My first real taste of the joys of buying local started at the historic farmers market. Drew and I lived on the top corner of the market. We started going for convenience but pretty soon Saturdays became a favourite weekly tradition. The food there was fresh and delicious, better than what we had been buying, and we loved chatting with vendors and fellow market growers each week.
When we travel, the local market is almost always on our ‘must-do’ list. It is one of the best ways to dive into the local community and meet the inspiring personalities that make each town unique. On our recent trip to Fredericton, the markets were our first stop.
Fredericton is home to two Saturday markets and two smaller permanent markets. We started at the Boyce Farmers Market (@FredFarmMarket). For years, local vendors have used this space to sell everything from fine jewelry to smoked meats to beauty products. Even at 9am on a rainy Saturday, the market was alive with people shopping and getting their early morning food and coffee fix. The Boyce market is made up of two large rooms and an outdoor vending area with about 20 additional stands, mostly food trucks serving up a wide variety of local take-out.
We tackled the inside first, starting with Van Dykes Blueberries. Last year, New Brunswick had its best crop yet, more than 45 million pounds of blueberries grown, harvested and sold! We picked up a bottle of their blueberry juice, perfect for martinis, salads, or just as a daily shot of vitamins.
Next, it was off to Bottle Cap Bling, magnets and jewelry made from recycled beer bottle caps. This company was originally inspired by a 15 year old from the US whose bottle cap jewelry turned it into a million dollar business. Bottle Cap Bling originally focused on children’s birthday parties where they would teach kids to make their own bottle cap jewelry. Today many buyers are adults who are drawn to the pop culture icons and references used in many magnets. I fell in love with the Harry Potter inspired magnet (above) which is now proudly fixed to my fridge.
From there, we picked up some treats for Charlie, and had a quick browse through some of the fruit and veggie stands, beauty products, and this little shop that makes warm cozy socks out of local wool.
We braved the rain for scallop and lobster rolls and to check out the ‘famous’ samosa truck, something the Boyce market credits with bringing so many youth to the market.
Our favourite stand was Hot Lollies (@TheHotLollies), a gourmet cheesecake lollipop company run by two young entrepreneurs Alicia Tracy and Renna Eliakis. Their pops are made with rich decadent cheesecake, dipped in dark chocolate and rolled in a variety of toppings. They come in regular size as well as mini’s and they even have some gluten free options. In addition to successfully running this company for the past 5 years, Alicia also owns a second shop, Frosted Cupcakes , a gourmet cupcake stand that had caught our eye when we first arrived. Her partner owns a second shop, too, a Greek food truck at the Northside market called Street Greek (@StreetGreek).
We headed over to the Northside Market for a quick visit with Renna, and to see what other local gems we could find. Opening a Greek food truck was a natural fit for Renna, who cut her culinary teeth at her parents Greek restaurant when she was just a kid. The market set-up is the perfect fit for a shop focusing on traditional Souvlaki and Gyro, the signature street food of Greece. The food looked and smelled delicious – just look at her Chicken Souvlaki ‘done right’, a chicken souvlaki wrap that’s been stuffed with crispy French fries and feta cheese. YUM!
The Northside market is much more food based than the Boyce Market. There were ample prepared and take-home meals, chocolates, jams, dips and other goodies. We also found these amazing wood carvings, and a mix of beautiful earmuffs, headbands, pillows and ‘wine bags’ made of recycled furs.
There is a small petting zoo which was already open and with Charlie at home I got some much needed cuddling!
If you plan to visit Fredericton, you have to visit at least one of the Fredericton Markets. Not only will you find great road trip snacks, a wide culinary range of breakfast and lunch foods, and great gifts, but you’ll get a true sense of the city. It is also THE place to go if you want to interact with entrepreneurs who are shaping the city in new and exciting ways!
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