castle downs farmers market...a bust?

We attended the Castle Downs Farmers Market last night. I found it extremely interesting to see the differences in markets, both in the mix of vendors and the clientele. In fairness to the market, it was only their third week running and there is still no internet presence that would pop up on any search but it was not a good night for more than a few vendors. Situated in the Moose Lodge on 146th Ave. and Griesbach Road, it is a wonderful location for a farmers market. A lovely feel to the old building.

Even though there was about the same amount of customers come through the door last night as attend Alberta Avenue Market I could tell right away that I was in trouble. Almost nobody who came to the market was carrying their own grocery bags. Very quickly in my rookie season of farmers marketing, I was able to determine who my customers were by those tell-tale recycled nylon grocery bags. People sauntering in with their hands in their pockets are unlikely to purchase many groceries. 

From a customer's standpoint though, the Castle Downs Farmers Market is a boon! There was more than one of almost everything. A few bakers, a couple of vendors with extensive selections of jams and preserves, vegetables and produce, hemp, flour, meats, eggs. Pretty much everything you'd need for a weeks worth of groceries! Still, very few people who attended the market were there to purchase groceries. If you are a farmers market supporter, you will definitely want to check out the Castle Downs market. With such a diverse selection of premium food stuffs and very little competition from other customers, there was no fear of things running out!

It was a different customer base last night also. I was definitely out of my comfort zone with too many people who listen to 630 CHED too often. I missed my CBC Radio or CKUA friends! I actually had a couple walk past and as hubby was pulling her towards my table, she said "oh no, that stuff is organic". I got a little bit of a dirty look as they quickly detoured away. Those of you who live in Edmonton will understand my references to the radio stations. Let's just say that, as a generalization, there are people who are afraid to stray from the norm of the chemical age and those who embrace change and see the benefits of zero chemical inputs and healthful local food. 

Of course I understand that not everybody buys flour each week. I had a few lovely conversations with folks who just didn't need flax or flour yet. Will they purchase next week at this market?

I sure don't want to seem ungrateful for the couple of customers who did purchase our products. There were glimmers of hope from folks who "get it" and i will stick with this market for at least a couple more weeks. There is plenty of potential there. For local foodies, you do not want to miss all the selections offered in this compact market! 

Tonight though is the Alberta Avenue Farmers Market where customers purchase food...and I certainly appreciate seeing all those re-cycled shopping bags! We thank everyone who chooses to support our little farm. See you at the market tonight!