Downtown market heralded

The executive director of Red Deer’s Downtown Business Association is hailing this year’s Downtown Market a success, and is optimistic it will return in 2011.

The executive director of Red Deer’s Downtown Business Association is hailing this year’s Downtown Market a success, and is optimistic it will return in 2011.

Laura Turner said the market, which ran Wednesdays from 4 to 7 p.m., generated positive feedback from vendors and customers.

“We didn’t really know what to expect,” she said, describing it as a pilot project. “We had some objectives and we had some hopeful expectations, and we really exceeded all of that.”

Elna Edgar, who operates Edgar Farms with her husband Doug and is a member of the Innisfail Growers Co-op, was happy with her experience.

“Fantastic little market,” she said. “The customers love it because it’s all make-it, bake-it, grow-it — it’s a true farmers’ market.”

Turner said this was her association’s objective.

“What we tried to do was offer as much variety of local food products and keep things small and intimate and make sure our vendors were happy.”

Customers were able to stop by and make their purchases in just a few minutes, she said.

Edgar agreed the formula is a good one.

“This is meant for the people who have been working all day, and they stop in after work,” she said, adding that she was pleased with the mix of goods available.

“It’s all really good quality locally grown, locally made stuff.”

Edgar thinks the Downtown Market, which was held at the former site of the Arlington Inn at the corner of 51st Avenue and 49th Street, was a nice complement to the Saturday morning public market at the Red Deer Arena. It allowed people to replenish their supply of perishables twice a week.

After the final Downtown Market on Oct. 6, some vendors even lobbied for it to continue during the winter, said Turner.

“We tried as best we could to find an indoor location on relatively short notice,” she said, adding that these efforts were unsuccessful.

Turner anticipates that the Downtown Market will resume next spring, but said the decision rests with the Downtown Business Association’s new board of directors, who assume duties in the new year. A location will also have to be negotiated, she added, and additional feedback sought from the vendors.

“There are a number of unknowns.”

If it does return for a second season, the Downtown Market can count on Edgar Farms.

“We’ll definitely be there,” said Edgar.

In the meantime, Innisfail Growers will be selling its members’ products in Red Deer on Dec. 11, Jan. 15, Feb. 12 and March 12. These sales will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at the Eastview Estates Community Hall at 120 Ellenwood Dr.

Customers can expect storage crops like carrots, potatoes, parsnips, cabbages and beets, said Edgar, as well as preserves like asparagus and carrot pickles, relish, jams and salad dressings

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