No hibernation for Edmonton and area farmers’ markets

The leaves have changed on 104 St downtown. Time for City Market to move indoors! Photo: Elyse Williams
The leaves have changed on 104 St downtown. Time for City Market to move indoors! Photo: Elyse Williams

When dreaming up a perfect, sunny Saturday in Edmonton, the first thing that comes to mind is a morning stroll through City Market Downtown. I imagine sandals on my feet, a bag of market goodies on my shoulder, a Credo latte in my hand and a bouncing puppy by my side. But as the seasons change, and the coats come out, my dream of warm morning strolls is becoming just that. Lucky for me, many of Edmonton’s local food producers fail to accept that cold weather means we need give up on our favourite weekend tradition. 

Check out this list of indoor farmers’ markets to visit this winter:

  1. Edmonton Seniors Centre Farmers Market, Wednesdays 10 a.m.–2 p.m., in the General Hospital (11111 Jasper Ave.)
  2. Castle Downs Farmers’ Market, Wednesdays 4–8 p.m. at the Castle Downs Recreation Centre
  3. Highlands Farmers’ Market, Thursdays 4–8 p.m. at St. Mary’s Anglican Church
  4. Westmount Farmers Market, Thursdays 10 a.m.–4 p.m. at St Andrews Centre
  5. Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market, Saturdays 8 a.m.–3 p.m. in Old Strathcona
  6. City Market Downtown, Saturdays 9 a.m.–3 p.m. at City Hall
  7. Southeast (Capilano) Farmers Market, Saturdays 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. at Capilano Mall
  8. French Quarter Grand Market, Sundays noon to 4 p.m. at La Cite Francophone

Or, if you’re looking for a reason to get out for the day, try checking out some of these markets found outside our city limits:

  1. Sherwood Park Farmers Market, Wednesdays 5–8 p.m. at the Strathcona County Community Centre
  2. Salisbury Farmers’ Market, Thursdays 4–7:30 p.m. at the Salisbury Greenhouse
  3. Morinville Farmers’ Market, Fridays 4–7 p.m. at the Ray McDonald Sport Arena (until Dec. 18)
  4. Westlock Farmers’ Market, Fridays 11 a.m.–3 p.m. at the Bargain Shop Mall (until Dec. 18)
  5. Spruce Grove Farmers’ Market, Saturdays 9:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. at the Grain Elevator Site (until Dec. 19)
  6. Stony Plain Farmers’ Market, Saturdays 9:30–1 p.m. at the Stony Plain Community Centre (until Dec. 19)

Note: If you’re going to be travelling to visit a market, make sure to double-check that it’s running. A good resource for market listings and information is the Government of Alberta Approved Farmers Market map and the Alberta Farmers Market Association website.

With an expiration date of "never", honey is an easy find at farmers' markets year-round. Photo: Elyse Williams
With an expiration date of “never”, honey is an easy find at farmers’ markets year-round. Photo: Elyse Williams

Now, you may be wondering “what can possibly be available at a farmers’ market in the middle of an Edmonton winter?” Fair question. Thankfully, Alberta Agriculture created the Seasonal Fresh Food Guide to help you know what to look for.

Overall, you may notice a dip in the quantity and variety of available fruit and vegetables. However, Edmontonians can still keep a good portion of their diet fresh and local. Food like meat, dairy, eggs and grains are available year-round. Plus, a farmers’ market is a great place to pick up unique preserves, honey, dips and baking, no matter the season. They’re also a fun place to bring family and friends who are visiting for the holidays, and an easy place to find hand-crafted, thoughtful gifts.

So, let’s trade in our sandals for boots and lattes for mitten-hugged hot chocolates, embrace the winter and keep our Saturday morning market tradition alive year-round!