Thursday night farmers’ market aiming to create easy options for local food

“We want it to be good for the farmer and good for the customer.” That’s the simple philosophy behind the Pop-Up Farmers’ Market at the Farm Centre in Charlottetown, which will open on June 27, co-organizer Soleil Hutchinson, of Soleil’s Farm, said.

Hutchinson is working on the Thursday night market project with fellow farmers, Philip Hamming, Janelle MacDonald (The New Argyle Farmery), Adam MacLean, and food stall owner Nigel Thompson (Sneaky Cheats). They came together this winter to plan the new market, which will open each week from 3 to 6 pm until December, allowing customers a chance to plan for their weekend and pick up fresh produce, meats, and other local food products.

“We wanted to create something different from the Charlottetown market,” Hutchinson said. “This is the only evening market, and it’s not on the weekend.” This market’s focus is only on food, so there will not be any craft or artisan booths.

By offering the night market just prior to the weekend, they hope to see customers who want to buy local but who may not find a weekend market convenient for their schedule or lifestyle. It’s also a better fit for the farmers, as it allows them to coordinate their busy days growing, harvesting, and raising animals for market with a short weekly selling schedule.

Billing it as a smaller, “curated” farmers’ market, the market will feature eight to ten vendors each week. There will also be a booth for producers with crops like berries, corn, or pumpkins that have short seasons, giving small farms the opportunity to get their food in front of customers.

“What we want to have is a reliable, consistent market, so that when people come they know that Philip’s going to be there with his chickens, I’m going to be there with herbs, Soleil’s going to be there with vegetables, and Sneaky Cheats is going to be there,” MacDonald explained.

“The meat booth is a little bit of a cooperative of different farmers,” Hutchinson said. There will be lamb from Maclean, chickens from Hamming, and there will also be seafood sourced from MR Seafood.

There’s a weekly cost of $25 to be a vendor and the team is open to adding more food vendors to the market. With a variety of vendors signed up customers will be able to pick up fresh baked goods, honey, preserves, kombucha from Heart Beet Organics, meat, and seafood.

Sneaky Cheats will be on site serving hot meals, as well as offering take-home meals. Scottie Miller, owner of Kiwi Kai PEI, will also be serving traditional New Zealand street food like meat pies and ice cream so people will have the option to eat their supper while shopping.

The market will set up outside the Farm Centre on University Avenue, and move inside in the fall when the weather becomes colder.

About Cheryl Young

A “Jill of all trades” describes Cheryl to a T. From operating her own handyperson company, to selling luxury cars, to working as a film and TV crew member, her resume is diverse. But her dream as a kid was to be a journalist and she started down that path many years ago at CBC Charlottetown. Returning to her journalism roots, she’s excited to be editing Salty’s content and occasionally writing herself.

View All Posts