The Red Deer Market is back.
The 49th season of the farmers market, which runs every Saturday in the Servus Arena parking lot, began last weekend.
After spending the past three years in front of the Memorial Centre, market manager Dennis Moffat said he’s happy to return to the downtown arena location.
“It’s nice to be home and nice to be back in Parkvale,” said Moffat.
The market was moved to a different location while Servus Arena and its parking lot were being rebuilt.
Moffat said this area provides a wider space and is easier to walk to for many.
“We wanted to keep much of it the same, because that’s the secret to its success. But it’s a cleaner, neater operation, which is the biggest change,” he said.
Different crops become available throughout the summer at the market, Moffat added.
“In the fruit business, there are cherries, then there are apricots, then there are apples at the end of the season – there are peaches and pears in the middle. You can tell how the season progresses by what’s for sale.
“Generally, the vegetables are pretty well all available and it’s nice to have some greenhouses here too that supply a constant sources of fresh vegetables.”
There were only 12 booths at the very first outdoor market – now, there are about 200. Moffat said he’s always surprised by how popular the weekly market is.
“It scares the hell out of me,” he said with a laugh.
“We’ve seen amazing growth and it’s really a fixture in the social life of people from Red Deer. People like to do this on Saturday mornings – it’s kind of a nostalgic trip back to the past.”
Moffat will retire from the market after the 50th season and his children will take over.
“There’s going to be a big celebration next year.”
The market runs Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. until Thanksgiving weekend.