Top Edmonton Farmers’ Markets

by Gene Kosowan

Whether the incentive is to get the freshest produce possible or support the local economy, farmers’ markets in Edmonton are more popular than ever. What used to be a couple of Nordic bazaars in high-profile areas of the city has since multiplied in recent years to roughly a dozen, with several of them catering to neighbourhood-level clientele. Here’s a rundown of Edmonton’s most popular spots. [Image credit: iStock.com/deebrowning]

Top Edmonton Farmers’ Markets

Year-Round Markets

City Market Downtown
The granddaddy of them all, the downtown market has been around since 1903, the year before Edmonton was incorporated as a city.  With the original space now occupied by the Stanley A. Milner Library, the market these days attracts thousands of visitors to more than 200 vendors every Saturday afternoon on 104 Street, just north of Jasper Avenue. During the winter, it takes up space inside City Hall.

French Quarter Grand Market
Operating every Sunday, 12 months of the year at La Cite Francophone, the French Quarter is one of the smaller markets in the city. It offers very little in terms of produce, but focuses more on finished products from soap and coffee to snacks galore.

Miller Crossing Farmers’ Market
Operating at a Royal Canadian Legion in Edmonton’s northeast, with a strong adherence to a “buy local” philosophy, the Miller Crossing market operates every Tuesday and Sunday. More than 60 vendors offer a wide assortment of produce, while more specialized sellers show off diverse items ranging from cheese steaks and honey cakes to woodworks, jerky, jewellery and toys.

Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market
Originating in 1983 in an Old Strathcona parking lot before moving to the north end of the Bus Barns three years later, this Saturday spot is one of the trendiest farmers’ markets in the city, where hipsters flock for anything organic. Besides the produce, the focus here is on hand-made crafts and gluten-free meats. Adding to the scenery are folkie buskers, as well as a gaggle of anti-war protesters outside the main entrance.

Seasonal (May-October)

Callingwood Farmers’ Market
For six months of the year, running every Sunday and Wednesday, a west Edmonton strip mall sanctions off a good portion of the main parking lot to allow for merchants to sell their wares. Eighty per cent of vendors at the Callingwood market have to adhere to strict rules of being local and offering hand-made products and produce. There’s also a special kids’ area, so older folks can browse uninterrupted.

Century Park Market
Open Sunday in a large development area that’s on the southern tip of the LRT line, this market facilitates produce and crafts merchants every Sunday. Vendors vary, but rest assured that the variety of goodies available includes everything from hot food, farm-fresh meat and honey to clothing, health products and jewellery.

Green and Gold Community Garden
Open Saturdays and Tuesdays and located on the southern tip of the University of Alberta Farm, Green and Gold sells exclusively organic and pesticide-free produce. The volunteer-run organization sells its fresh goods at fair market prices with proceeds going towards the Tubahumurize Association in Rwanda, an organization that provides support for disadvantaged women in that country.

Millwoods Farmers’ Market
Since 1985, the venerable southeast Edmonton merchant Mecca has been ahead of the pack when it comes to promoting fresh and local goods. With the market open on Thursdays, produce and meat are requisite fare here, but also keep an eye out for vendors selling honey, jewellery, clothing and baked goods.

Night Market
Running Fridays evening in downtown’s Beaver Hill House Park, this spot doesn’t consider itself to be a farmers’ market, per se. Instead, it allows vendors who don’t normally get tables at other markets to show their stuff. Roughly 30 vendors showcase their products weekly from toys and henna to clothing and shaving kits.

124 Street Grand Market
Running every Thursday in the Westmount area, food trucks tend to compete for space with the canopied vendors at the 124 Street Grand Market. And, while smaller in size, there’s still a great deal of variety from jewellery and clothing to preserves and produce.

Southwest Edmonton Farmers’ Market
Wednesday sees the Terwillegar neighbourhood all abuzz over what’s available at this market by the Leger LRT station. Besides your garden variety garden stuff, you can also find fudge, Jamaican cuisine and even cloth diapers on sale here.

South Common Market
The folks who run this deep-south bazaar call themselves a market with heart. To visitors, it might also be called an alternative to the big box stores surrounding it. Running Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday, you’ll find loads of fruits and veggies, as well as crafts galore. The market also stresses its support of various charities ranging from the Hope Mission to the Edmonton Food Bank.

With the Alberta government estimating the agricultural community to generate $77.4 billion annually and with farmers’ markets now a routine activity among Edmonton families, it’s all win-win. It makes for more food options for consumers, as well as another revenue stream for farmers. The bonus? At least six months of the year, you can do it all outside with fresh air and scenery to boot!

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