It was a rainy Thursday when we all left school to go to Downtown Farmers Market for our blog review. Despite heavy rain, we were so eager to explore this event. We were food lovers with an empty stomach and a willingness to eat the whole world after a hard-working day at school. Apparently, nothing could stop us from enjoying the food and sharing our great experiences with all of you.
So why did we choose this market? What was interesting about it?
About Downtown Farmers Market
Downtown Farmers Market belongs to Vancouver Farmers Markets which was established as a non-profit organization in 1995 (Vancouver Farmers Market, 2019). It is quite popular among people who love healthy food and outdoor events. According to Vancouver’s Best Places (2019), Downtown Farmers Market was formerly known as Yaletown Farmers Market which was first located at 1200 Mainland Street in Yaletown. It used to be one of the busiest summer farmers markets in Lower Mainland. In June 2016, the popular market changed its name to Downtown Farmers Market. This year, the market was opened every Thursday from 3 pm to 7 pm from June 6 to October 3. Located at 650 Hamilton Street in Vancouver, it attracted not only a lot of locals but tourists as well.
With more than 25 vendors, the event brought organic and certified naturally grown products to customers (Vancouver Farmers Market, 2019). Thanks to a variety of its products, you can easily find different kinds of fruits and vegetables here. Besides, unique gifts and handcrafted items were also on sale. This is a great thing for those who love to bring home a piece of art of their interest.
There are many local vendors at this event such as BC Garlic Growers Inc., Forbidden Fruit Winery, Golden Meadows Honey Farm. For a full list of their vendors, please refer to a link below:
More information about the event can be found at their social media accounts:
We finally arrived at a market after one hour on the Skytrain. Luckily, it stopped raining shortly after we arrived. We were like the birds leaving their nest after long winter days. When we first entered the market, we found an information booth and the lady there greeted us with a cheerful smile and gave us a colourful brochure about their market. We were impressed by the cleanliness and friendly atmosphere here. The floor was wet but clean. All the stalls were set up next to each other in a line, giving small paths for patrons to walk along and choose their favourite. Beside fresh supplies from local farmers, we found some food trucks, souvenir stalls, bakery stalls and jewelry stalls which sold many beautiful necklaces, bracelets and rings. Most of the stalls were decorated simply with a banner and information such as names, logos, slogans, websites and phone numbers. It was easy to recognize that the theme of this event was fresh and healthy food items. In addition, all the stores used environmental-friendly items such as paper, recyclable boxes and reusable jars for their products.
At a couple of bakery stalls, they introduced a history of some pastries along with healthy ingredients and highlight gluten-free or vegan products. This reflected the current food trends with healthy ingredients as people are more health-conscious now. The second stall from the entrance was selling many different types of wine. Being different from other vendors, that two seller men dressed formally in suits and showed their good understanding of many beverages: spirits, red wine. At this market, you had a chance to buy good quality products at a great price. However, it would be a hassle for those who only had their cards as most of the stalls only accepted cash. You could swipe your debit card for market money at any vendor with a $2 fee per transaction.
Our food reviews
- Dorayaki cake
Now, let’s move on to the most interesting part of our blog: food reviews. The first item we would like to introduce is Dorayaki cake. While walking around, we were surprised to see a Japanese store in this market. The vendor was really nice and patient to answer all our questions about their products. Moreover, she also spent time describing and suggesting some of her favourite cakes to us. Our group decided to try a Dorayaki cake, which is famous for its origin and taste. Those who love Doraemon comics are quite familiar with this kind of cakes. Its shape is like a big dumpling consisting of two flat crusts that are made from flour and spread with honey, baked and covered with regular filling from red bean paste. This cake was sweet, soft and smelled good. Talking about its origin, there are many different stories. One of those is a story involving a legendary hero called Musashibo Benkei (Itoh, 2012). When Benkei was seriously injured, an elderly couple took care of him and cooked a little round cake on the surface of a gong. This is how the first dorayaki was made.
- Nawa Taco
Going inside the market, we were attracted by a green and beautiful food truck named Beiju. The green theme colour and simple patterns of green leaves made it eye-catching. It was a Brazilian food truck selling seven different types of Tacos. Each taco has its own mix so whether you are a meat-lover or a vegetarian, you can easily choose one.
The vendor was very welcoming and helpful in explaining the ingredients. As a core base of its brand, Beiju developed many of its products from cassavas. Craving for hot food, we decided to try one Nawa taco. It was a crispy taco wrapping smoked turkey, melted cheese, bananas, walnuts, butter and maple syrup. This food was so delicious that we finished it quickly. When tasting it, you could feel the cheese melting in your mouth together with the sweetness of bananas and salty flavour of smoked turkey. Beside a gluten-free trend, many of their products are also served with healthy options such as salmons, seeds, fruits, nuts, vegetables.
- Dried fruits
As we still wanted to try something new, we kept going inside to see if there were any other interesting items. Walking to Munchies Foodshare stall, we fell in love with their small jars of dried fruits in the very first three seconds. We guess you can call it “Love at first sight” lol. Those dried fruits were sold in two types of packages: paper bags or glass jars.
At Munchies Foodshare, “They say damaged. We say delicious.” (Munchies Foodshare, 2019). Having a chance to talk with vendors, we were completely inspired by the idea of reducing food waste and helping out the less fortunate people. The vendors were so friendly and enthusiastic when talking about the meaning of their products. We could feel the love and effort they put in every single item. One of them said that 80% of food in Canada was being wasted day by day while more and more people are starving in every single moment. Therefore, they came up with an idea to use fruits that were not in good shape to make dehydrated goods. They dried many fruits such as oranges, apples, kiwis to keep them longer. Moreover, the taste was also good and different.
Following the current healthy trends, they did not add any sugar or preservatives to their products. Therefore, the dried fruits were a bit sourer and more bitter than others that we had tried before but we really loved them. This is the vendor that we like most because they showed their sustainability concerns not only in packages but also in the production process. Doing something good in a day made us so happy.
It was a nice day at Downtown Farmers Market. We did have a blast and really love the food there. This experience not only helped us understand more about the current food trends but also made us feel more responsible for our life.
We hope you enjoy it!
Kelly, Joyce, Anna and Neo
Itoh, M. (2012, October 26). Bang your gong for dorayaki, Doraemon’s favorite snack. Retrieved from https://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2012/10/26/food/bang-your-gong-for-dorayaki-doraemons-favorite-snack/?fbclid=IwAR13jBfeunma4Eoz7KLoe2S_tKIIsWBQbyZTKigU_cE5obTgYE5JgC4_Png#.XavVi-hKg2x
Munchies Foodshare. (2019). Munchies foodshare. Retrieved from https://munchiesfoodshare.ca/
Vancouver Farmers Market. (2019). About us. Retrieved from https://eatlocal.org/about-us/
Vancouver Farmers Market. (2019). Downtown farmers market. Retrieved from https://eatlocal.org/markets/downtown/
Vancouver’s Best Places. (2019). Vancouver’s downtown farmers market in 2019. Retrieved from https://vancouversbestplaces.com/vancouver-farmers-markets/downtown-farmers-market/