Wow. It’s pretty exciting that the City Market Downtown on 104th Street was chosen as the best farmers’ market of 2013 by an international travel writer, Andrew Evans, from National Geographic magazine.
The two things Andrew said really grabbed my attention. First it was his comment about how the market is “real” and “authentic”, and second, how it is a great example of the connection between rural and urban. It is a true that farmers’ markets connect agriculture and city. When I was working the Kitchen by Brad booth the day Andrew came through the market, I was taken aback and flattered by his comments about the market and the city as a whole. On that bright, sunny Edmonton Saturday, he was genuinely impressed with everything we had to offer.
As Edmontonians, we need to embrace and celebrate this as much as we can. I am fortunate to have served as the Chair and as a member of the Board for the City Market Downtown a few years ago. I can tell you from experience that there is a tremendous amount of work that goes into bringing the market to life each and every Saturday, and most of that effort is on a volunteer basis. So hats off to everyone who has been involved in the market over the years, and extra helping of gratitude goes out to the vendors and customers who help support the market each and every week.
And while we should be grateful for Andrew’s comments, they are a reminder of how our city reacts when accolades are thrown our way. First, we are often in disbelief when an outsider realizes how great and special our city really is. And second, it always takes an outsider to point out our best attributes – we never seem to do that ourselves.
I see lots of international tour groups at KITCHEN and each and every time, they are thoroughly impressed with Edmonton, its attractions, culture, vibe and friendly people. A colleague from Atlanta, who is also a research chef, travels and eats all over the world, and he was in Edmonton twice last year. Both times he went out of his way to say that the offerings at places like The Marc, Tavern 1903, Corso 32, Rge Rd and others are as good as any restaurant, if not better in some cases, he has been to in the world.
We do good stuff here! We not only need to recognize it, but we need to celebrate it more. It truly is up to our politicians, media, tourism folks and of course us to recognize what makes us uniquely Edmonton and share it with people who visit our city and with each other. So thank you Andrew, for recognizing our downtown farmers’ market. Because of it, hopefully more people will visit Edmonton and more Edmontonians will see our fair city for all that it is.