With today being the last day of the season for 124 st Grand Market, we thought we would take you on a walk-around through one of the slickest farmers markets in the city.
If you want to see it for yourself, today is your last chance until next year.
My partner and I decided to swing by the 124th Street Grand Market this past week. It’s been on our list for some time, so we decided to check it out before it closes down for the season. (As of when this is online, that’ll be today).
We were pretty hungry when we arrived so our first stop was the row of food trucks at the entrance of the market. In attendance tonight were Nomad, Little Village and Drift. My partner opted for Nomad’s famous crack and cheese. As expected, the macaroni dish was addictive. It was creamy and had a sharpness to it that was refreshing for mac and cheese, which has a tendency to be dull. The crack was topped off with pork cracklings adding a welcome change in texture.
I had a chance to ask the people at the Nomad truck what they enjoyed about participating at the market. She shared that the crowd appreciates locally sourced products, which works in her favour as most items served at Nomad incorporate local products, inclusive of crack and cheese which uses locally sourced gouda. I could certainly taste the difference. Although the crack and cheese was quite lovely, the kefteddy burger at the Little Village truck caught my eye. The patty was made of ground beef, ground pork, and bacon. It was served on a fresh bun topped off with a cilantro slaw and feta cheese. It was phenomenal – the patty was perfectly cooked and the bacon was a wonderful addition to a moist and flavourful burger. I was impressed that this little masterpiece came out of a food truck. The owner of Little Village shared that he enjoyed the eclectic nature of the market. Next stop was Dauphine Bakery for some tasty bread. The owner shared that he arrived later because his last batch came out at 4 pm. Talk about fresh!
Although it may be smaller, the market still retains diversity in its vendors and products. I was able to touch base with the jewelry designer from Chaos and the Dark, who shared that the smallness of the market was what appealed to her. She commented on the community feel to the market, which may sometimes get lost in larger markets. It certainly felt like a community. I watched vendors visit each other, and community members laugh and socialize together. Apparently there is a community within the vendors themselves, which often involved the trading of their own various goods and products.
A short mozy away from Chaos and the Dark was Heritage Doughnuts. The table caught my eye right away when I saw a doughnut topped with bacon. It was like love at first sight. I had a chance to speak with the founder of Heritages Doughnuts.
Heritage Doughnuts is the brainchild of two young Edmontonians Matthew Garrett and Andrea Yacyshyn. The idea was inspired by the cupcake revolution. While Matthew was in university he witnessed the cupcake boom and had the desire to become involved, but due to the workload of school he was not able to. Fast forward to now and Matthew is done school. He believes that doughnuts are going to be the next big thing. The idea came to fruition this past May when he teamed up with Andrea, who had a penchant for baking. Take two creative and driven people and you get a home made, baked doughnut selection that includes the likes of lime margarita, maple bacon and salted chocolate. Heritage Doughnuts also concocts gluten free and vegan options. They had me sold and I asked where their storefront was – Matthew pointed to his tent and said, “Right here!” Thus another beautiful aspect of the 124th Street Grand Market; it has become the entry point for local artists and entrepreneurs to bring their products to the people.
On my way out of the market I had the chance to speak with Krista Franke, founder of the market. Krista was an enthusiastic and charismatic person; it was apparent that the energy she brought found its way into the market. Krista shared that she came up with the idea for the market in February…2012. Within a few months she has created a wonderful community market; Krista has demonstrated that a good idea can turn into a thriving community initiative. She pitched the idea to the 124 st business association and they instantly jumped on board to support her endeavor. The festival started with ten vendors she knew personally and now fits about thirty. She said that there is currently a waitlist of vendors looking for a way into 124. When asked how she picks the vendors, Krista stated that she “curate(s) the market to what 124 street was about,” elaborating that 124 street is a “trendy, classy” area with character. She emphasized that it was up and coming and didn’t come with the over-commercialization of Whyte Ave. She indicated that 124th st isn’t as contrived as Whyte Ave, and this was apparent to me in the ambiance that was present. The 124th Street Grand Market is a laid back way to spend a Thursday evening. It avoids the bustle of other street markets and provides an opportunity for vendors and citizens alike to socialize and connect.
124 st Grand Market Wraps up today, so check it out before the seasons change, though if you miss it, I’m sure it won’t be your last chance. I have a strong suspicion it will establish itself as a fixture in the Edmonton scene.
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Transplanted in Edmonton from Toronto, Robin Mazumder is a therapist in children’s mental health. During non working hours he likes to explore what Edmonton has to offer in terms of food, music and good times. Find him on twitter