Stepping out of our vehicle early Saturday morning my family and I first noticed the smell of sausages cooking as smoke billowed in the air. Had we not already eaten earlier, the delicious aroma alone would have had our stomach hungrily rumbling. Instead, we started visiting vendors selling their wares and we took our time enjoying the wonderful treasures we saw at each booth. We were careful not to touch unless we were buying an item but we were still able to ‘window’ shop and look at some wonderful displays.
One of the children’s favourite vendors was selling “real” food. And by “real” I mean vegetables picked fresh from the garden, ready for us to buy. We were able to purchase fresh carrots (our rabbit enjoyed the carrot tops immensely, gorging herself before falling into a carrot top coma for a few hours… we couldn’t even tempt her into moving with fresh banana chips!), cylinder beets, green tomatoes, and a few cucumbers to slice and enjoy when watching a movie later that evening.
We stopped at the honey hut but my six year old pointed out that we didn’t need honey as “we still have some of Grandpa’s honey.” That is true, we do. My dad passed away over a decade and a half ago but his honey is his legacy. Honey is the only food that never spoils, as long as it remains in its natural state. You can melt it however, as long as it’s pure, it won’t spoil. So we smiled to the vendor and moved on, waving as we left to explore further. There were a lot of people shopping and social distancing was in place, as were sanitizing stations. Although several people wore a mask, it was difficult to wear one while eating!
There are several food vendors selling anything from freshly cooked cuisine to baked goods. We stopped at several tables to select baking items such as fresh bread, tarts, cookies, pies, pizza, beef, bison, home preserves and canning, as well as fruit from British Columbia. My son bought a wooden truck that he will paint in art class. And my daughter tried her first spudnut doughnut, then asked if we can make them at home. I will find a recipe and give it a try! They actually reminded me a lot of a treat we used to make when we lived at Candle Lake. With eight of us in our family, Mom made bread often. When Dad was home on the weekend, he’d request “Dough-gods”… deep fried bread dough that is cooled slightly on paper towels then dipped in cinnamon sugar or icing sugar. The best was when we’d pull out a jar of Mom’s homemade Chokecherry jam and dip the dough-gods into the jam. These were such a treat and I don’t think I’ve had them since we left the lake. I think I’m beginning to feel inspired!
That’s actually how I felt as I left the Farmer’s Market. Inspired. It was like someone had breathed fresh air into my psyche and I just wanted to try to make a few things similar to what I’d seen on display. And you know what else was really special about the market? All the people who were smiling at one another, laughing in small cluster groups as they ate food or drank a hot beverage they’d brought with them. It felt good to be around people and not be so concerned about catching something because we all kept our distance and we were outdoors.
Some vendors sported customers lined up five or six people deep, waiting to purchase an item. Others had a constant flow of people coming and going. I didn’t really observe anyone not doing business. And whether you purchased from a vendor or not, my family and I all received a free smile from everyone we saw. What can I say? I have cute children and people love smiling at them so they will smile back!
Our day ended with an unexpected find… a new fish and chip/Asian food place on Branion Drive across from 7/11 by Christina’s Art School. I will write about it soon but go and check it out if you like a delicious meal for about ten dollars. I thought Dairy Queen had the best fries in the city but now I think they’re number two … which isn’t a hard fall, but it was fast!
As for the Farmer’s Market, I’m sure it will move indoors soon, as the weather gets nippier. In the meantime, you can find the Market on Central Avenue at City Hall from the hours of 8am to 1pm on Wednesday and in the City Hall parking lot Saturday, at the same time. There is so much to see, buy and look at you won’t be disappointed and I’m fairly certain you’ll meet at least one person you haven’t seen in a while so you can social distance and catch up on each other’s lives. Most importantly, enjoy yourself at the Farmer’s Market!
Take care and have a great week, everyone!