Day 2011

Back with a vengeance

Mack and I made were on hand for the opening celebrations at 9am (and really had no excuses given the market is right out our front door!). Edmonton Eskimo Aaron Fiacconi was on hand as the bell ringer to kick things off.

City Market Opening Day 2011

Aaron Fiacconi signals the opening of the market

Things were a bit overcast, but save for a sprinkle or two, the skies held up. I’m sure that was part of the reason why the crowds were massive today – both Mack and I remarked that neither of us had seen the aisles quite so full before. It’ll be interesting to see what the final attendance estimate will be, given last year’s equally jubilant start.

City Market Opening Day 2011

Packed street

City Market Opening Day 2011

So many people!

We did find there was a lack music early on at the market, though. One of our favourites, Capital Sax, came out to play around 11 – hopefully, they’re out a little earlier next week.

City Market Opening Day 2011

Capital Sax

City Market Opening Day 2011

There was also an impromptu dance performance!

There did seem to be an inordinate number of dogs today, with one tweeter remarking, “Unsure if downtown #yeg market is actually farmers mrkt or dog show.” Though it did mean watching where you walked to some extent, I’m a sucker for puppies, especially when they’re as cute as Dave and Kyla’s dog!

City Market Opening Day 2011

Hi Max!

The organizers changed up layout, meaning we had to do some hunting for our usual vendors. We had to think some of the adjustments had to do with the fact that the construction on the north end of 104 Street, just before 103 Avenue, still hasn’t been resolved. Given the fenced-off area has been pretty dormant in recent weeks, it’s puzzling why the City wouldn’t have ensured the project’s completion before this date. It impacted at least one vendor, who was positioned away from the foot traffic, adjacent to the fence – hopefully the vendor will be relocated next week.

City Market Opening Day 2011

Construction at the City Market

Other than that, we had a great time perusing the stalls, visiting with vendors, running into friends, and of course, picking up groceries for the week!

City Market Opening Day 2011

The always smiling Patty Milligan (aka Lola Canola) – she’ll only be at the Market for the next few weeks, so load up on honey now!

City Market Opening Day 2011

Alan of Irvings Farm Fresh is always a good sport about pictures

City Market Opening Day 2011

We also had to start our day off with waffles from Eva Sweet

City Market Opening Day 2011

Marianne shows off her fabulous shopping basket that attaches to the back of her bike!

Cameron Hancock and Christy Menzies of Dreamin’ Green Farm are new City Market vendors. Located near Pigeon Lake, they describe themselves as the “home of the happy chicken”, and provide chemical-free pasture for their birds to roam around in. Their pens are moved on a regular basis, and at night, they are shut into a mobile pen for protection from predators. Look for them the next time you’re at the market!

City Market Opening Day 2011

Christy and Cameron of Dreamin’ Green Farm

Transcend Coffee was also out on the street selling their beans, and handing out free samples of coffee. Although their downtown cafe is literally just around the corner, it’s handy to be able to pick up beans along the way!

City Market Opening Day 2011

Transcend Coffee

Although cellared root vegetables made up much of the produce offerings today, I was still surprised at the amount of other vegetables available today, so early in the season.

City Market Opening Day 2011

Tomatoes from Gull Valley Greenhouses

City Market Opening Day 2011

Edgar Farms asparagus (they had about 30 cases today, about half of what they would normally have)

City Market Opening Day 2011

Rhubarb and pea tendrils from Sundog Organics

City Market Opening Day 2011

Gerda of Green Valley Farm helps me pick out some onions

Bedding plants were also out in full force; though we didn’t pick up any decorative flowers for our balcony, we did buy one of those salad bowl starters from Kuhlmann’s that we had been eying up last week (I guess we should have jumped on it last week though; 7 days later resulted in a $5 increase in the price).

City Market Opening Day 2011

Beautiful display at Riverbend Gardens

City Market Opening Day 2011

A sea of hydrangeas from South Cooking Lake Greenhouses

City Market Opening Day 2011

Tomato plants galore from Sundog Organics

It was a great first day at the market – I’m looking forward to next week already. See you there!

  • Pilgrim 301

    Excellent review — I wanted to go this morning and now I see what I missed by staying home! I’ll go next week for sure. 🙂 Thanks!

  • Swoon! This time last year we could walk from our apartment to this market- I MISS it! Our small city here in BC has nothin’ on this (except maybe the fiddleheads I got this morning!)

  • Sharon, it was lovely bumping into you and Mack at the Market! I think I’m going to try sneaking over before work this season…
    I have to say, that photo of you in front of a line-less Eva Sweet has me super jealous! Also, I’m sad I missed the dancers… But you can’t catch it all, right?
    After seeing your bacon, I tried to find the stall, but to no avail. Next weekend I’ll be better prepared.
    There were a giant number of dogs at the market, but for the most part, they caused me no trouble. I think that pet owners just need to remember to step aside if they start to chat….because they’re taking up a bunch of space in the already crowded walkways.

  • It was a great day. Surprised I missed you, as I think we were down at the same time.

    And on the dogs, I think I’ve never seen more dogs at the market than yesterday. It was packed!

  • Cathy

    The more dogs the better!!!

  • Great seeing you two yesterday! I also can’t believe how many dogs were there. People and dog watching from Credo was excellent 🙂

  • Pilgrim 301 – thanks for reading! The market will just keep getting better with every successive week, but yeah, it’s definitely worth checking out!

    Kristin – agreed, there’s nothing like walking out of your place only to be greeted with the market festivities. Is there lots of foraging activities near your new home, then?

    Brittney – it was great running into you too! I still have no idea what the dancers were a part of…it could have just been a photo shoot for all we knew. Irvings (yesterday, anyway), was close to the Riverbend Gardens stall at the north end of the market, near Eva Sweet. Hope you can find them next week!

    Chris – yeah, sorry to have missed you guys too. It was a busy place though, so not too surprising!

    Cathy – I love me some dogs (especially because we can’t have one at the moment)…just ask Mack, who had to restrain me from making a beeline towards the puppies walking by!

    Marianne – same to you and Charles! I can only imagine how good the people watching was – no other market has quite the same opportunity for people watching!

  • Wonderful day at the market. Great to see the two of you. Love the balcony shot. Brittney, you did not miss much by missing the dancers – except a good laugh or two! I missed Irvine’s and actually was looking for it. Where were they? I did go back and forth twice! Headed over to OSFM afterwards and was shocked at how packed it was over there – hot, steamy, uncomfortable… people there needed to head downtown! (I had to pick up an order plus there are a couple of my favourites there that are not downtown). GE&H need more help. I would have loved to buy something from them, but didn’t have the time to wait. I stopped by twice and did wait both times, but finally left as my purchase could wait. Really missed Gwen at Inspired Market Gardens as she is the heirloom tomato queen! Also was really glad to find Danny and Shannon from Green Acres (did I get that right?) are able to sell their beef at the market this year! YEAH!
    🙂
    Valerie

  • Jade

    I unfortunatly missed the opening weekend so I am greatly looking forward to next weekend! Guess I will have to bring the puppy out to blend in with the rest. Thanks for a great review of opening day!

  • Valerie – Irvings was down towards Riverbend, on the west side. I’m sure you’ll track them down next week! I missed Inspired too…hopefully they’ll be back up this Saturday! And yes, you got that right – Nature’s Green Acres. Am surprised to hear that OSFM was still packed though…I’m with you that it is too congested, especially with an open air market as an option, just across the river.

    Jade – thanks for reading! Yes, your puppy would be a welcome addition :).

  • Inspired was there last week – on west side, north of 102 avenue. Smaller booth this year run by Michael Hunter, as Inspired has taken on growing heritage tomatoes and peppers, along with herbs, in a partnership with Alberta Hospital’s greenhouses. Can’t wait to go and visit them up there and see the operation!

    Also just mention that Christy and Cameron of Dreamin’ Green Farm are neighbours of my business partner, just north of Battle Lake. A great young couple doing great things on their farm! They hope to open a small, local chicken abbatoir soon. We had their fresh chicken this past weekend and it was to die for!

  • Angel

    Valerie – My husband and I wound up walking away from GE&H as well. As much as I love their products, waiting was just out of the question. But it did force us to try new vendors…so I guess that was the upside!

  • Chris – we saw Michael, but not the booth. Ah well, there’s always this Saturday! I heard about their Alberta Hospital partnership – exciting stuff. I had no idea that Christy and Cameron were hoping to open an abbatoir though – that’s fantastic news. We’ll have to try their chickens soon too.

    Angel – we didn’t stop by the GE&H booth for the same reason…I know it’s going to be difficult for them with Mary Ellen manning the booth in Calgary. Hopefully they will be able to find extra help in the next few weeks.