It's time to say goodbye.
This week marks the last week of operation for the Calgary Farmers' Market at the Currie Barracks. In February they are scheduled to open in their new location. In the meantime, you can definitely visit the Kingsland Market.
We moved to Calgary seven and a half years ago. As we struggled with the adjustment to a new city while obligations kept us going back to Edmonton the Calgary Farmers' Market opened. We'd been so used to buying all our groceries at the Old Strathcona Market at home. We had our Saturday routine of quiet morning, the market, brunch, a dog walk, and some lazy time. It was awesome.
In Calgary, however, we really struggled to establish any sort of weekend routine aside from ordering pizza on Friday, drinking too much beer, and watching a hell of a lot of home improvement TV. We tried the Crossroads Market. It's good, but it never felt like the right fit for us. It was winter, so the outside market at Hillhurst Sunnyside wasn't an option (but traffic makes it difficult as it is).
Then the Calgary Farmers' Market opened. I'm pretty sure we went there on one of the first weekends. It was close, we met some great folks, and the food was great. We've been going pretty much every weekend since.
At first we were in and out, food in hand, rather quickly. Say hello to our favourite vendors, buy some groceries, and back home for more home improvement TV. Then we had kids. One of my first outings after a C-section was to the market. Even with The Monster as a baby we went and now lingered. Once the bouncy castle was a non-lethal option for her we stayed, played, ate, and then shopped. Coffee and tea in hand, of course.
In time, we've not only got to know the producers we buy from and their staff, but the food vendors who sell us our lunch, the balloon man, market staff, and an infinite number of other market goers. Vendors and staff ask about my knees and exclaim over the growth of the girls. When Smilosaurus/Death Wish decides to wander off people know who she is and stop her. This place is our Sunday morning home.
Just today we sat with our odd combination of waffles, pakoras, blintz, chai, and coffee, chatting with our table mates. (I'm not sure we've ever sat by ourselves for lunch.) The couple we sat with looked like they could have been models for Mr. and Mrs. Claus. We spent 45 minutes eating and chatting about organic farming and the history of large agriculture, in between cutting waffles and cuddles. Last week we chatted with two other folks about gifted and geeky kids. It didn't matter who or what, we've always had a friendly time there.
There are so many market options in the city now, fantastic options. Each one will have their benefits and downsides. Like us, those factors will change for you depending on your life circumstances. If it wasn't for our CSA membership we never would have ventured to Hillhurst-Sunnyside, for example, because the traffic is brutal from our end of town. But it is a great market. We haven't been to them all and I'm certainly willing to check them out. You should too.
I'll admit, I'm a bit worried that the new location will be too slick, too mall like. I'm more than willing to give it a good Sunday morning chance. Many of our favourite vendors will be there and I don't want to lose their food or our relationship. The girls are going to be without a bouncy castle for months, I hope they survive!
(As for dinner tonight, do wings and a beer count? Hubby and I had hot parent date of Christmas shopping with the girls after our trip to the market. We celebrated starting and finishing in a matter of hours with a trip to the bar.)