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Foodie Friday: Beechwood gets a market!

By Chris Cline on June 13, 2014

This post first appeared in Vanier Now.

It’s been a rough couple of years for farmers’ markets in Ottawa. We’ve experienced a spate of market closures, the most recent being the highly publicized Sparks Street market cancellation. But local market goers should take heart in Beechwood’s new market, which is great news for those of us in Vanier and other east-end neighbourhoods.

East-enders were left in the lurch in 2013 when the lone farmers’ market in the area was cancelled abruptly. The cancellation was controversial. Several longstanding market vendors made their unhappiness known, especially with regard to the loss of revenue and the timing of the decision.

But all of that’s in the past. And those of us in the east end can finally rejoice over the announcement of a new famers’ market, set to open in early July on Beechwood Avenue.

The new market is the brainchild of Chris Penton, one of the people behind the original Vanier market and the Preston Farmers’ Market. He saw the closure of Vanier’s market as an opportunity. And when a space in the parking lot of the former Desjardins at 99 Beechwood became available, he approached owner Claridge Homes about establishing a new venture for local farmers and vendors.

“I can’t think of a neighbourhood that could support a market as well as Beechwood,” said Penton. “There seems to be a lingering hangover; people are still complaining about the lack of a market, and they really liked having one around.”

The market has already attracted a strong host of vendors, from stalwart Vanier produce sellers Foster Family Farm and Rock’n’Root (currently outside Jacobsons on Saturdays) to newcomers like Top Shelf Preserves and The Salty Don. Beechwood will also be the first Ottawa market to sell VQA approved wines, with Prince Edward County’s Harwood Estates Winery already on board.

“Beechwood is in search of itself, probably for the last decade or so, and especially since the fire. I think the neighbourhood needs a feel-good story and this certainly falls into that category.”

The market’s website is currently in development, but you can sign up for an e-newsletter at www.beechwoodmarket.ca. Things kick off on July 5 and continue each Saturday until October 11.