Inspired by the Parkdale Night Market and Ottawa Markets, Little Jo Berry’s owner Josephine Masterson (Jo) has another fun new experience for the 613: The Vegans Who Snack Festival, bringing about 40 local businesses together to celebrate community and snacking on June 3, 2022.
Amongst the wide array of vendors, attendees will find “a mix of ready-to-eat food, take-home grocery and treats and some amazing local artists, makers and shops. It’s been a while since we’ve had any vegan events or markets, so I want people to feel indulgent and hungry!” Masterson says. Awesome combination, lovely timing: after all we’ve been through, comfort food and friendly faces will be a welcome reprieve.
Also comforting: The safety of being outside. “Outdoor neighbourhood events feel like a really safe way to get people together during these times. I think a lot of shoppers aren’t ready for indoor events, especially while mandates are changing and leaving a lot of people exposed.” Modelled after Ottawa’s cherished familiar local weekend markets, this event is “a safe alternative for small business to reach their community.”
At the event’s core are our city and those who live here. “Community is the purpose. The last few years have been extremely hard for all businesses, so this felt like a good idea to get some small businesses we love together to promote their menus and product.” Indeed, Masterson’s hand-picked lineup won’t disappoint: “Yugirolls making handmade vegan eggrolls, neighbourhood superstars The Momo Spot making Nepalese food and, of course, crowd-pleaser sister duo Kabhi Chai Kabhi Shai making authentic Pakistani chai-cuterie boxes. However, this is an event for everyone, vegan or not—these menus are out of control!”
Caribbean food specialists Baccanalle are beyond excited to be at the table. “We can’t wait to cook outside and meet everyone again,” says Executive Chef and founder Resa Solomon-St. Lewis. They’ve been lovingly serving Ottawa made-from-scratch Caribbean lifestyle food for seven years; this will be their first normal outdoor event since COVID-19. “We started out at local farmer’s markets and community fairs and they remain important to us to this day,” says Solomon-St. Lewis.
At their east end take-home and delivery location, they offer vegan wraps, curries, specialty salads, side dishes, artisan condiments, other vegan snacks, and desserts like piña colada carrot cake. The Baccanalle booth will be “serving up some of our old and newer faves—vegan patties, vegan quesadilla, [and] our hibiscus (sorrel) drink.”
These events are important, Solomon-St. Lewis says, because Ottawa is festival central and they “help remind us as residents why Ottawa is a great place to live. In particular, the vegan festivals help to highlight the great foodie scene and choices in Ottawa—an important signal that we are going to get back to normal, needed now more than ever.”
So come and enjoy safe after-work fun and rediscover some splendid small businesses. Masterson’s instructions: “Bring your reusable containers, cooler bags, and totes, because we are gonna fill them! And don’t forget to leave room for dessert we have the amazing Pascale’s Ice Cream making take-home frozen treats like her Vegan Twix Bar!”
A final message from Jo: “I love my neighbourhood, and I’m always looking for ways to be out and about. If you are reading this, please come!”
The Vegans Who Snack Festival takes place Friday, June 3, from 5pm to 9pm at 366 Parkdale Ave. Learn more on Instagram @veganswhosnack.