Quebec City's new farmers' market a hit with vendors and customers
Le Grand Marché's grand opening comes on heels of closure of Old Port market
Marie-Christine Bouffard used to go to the seasonal outdoor Sunday farmers' market that popped up in her Quebec City neighbourhood of Limoilou.
"I like to buy local, but especially good quality, local, fresh ingredients," said Bouffard. "To have this within walking distance? We are so lucky."
Bouffard was one of the Quebec City residents who flocked to the official opening of le Grand Marché Friday, along with her neighbour Marie-Hélène Jacques and their daughters.
Friday's grand opening came on the heels of Thursday's closure of the 32-year-old farmers' market in the city's Old Port, and many residents of that neighbourhood are upset that the new building is robbing them of a vital part of their local economy.
But producers who made the move said they're happy to discover how open and spacious the new building is.
Located just next to the Centre Vidéotron, le Grand Marché's state-of-the-art architecture provides a new central location for access to fresh local foods in the city.
Aside from aesthetics and accessibility, the new building offers better conditions for vendors, said Jean Piché, a longtime customer and sometime seller.
"The old building was overdue for a change," he said.
Piché, who helps his niece with her farm in Chateau-Richer, les Jardins du Petit Pré, is confident the upgrades that came with the new building will mean less waste for many producers.
"During the hot summer months, fresh vegetables and plants would wilt and spoil, largely due to the poor air circulation in that old building," Piché says.
Mélanie Villemaire is another producer happy to be in the new location. Villemaire, who works on an organic farm in the Charlevoix region, la Ferme des Quatre-Temps, said she is eager to see what kind of response they get from consumers.
"The proximity to the customers — having that one-on-one interaction — it gives us energy for the harvest and the harder times."
The second-floor family-friendly space in le Grand Marché, was also a big draw Friday, especially for those with strollers and shopping carts, and wheelchair users.
Denis Filioux, who uses a scooter to get around, says the new space is far more accessible than most indoor markets.
"There's lots of room, you don't feel like you're stepping on people's toes," he said.