In Trinidad, we don’t have “Farmers’ Markets” … because all farmers sell their produce at the local markets. As a teenage, I wandered the Chaguanas Market and saw the friendliness, hustle and bustle. I was always guided by the list my mother gave me and little did I know, I was getting my first “foodie” experience, in being able to recognize produce, pick fruit and vegetables, be exposed to spices and get to sample all that is Trinidadian flavor. Where else could I sample Kutchela, eat a “Sno Cone” with Guava syrup, have two doubles and then head home for a late breakfast?
It’s because of these stories and experiences, that I have a special affinity for markets in general. In every new city I go to, I always put a market or two along with my list of historic buildings because you’ll always get a sense of a city by its markets. On my last visit to Prince Edward Island [aka PEI], we went to the Charlottetown Farmers Market. This is a year-round market that stays set up on Belvedere Street.
Atlantic Canada is known for its super fresh produce, but I couldn’t honestly call it a culinary mecca … however the Charlottetown Farmers Market is the only place in PEI, where you can find more than half of the stalls selling “ethnic” food you ranging in diversity from Shawarma, pierogies, Indian and Moroccan food to smoked salmon and freshly baked bread.
There are many local farmers who come out on a Wednesday or Saturday to sell at the Market. One can easily see that the vast majority of the produce isn’t your average chemically laced, inorganic, Monsanto GM type food, but rather honestly grown produce reflective of the real price of cultivation.
Like any market, your mileage will vary … for instance, I had a couple Samosas at the market and they were pretty poor and expensive Samosas … but then again in the “Maritimes”, all ethnic food will cost you more … I call it the “non-competitive” tax … there isn’t that much diversity in this part of Canada, hence the “ethnics” who came here, get to charge what they want based on the market.
I did have my fill of Canadiana though with some Sweet & Salty kettle corn with Fresh Apple Cider … damn that stuff is good. Along the way … we did have a bite of donair also …
Just like any market … if you’re going to visit on a weekend, prepare for the crowds. The nice thing about PEI is that there are quite a few markets in Summer … if you’re going to visit, I highly suggest you browse this list.