Main Street farmers market an eclectic weekday hub

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      Vancouver’s longest-running farmers market—the Trout Lake farmers market—marks its 20th anniversary Saturday (July 19). There will be cake, live music, speeches, and a history booth at the market between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. to celebrate.

      Over the years, the Vancouver Farmers Markets has grown to include weekly markets in Kitsilano, Mount Pleasant, Yaletown, Kerrisdale, and the West End.

      Recently, I had the chance to join a media tour of the Main Street farmers market, which is located at Thornton Park across the street from Pacific Central Station. This market, which is in its sixth season, runs Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. from June to October. It’s easily accessible by Skytrain and bus, and there is street parking and bike parking all around the market.

      This was my first time visiting the Main Street market, and I was surprised by how large it is. The market offers a nice mix of fresh produce, prepared ingredients, food truck vendors, artist and artisan goods, and live entertainment.

      On the day I was there, musical duo Scott Perrie and Leora Joy provided a delightful soundtrack for the afternoon. Our tour started at one end of the market, where food trucks were parked. The variety of food carts change each week and include Blue Smoke BBQ (selling pulled-pork and beef-brisket sandwiches) and Didi’s Greek (making souvlaki wraps), which were both there that day. Nice Pops, a cycling popsicle stand with artisan popsicles made from seasonal fruit, provided cool treats in the summer heat.

      Pâté Pastiche makes vegan and gluten-free pates in East Vancouver.
      Michelle da Silva

      Most of the food vendors are at the Main Street farmers market every week, and many of them offer samples of their products at their stalls. Pâté Pastiche makes vegan and gluten-free pates in East Vancouver. That day, they had mushroom and herb pates to sample and for sale.

      Another popular stall was Purebread, a Whistler-based bakery that will be opening a Vancouver location in Gastown later this year. Their fresh-baked baguettes are a hit at the farmers market and sold out quickly that day. They also had lots of sweet pastries such as brownies, scones, pies, sticky buns, and cookies for sale at their booth.

      Also selling pies were two women from The Pie Hole, a small-batch pie company that works out of a commissary in Railtown. While they don’t have a retail location yet, their pies, which include sweet and savoury pies, can be found at several farmers markets across Vancouver. They’re regulars at the Main Street market.

      Produce from Solefood Street Farms is grown near B.C. Place Stadium.
      Michelle da Silva

      Of course, what farmers market is complete without farmers? The Main Street market had at least half a dozen farms represented that day. The majority of farmers sold fresh—often organic—produce, including several varieties of lettuces, carrots, radishes, cucumbers, and more. Solefood Street Farms, which grows its produce just down the street for the Main Street farmers market, occupied a large booth. The non-profit organization turns vacant urban lots into orchards and provides jobs and agricultural training to people with barriers to employment, many of whom are residents in the Downtown Eastside.

      The Main Street market is attended by many Vancouver chefs, and the market actually has a wheelbarrow that chefs can borrow to transport ingredients back to their vehicles or nearby restaurants. Neighbourhood restaurant Campagnolo also has a non-profit booth at the market. Proceeds from sales of the restaurant’s dried pasta and pizza dough benefit Thunderbird Elementary.

      Check out more photos from the Main Street farmers market below.

      The Food Pedalers sell microgreens, which are grown in Strathcona, at the Main Street farmers market.
      Michelle da Silva
      Buy sweet and savoury pies from The Pie Hole.
      Michelle da Silva
      Purebread, a popular bakery in Whistler, will be opening a Vancouver location later this year.
      Michelle da Silva
      Musical duo Scott Perrie and Leora Joy provide a delightful soundtrack at the Main Street farmers market.
      Michelle da Silva
      Customers are encouraged to taste cheese samples at the Little Qualicum Cheesework booth.
      Michelle da Silva