Feature Vendor Interview - ATB Downtown Market

Tuesday, September 22nd 2015

Feature Vendor of the week: T’s Gluten Free
At last week’s market we caught up with Tanis from T’s Gluten Free.

How did you start your business?
About 12 years ago I was diagnosed with celiac and that is when I started. At that time there was nothing gluten free available anywhere. Now there is a lot but I was still getting tired of all the frozen kind of preserved stuff in the freezer. I was getting asked a ton of questions by all of these new people because it was starting to become a really big thing that everybody was getting diagnosed with celiac. I started a website filled with all kinds of recipes, information, and tips. I posted all of the menus from restaurants in Red Deer where you can find gluten free menus. It caught on really big so I thought well I’ll start making some of the stuff and see if I can sell it at the market. I did and it just took off like crazy. This is my third summer doing it.

How many market do you attend?
Just this one. Well, I do Saturday sometimes but I work full time too.

How did you first hear about the ATB Downtown Market?
I don’t know. I think I just googled it. I just looked up markets in Red Deer and I came to this one. I heard this one was really good. I did hear that the same people come back every week and they come to look for you. It’s not like the Saturday Public Market in that it’s a sea of people milling their way through, people actually come here looking for certain vendors.

What’s your favorite thing about the ATB Downtown Market?
I’ve had the same people come back for three summers and they have come back to find me here so I love my customers. I love getting to meet the new vendors when they come through. It really easy to be down here and it’s a good market to be a part of.

What do people need to be educated about when it comes to your products?
A lot of my products are vegan as well so, no dairy, no eggs. I try as hard as I can to keep everything hypoallergenic and I can alter my products. If people are allergic to one of the ingredients I will alter it for them. I’m pretty good with custom orders. I try to keep everything natural with normal ingredients that everyone knows, you could make it at home yourself if you wanted to.
Is there anything people need to be educated about when it comes to having gluten sensitivities and the way that you have to eat?
Yes, although food companies regulate labeling and stuff like that they can still be kind of hidden. You have to know what you are looking for and dealing with. There’s lots of places in Red Deer that have it available. Again you can find that on my website.

Do you have a favorite business on this street or other vendor in the market?
I’ve been beside Raelyn, The Lamb Lady, for all three summers and I’ve ended up beside her at a whole bunch of other markets so I really like her a lot. True North Realty buy a lot of my stuff!

Do you like being Downtown?
Yeah I think Downtown is great! People just get off work and come straight here. It’s central and there are a lot of people down here. I think it’s good because Downtown can get really quiet as soon as the end of the day hits it kind of shuts down. I think it’s good to give the rest of the businesses Downtown a little bit of extra business.

What is a “must know” or “must try from T’s Gluten Free?
The most popular is the jalapeno cheddar bread (which is not vegan but it is good).

What makes you awesome? Why should people choose you?
That a tricky one. I think because I try really hard to make everything for everybody the way they want it. I will do custom orders and pre-orders. I like to accommodate everybody. I have been here for three years; the crowd changes and people’s needs change so I kind of change what I make every year based on the people that come in. I’ll make what you want, I’ll make it fresh and good and I’ll keep it fair priced.

What is your favorite thing that you sell?
The pumpkin donuts, everyone loves the pumpkin donuts.

Does anyone else sell your product?
No, unfortunately it is just me at this point.

What advice would you give to people just starting out?
Keep going, it’s going to be ups and downs but it’s going to be worth it. If you just keep trying then it’s going to work. If you put your heart into it, it will work!

How do you define success?
I think just being happy and satisfied with what you do. For me this is not about making money. I love to be out here filling a need for people that need it. I love when people are excited I love especially when kids come and they are excited. Kids with limitations on their diet, that’s hard. I just think success is just being happy with what you are doing.

To learn more about T's Gluten Free, visit them online at www.tsglutenfree.com & be sure to stop by their booth at this week’s ATB Downtown Market from 4 - 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

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Feature Vendor Interview - ATB Downtown Market

Tuesday, September 15th 2015

Feature Vendor of the week: Innisfail Growers
At last week’s market we caught up with Margaret and Jamie from Innisfail Growers.

How did you start your business?
Beck Farms started taking carrots to the Blackfoot Inn in Calgary and it grew from there. We are all employees here, nobody here is a grower.

How did you end up here working for Innisfail Growers?
Margaret: I started because I happened to be walking through the Co-Op and Elna Edgar saw my bag that said Calgary Farmer’s Market and she asked “do you want to work for us?” so I’m working for them now.
Jamie: I started when I was 12, I was picking peas. My mom worked for them then too.

How many farms contribute to the Innisfail Growers?
There are five different growers and in the fall we have six. The sixth comes from Lacombe and she brings herbs and Swiss chard.

Who are the Innisfail Growers?
1. Edgar Farms, Doug and Elna Edgar and family grow peas, asparagus and beans. They also do preservatives, pies and, natural beef.
2. The Jungle Farm, Blaine and Leona Staples are best known for their strawberries, but also grow greenhouse crops, specializing in potted flowers and a number of field crops such as lettuce and pumpkins.
3. Beck Farms, Shelley and Rod Bradshaw along with their 2 sons specialize in carrots.
4. Hillside Greenhouses, Carmen and Jose Fuentes occupy a 6000 square foot greenhouse filled with tomatoes and cucumbers.
5. Upper Green Farms, the Buyks family have been growing potatoes for Innisfail Growers since 1993.
6. Market on Twelve, Susanna Neuman grows swiss chard, vegetable marrow, bunched beets and bunched onions. All are grown without the use of chemicals or fertilizers

What is a “must try” from Innisfail Growers?
You must try our carrots and our peas!

Is there anything people need to be educated about when it comes to your product or line of work?
Yes, we are not organic and we use very few pesticides. We do use some just at the beginning but only for maggots and things like that.

What makes Innisfail Growers awesome? Why should people choose you?
It’s all fresh and it just tastes awesome.

What is your favorite thing that you sell?
Carrots.

Does anyone else sell your products?
Some of Edgar’s (Edgar Farms) and Leona’s (from the Jungle Farm) products are in Big Bend Market and in Co-Ops, in Innisfail mostly.

Do you attend a lot of markets?
We both do three a week.

Which Markets do you attend?
This one, Innisfail and Sylvan Lake.

Do you have a favorite market?
No, they are all equal.

Do you like being Downtown?
Yes!

What is your favorite thing about Downtown?
It’s busy.

How long have you been at the ATB Downtown Market?
This is my third year.

What your favorite thing about the ATB Downtown Market?
It’s just busy and all of the people are really friendly.

You guys are here a lot. Do you have a favorite other vendor in this market or a favorite business on the street?
The Bistro is nice but that’s as far as we get.

What advice would you give to people just starting out?
Know your product and what you want to sell. Know your clientele.

How do you define success?
Going home with an empty truck.

To learn more about Innisfail Growers, be sure to stop by their booth at this week’s ATB Downtown Market from 4 - 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
 

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Feature Vendor Interview - ATB Downtown Market

Tuesday, September 8th 2015

Feature Vendor of the week: Cozy Stitch
At last week’s market we caught up with Chantalle Stretch from Cozy Stitch.

What do you sell?
Handmade goods. In the summertime, baked goods with produce that is in season; Pies, tarts, jams, jellies. As the fall comes I introduce crocheted stuff. We do towels and booties like baby booties, scarves and things like that.

How did you start your business?
I started with crocheting at home, making little baby booties, headbands, toques and then I expanded a little bit into blankets and towels. When my maternity leave ran out my mom suggested I try some baking and sell it at the market with your crocheting.

Is this your full time job?
Full time is mommy but on the side I do this. I am actually a respiratory therapist, that is what I am trained to do but while on maternity leave I decided to do this.

What is something we “must try”?
My pie, my pastry - you have got to try the pastry, it’s my great grandmas recipe!

What makes you awesome? Why should people choose you?
It’s homemade, it’s a passed down recipe and I try to use local produce. I try to use BC peaches and apples from around town, we pick saskatoons from around Red Deer. We try to pick from what is around here. It tastes great!

What is your favorite thing that you sell?
Mine? Pumpkin cookies. They aren’t really in season right now but they are so good!

Is there anything that people need to be educated about when it comes to your product or line of work?
No, if you like good tasty pastry that’s all you need.

Does anyone else sell your products?
No but there are a couple other vendors that sell pies and baked goods for sure.

How many markets do you attend?
Only this one but I will attend a weekend market if I see one. I’ve attended Fort Normandeau Days and I applied for the mall market in October. Other than that this is the only market that I do.

How long have you been with the ATB Downtown Market?
About a month and a half.

How did you first hear about the ATB Downtown Market?
Word of mouth. My friends were trying some of my baking and said “you should do the market on Wednesdays!” So explored, I came down on a Wednesday and saw it, got in contact with Tyler [Market Manager for the ATB Downtown Market] and thought it was perfect.

What is your favorite thing about this market?
It’s small, the community and that everything is home grown or homemade. It’s more of a true farmers market.

Do you like being Downtown?
Yes!

What is your favorite thing about being Downtown?
I like the feel that you’re Downtown Red Deer - you’ve got the old buildings, you’ve got the sense of community. You get the true sense of Red Deer by being Downtown.

Do you have a favorite business on this street or a favorite other vendor in this market?
Dose Coffee, I really like The Lamb Lady and Vietnamese Subs and Rolls.

What advice would you give to people just starting out?
Just hang on and keep coming back week to week. Just enjoy it, enjoy visiting with people and doing what you love to do.

How do you define success?
Being happy with what you do. This is success. I get to stay at home and bake with my kids and then I get to come down to the market and work with my kids and visit with people. Success is doing what you love.

To learn more about Cozy Stitch, be sure to stop by their booth at this week’s ATB Downtown Market from 4 - 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

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Feature Vendor Interview - ATB Downtown Market

Tuesday, September 1st 2015

Feature Vendor of the week: West Country Kettle Corn
At last week’s market we caught up with Patsy Erickson from West Country Kettle Corn.

What do you sell?
Kettle Popcorn.

How did you start your business?
We have family in Edmonton that does kettle popcorn and they do very well with it so we though well let’s do it for the fun of it. This is our fifth season now.

Have you been with the ATB Downtown Market for all five of those seasons?
Yes.

How did you first hear about the ATB Downtown Market?
I used to work for the fruit truck Souto Farms.

What makes you awesome? Why should people choose you?
Our kernels are nice and puffy. The flavor is excellent, just right. Not too much salt not too much sweet, plus we smell good! We keep our prices reasonable too.

What is something we “must know” about your product?
It’s all made on sight, it’s all fresh.

How do you make kettle popcorn? What is the secret?
The oil, sugar and the kernels go into the popper. When it is done we put it into a pan where it strains all of the small stuff out and then we season it in that pan. You also have to find the right kind of kernels so that you get the puffy kernels, but I’m not going to tell you what kind that is.

Do you like being downtown?
Yes. Love it. No doubt about that one.

What is your favorite thing about the ATB Downtown Market?
My favorite part is the social part with all of the people between vendors and the customers. It’s a great social place. Just being here and enjoying the people it is a great atmosphere this one.

Is there anything that people need to be educated about when it comes to your product?
Just keep eating. Not really, no education.

Does anyone else sell your product?
At other markets that I am not at, yes.

How many markets do you attend?
Seven: Ponoka and [Downtown Red Deer] on Wednesdays, on Thursdays we do Innisfail and Olds, Fridays we do Lacombe and Lakedale (which is Pigeon Lake) and Saturday morning Rimbey.

Do you have a favorite market?
This one, of course! The people they come, they are happy down here and the atmosphere is great. We like Rimbey, Lakedale and Lacombe too. Those 4 are pretty close to each other. Ponoka is my social one because my mother is the market manager. She’s been there for over 30 years now. At our new markets we don’t know a lot of people yet. We like them all.

What do you love about being Downtown?
It’s very well managed that’s one thing, the management is great. We are taken care of very well. It’s well attended by the people. I think because it’s an all food market it’s easier for people who don’t walk to walk around a large market. Those people can come in and get all of their fresh stuff and it’s easier to be able to pick it up. The large markets are great for those who like to do that but here is easier.

Do you have a favorite business on the street or favorite other vendor in the market?
Mark at MSW Meats is an excellent vendor. He is very willing to help anybody at any time. He is definitely a good guy to have at any market. Of course Souto Farms because we used to work with them we have a great relationship with them. Klein’s chickens is another one we are a little closer to. I think it’s all just because we are at other markets together and we kind of get to know each other better.

We usually either go to Vietnamese Subs and Rolls or Quenched down on the other block there. As far as being able to go into other businesses we really just don’t have time during market season.

What Advice would you give to people just starting out?
Smile, be friendly, and talk to people. That’s all.

How do you define success?
Success? I’ve got to be able to make a certain amount of money to make it worth our while, but just enough to keep us going. It doesn’t have to be a whole lot.

Is there anything that you would like to add or that people should know?
I think the biggest thing is, for vendors, they should always respect their market manager and what they ask for. They don’t ask a whole lot. A lot of people complain about what is asked of them and I just feel it is a privilege to be at a farmers market.

To learn more about West Country Kettle Corn, be sure to stop by their booth at this week’s ATB Downtown Market from 4 - 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

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Feature Vendor Interview - ATB Downtown Market

Tuesday, August 25th 2015

Feature Vendor of the week: Untamed Feast
At last week’s market we caught up with Lisa from Untamed Feast.

What do you sell?
We are a wild food harvesting company. We sell wild foods. Wild gourmet foods, mostly wild gourmet mushrooms.

How was the business started?
Well it’s been a labor of love for the last 10 years. It was started by a couple, Michelle and Eric. They both grew up in Ukrainian families so they learned the ways of the land just kind of hunting for mushrooms. They got really interested in the food movement and all of that kind of stuff living on Vancouver Island. They starting doing this wild harvesting on a larger scale and bringing it to more people. It just started kind of small with Eric and Michelle stomping around in the forest trying to see what they could find and then bringing it to fancy restaurants. This retail line has sprouted out from that.

How did you get involved with Untamed Feast?
I’m family friends with them. Michelle and I went to university together. A big mushroom harvesting place is where my parents live so they go and stay with my parents when they are harvesting there. I have been a part of it in little snips from the beginning. Since they have been featured on Dragons Den it has gotten a little bit bigger and they need more help than they used to.

What is a “must know” or “must try” from Untamed Feast?
Something to know is that the morel mushroom is one of the most highly prized mushrooms in the world. It’s just second after only the French truffle. It’s interesting that a lot of Canadians are not more familiar with the morel mushrooms. A lot of them grow wild here. The reason we don’t see them readily available to us in the grocery stores is because they have such a competitive export market. The usual place for you to capture something like this would be at fancy high priced restaurant where you are paying upwards of thirty or forty dollars for your entre.

What is your favorite thing that you sell?
Well I am really a when in doubt have it all, kind of girl. We have a lot of specials for when you buy one of everything you often get a few products for free. I don’t know, everything is really good. I mean obviously the morels are really popular. The porcini is a really nice choice for any kind of Italian cooking very classic. Porcini risotto is what we made for the Dragons when we went on Dragons Den in 2012 and they all really loved it. The porcini risotto I’d say is one of my favorites, the wild rice is really delicious as well. It’s all really good.

What do people need to be educated about when it comes to your line of work or the products that you sell?
Well I guess it is interesting to note that we think that wild foods are even better than organic foods. A lot of people ask us if it is organic and how we grow it. All of the varieties of mushrooms that we deal with aren’t able to be cultivated domestically. Because they are growing in really pristine soils and waters the fact is that there are not pesticides or weird fertilizers present. It’s that it’s the most pristine soil, water and air that you can get and that is what the food is drawing off to make itself. In short wild is better than organic.

Does anyone else sell your product? Where else can we find it?
In Red Deer you can find us at Big Bend Market and I think Pure Earth Organics may have some of our stuff as well. Ordering online is a great way to go too.

How many markets do you attend?
We are at this one, the Saturday Public Market and we do Lacombe and Sylvan Lake right now but there is a bit of variety in that.

Which is your favorite market?
This one of course. I like this market the best.

What is your favorite thing about the ATB Downtown Market?
I’ve been coming to this market since the start as a customer. It’s just been exciting to see how it has grown and really taken off. I am a big believer in the Farmer’s Market movement and it’s nice to see what a success it is. It’s nice to be part of a community where that is a value. I love how it brings together the community Downtown. It’s brilliantly organized and designed. I mean the hours of it and the location are perfect. It catches that after work crowd, it’s a professional kind of upscale crowd. It’s sort of a sophisticated audience that like our product and that definitely concentrates at this market which I really appreciate. I also appreciate that it is a really food focused market. The Saturday Public Market is all kinds of things, people aren’t necessarily there buying food for dinner whereas I think that is the majority of what is going on here.

So you like being Downtown then?
Yes, absolutely.

How long have you been with us as a vendor at the ATB Downtown Market?
A couple of months.

You are here a lot. Do you have a favorite business on this street or other vendor in the market?
Dose Coffee Shop, that’s definitely part of my weekly routine. I always get a cappuccino there before I start. I also like this shoe store, Comforts the Sole.
I think Pursuit Adventures are geniuses. I love Markerville Berry and Vegetable as well. I don’t know, everybody! It’s a nice community to be a part of.

What advice would you give to people just starting out?
As a farmers market vendor? Well I have sold a few different things at a few different markets. It’s always good to have something that is in high demand. You really have to know your market and have something that appeals to people. You have to have something delicious and that people want right away, that is where people spend their money. I think you want to just be smart about the product that you choose. It’s a lot of work so it’s always more reinforcing to have something that is in high demand. Also something that you feel genuinely passionate about. You are going to be saying the same thing over and over and you’ve got to be able to talk about it from a lot of different angles. If you don’t have a genuine interest it’s going to be challenging.

How do you define success?
Happiness! That is sort of the root we are all looking for and I think we maybe get distracted by other things that might be getting us there. If you are chasing money or something you always have to ask, “am I happy doing what I’m doing? Is this the best route to go where I am going?”

To learn more about Untamed Feast be sure to stop by their booth at this week’s ATB Downtown Market or visit them online at: https://untamedfeast.com/

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Feature Vendor Interview - ATB Downtown Market

Tuesday, August 18th 2015

Feature Vendor of the week: Bertin’s Nuts and Butters
At last week’s market we caught up with Devon Bertin, from Bertin’s Nuts and Butters.

What do you sell?
Natural nuts. Peanuts, cashews and almonds along with the natural butters associated with those nuts.

How did you start your business?
My uncle has been in the Farmer’s Markets on the East Coast for about 25 years. With the slowdown that came through in March with the oil patch I had to do something to keep me busy. I figured I’d give it a shot.

What is a “must try” from Bertin’s Nuts and Butters?
What I have been noticing is that the cashew butter is definitely a popular one. A lot of people haven’t heard of cashew butter but everyone loves cashews so it’s definitely a must try.

What is your favorite thing that you sell?
Cashew butter definitely, and the salted cashews as well. I’m kind of a cashew addict.

Is there anything that people need to be educated about when it comes to Bertin’s Nuts and Butters?
I fry the nuts in canola oil. A lot of people have a misconception about canola oil being unhealthy because a lot of the sources where people get their information from are actually suppliers of different types of cooking oil. That’s one thing people need to do a little bit more research on is actually the health benefits of canola oil. They need to look at the pros versus the cons.

What make you awesome? Why should people choose you?
Well first all of my stuff is fresh. A lot of people ask me, “Why should I buy this over something I would find in the grocery store?” Well, all of my stuff is fresh every week. The stuff that you are picking off of the shelf in the grocery store, who knows how long that has been on the shelf for. I consider myself an approachable person, friendly, outgoing and generally I get along with everyone so I just try to bring people in. Whether or not they buy from me I just enjoy talking to people.

How do you source your product?
I get them from a supplier in Montreal so unfortunately it is not a local vendor. The almonds are from California, the cashews are from Vietnam and all the peanuts are from Montreal. I order them all raw. I do packaged raw nuts. A lot of people, like health people, who aren’t into the canola oil and stuff, still like nuts so I sell them those. I have a deep fryer at home, I fry them in the canola oil and I also make butters. I add salt to half of the nuts and leave half unsalted.

How do you make the butter?
Once the nut is cooked then there are different processers you can use to create the butter. It just depends which processor you want to use.

Does anyone else sell your product?
Not that I know of. I heard of a guy up in Edmonton named Dane that does something similar, but then I also heard that he isn’t doing it anymore. Aside from that the only other person I know that is doing this is my uncle in New Brunswick.

How many markets do you attend?
I’ve been doing the ATB Downtown Market on Wednesdays, Innisfail and Blackfalds on Thursdays, Lacombe and Sylvan on Fridays, and The Red Deer Public Market Saturday then Bentley after when I can make it because they are so close to each other.

Do you have a favorite market?
I like the Sylvan one because that is where I have had the most success so far. Obviously Downtown Red Deer is like a transient place but, Sylvan just has a vibe. I sell natural products and I have found that a lot of people are definitely more health conscious in Sylvan, if that makes sense? I don’t want to call them hipsters, or hippies, but I find the lifestyle is why I have had success there so that is why I like it so much.

What is your favorite thing about the ATB Downtown Market?
The manager is very friendly and easy to deal with. It’s in a great location and has friendly vendors.

Do you like being Downtown?
Yeah I do! I don’t mind it, normally I am more of a country person and I like being outside but I don’t mind coming down here!

How did you find out about the ATB Downtown Market?
I found out about the ATB Downtown Market from one of the female managers from the Saturday Red Deer Public Market.

How long have you been here?
I was here two weeks ago but after 45 minutes we got rained out so this is my first full day.
I’m enjoying it its sporadic just like most markets. What I find is when there are people standing in front of your table it intrigues people to come over and all of a sudden you are busy. When there is no one in front of your table people just brush you off.

What advice would you give to people just starting out?
Find out all of the rules and regulations on your product. Especially as far as labeling and stuff. If you have food make sure you have the proper labeling. It would suck to spend money on something and find out that it’s wrong and have to redo it. Presentation is huge with whatever you have on display and how you display it. Also your approach to people, nobody wants to talk to a grumpy looking person. As long as you are saying hello to people and being friendly. You may not make sales but as long as people see you continually going through and showing your face every week they grow accustomed to you and then you are that much more likely to bring someone in for a sale. It also helps to have a good product.

How do you define success?
How do I define success? Success is what you want to make of it. For some people success is getting out of their crappy job and into something that they like doing. Money doesn’t necessarily be a factor. For me working in the oil patch isn’t an ideal job I just did it for the money. Coming into this I guess success would be being able to provide your family with the necessary means to get by but also just being happy with what you are doing.

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Feature Vendor Interview - ATB Downtown Market

Tuesday, August 11th 2015

 Feature Vendor of the week: The Lamb Lady
At last week’s market we caught up with Raelyn Warren, better known as The Lamb Lady.

What do you sell?
I sell lamb and Berkshire pork from our farm. We do specialty things with the lamb like lamb burgers lamb kabobs, dinner sausages, and regular cuts like chops. Everything we sell we have raised on our farm. We also take the wool products from our sheep and make pillows, comforters and socks out of it.

Does anyone else sell your product?
No, only I do. I sell them at the Farmer’s Markets and in the off season I sell off of the farm as well.

Where are you located?
I am just south of Benalto, about ten kilometers. We have sheep, pigs, cows and some crop land as well.

What is Berkshire pork?
Berkshire Pork is a heritage bread. It has more flavor to the taste. Most of it gets exported to the Japanese market and you’ll only usually find it at farmers markets or high end restaurants. The reason being is that it take a little longer to dress them out so the big guys aren’t interested in them but the flavor is just phenomenal.

What makes you awesome? Why should people choose you?
Why they should choose me? I have a unique product. We take lots of care in the feed that is fed to our animals. That probably why I have so many return customers. Our meat is delicious and healthy for you. It is all natural, we don’t use any antibiotics or other things that people don’t want in their food.

What is a “must try”?
The must try is the lamb kabobs. They are marinated in a souvlaki mix so they taste like Greek lamb, they are really delicious. On the Berkshire pork side, I would try the ham steaks. They are excellent.

What is your favorite thing that you sell?
I don’t think I have a favorite thing to sell. I enjoy talking about the farm and answering questions that people have.

Is there anything people need to be educated about when it come to your product?
Probably educated in regards to lamb. A lot of people have had negative experiences with lamb. Maybe they have eaten mutton or stuff like it so they don’t realize that Alberta lamb is actually very mild and tender. We do a lot of education with people in regards to lamb. The fact is there is a huge difference between Alberta Lamb and the stuff you get at the grocery store. The biggest difference is how they are raised. The flavor of the meat is definitely influenced by what the animal eats. What an animal eats gets passed on into the flavor and texture of its meat.

Do you get a lot of people who have never tried lamb before?
Yes actually! We have converted a lot of people over to lamb for sure! We have many products such as the lamb burgers, the Greek style kabobs and the sausages that enables people to try it without having to know much about it.

Is there an advantage to eating lamb?
Yes, the advantage to eating lamb is that it is high in protein and low in fat. If you meet up with a dietitian and they put you on a strict diet, most of them will suggest lamb as your red meat. That way you will get your protein and it is easy to digest.

Do you do your own butchering?
No. The regulations for meat are about 3 times stricter than those for a regular food producer. Everything needs to be government inspected and have a stamp. It has to be done by a provincially regulated facility. Basically we take our animals to our butcher and they do all of the processing then I take the stuff home when it is done and bring it to market to sell.

How did you start your business?
My husband has been a farmer his whole life and I have farmed for ten years, 6 of them in livestock.
We started about 5 years ago. I did a test market at Sylvan Lake then did 3 markets to see if there was some interest in lamb. We started with lamb then added pork. We went from three markets the first year to about 12 a year later. Once I decided there was enough market for it I started doing it full time. I do 6 markets in 5 days. I have been doing it full time for about three years now. It allows me to stay on the farm.

What other markets do you attend?
I do Spruce View Monday, this one Wednesday, Rocky Thursday, Lacombe and Sylvan Lake Friday on the same day and then I do Red Deer Public Market on Saturday.

Which is your favorite and why?
You know what? This one’s a great one! It really is, you get a chance to actually talk to people. This is a good market for me.

You seem to know everyone. Do you have a lot of repeat customers?
Yes! A lot of them from this market are definitely here weekly.

How did you hear about the ATB Downtown Market?
I googled it. When we decided to go full time I was looking for another market in the central area. I met up with Tyler, decided to try it out, joined and it was successful from day 1.

How long have you been with us?
This will be my third season at this particular market but I have been doing Farmer’s Markets for about five and a half years.

Do you like being Downtown?
Yes I do! This is a good market for me. It’s very neat that they close the two blocks, it kind of gives an intimate feeling for the market. I like the fact that its farmers and producers only. You don’t get caught up in the “who makes this?” argument. Everyone knows that all of the vendors here are producers and that I like.

You like that this is a Sunny Girl market?
Yes absolutely, I think that there is only one market that I do that isn’t. These types of market are more intimate with the customers.

What is your favorite thing about the ATB Downtown Market?
I would have to say my favorite thing is my repeat customers. I have gotten to know a lot of people, some of them by first name and some I know what they want when they come up to the booth. I also like the fact that it’s a little bit smaller market so you get more time to talk with people and answer questions. People get to know you and they will wave at you! Even when they aren’t buying anything they still get to know you and they will wave as they walk by. I get a lot of compliments and that’s awesome. They tell people about you and it is good for the market as well because then they tell people where to buy it.

You are here a lot. Do you have a favorite other vendor in the market or a favorite business on this street?
Well I have buddies here! We end up being buddies because there are whole bunch of us that go to the same markets. My buddy Beth over at Markerville Berry and Vegetable doesn’t live too far from me so we end up talking about hail storms all the time. My other buddy Nicole from Fresh Harvest Farms goes to quite a few of the same markets that I go to. We all end up helping each other out if one of us forgets something.
I know they aren’t on this street but the Red Boar Smokery, has excellent food! They try to source as much local as they can too!

What advice would you give to people just starting out?
Especially in the meat industry, do your research. Try it out a little bit. When I first started out I went to markets and found out the type of thing I was going to do. When we started doing lamb we knew we were going to do Farmer’s Markets. There are different breeds that have better meat so, we had to make sure that we bought the right breed. We did the same with the pork. The pork actually took a little longer. I went around to a bunch of Farmer’s Markets and found out that everyone sold Berkshire. It took us 9 months to find the breeding stock, add another 5 months before they can have babies and then another 4 months to grow. It was about a two year process before we were able to figure out exactly what we were going to do and then be able to bring it to the market. It was quite a process. Once I did my research I tried it out and I was able to figure out that I must have had a pretty good product because people kept coming back. Now I’m able to do it full time.

How do you define success?
I would say success would be doing something that you love. I love being with people, I love also having animals. You have to enjoy what you are doing. At the very end you have to be able to make money as well. A combination of all of that.

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Feature Vendor Interview - ATB Downtown Market

Wednesday, August 5th 2015

Feature vendor of the week: Pursuit Adventures

At last week’s market we caught up with Danielle and JP from Pursuit Adventures.

What do you sell?

Danielle: At the market we sell ice pops: handmade ice pops made with real fruits. Outside of the market we are actually a tour company. We offer hiking, sightseeing, snowshoeing, skiing and snowboarding day trips from Red Deer.

How did you start your business?

Danielle: We've been running tours for 5 years. This year we started making all the lunches and snacks for the tours. We wanted a refreshing treat for our guided hikes. We found that a lot of people wanted the refreshing treat without the hike so we started selling the ice pops at the local markets.

What is a “must try”?

Danielle: A must try I think is the lime. It has about half a lime in it and its super good.

What makes you awesome? Why should people choose Pursuit Adventures?

Danielle: We just are! Just kidding. What makes us awesome? Our simplicity. We like to keep the experience simple and delightful.

How do you make your ice pops?

JP: We keep it nice and simple. For example, the Raspberry Basil is a lot of raspberries and a little of our own simple syrup infused with basil. Nothing extra. We've started to post the recipes on our website for those who want to find out more.

What is your favorite thing that you sell?

JP: The Raspberry Honey Yogurt is my favorite ice pop.

Is there anything people need to be educated about when it comes to your line of work?

Danielle:
1. A hike is a delightful walk in the woods. Hiking is fun and it’s great to be outdoors.
2. You have to try the ice pops to know how good they are.
3. Popsicles is a trademark. That's why we call them ice pops.


Does anyone else sell your ice pops?

Danielle: Currently we are the only ones who sell them. We've been asked by a few store so there might be something coming there.

How many markets do you attend?

Danielle: A lot. We’ve got the ATB Downtown Market and Lacombe on Wednesdays, Rocky Mountain House Thursdays, Food Truck Fridays, Red Deer Public Market as well as Bentley on Saturdays and we'll be attending Innisfail on Tuesdays.

Do you have a favorite market?

Danielle: Downtown Red Deer because we like being interviewed. Its close, we can bike here.

JP: Actually I like the crowd. It’s been a fun crowd at the Wednesday Market. It’s really nice because a lot of the same people who come on tours are at the Wednesday market. It gives us a chance to catch up.

How did you first find out about the ATB Downtown Market?

JP: We are based Downtown and we are part of the Downtown Business Association. We weren't sure how many markets we could do when we started with the ice pop cart but Mike at True North Realty convinced us to give it a shot. We've been here since.

What is your favorite thing about being Downtown?

JP: Downtown has come such a long way in the last 5 or 6 years. We have been Downtown since we opened an office and between our office, the markets and living in Parkvale it's easy to get anywhere, you can walk to everything. There's a lot of good restaurants, shops and also great people.

Do you have a favorite business on this street or favorite other vendor in the market?

JP: I’m a really big fan of the chicken from Klein Farm. Their sausages are really good plus they usually have some ready for me to pick up on my way out. The baked goods from The Maple Tree are worth coming to the market for. We worked with our market neighbor, the Jelly Barn, to make some strawberry rhubarb pops. Those have been very popular and there's more feature pops coming.

What advice would you give to people just starting out?

JP: Keep it simple. Just get started and execute. Try different ideas. It'll be long hours, lots of work and everything will take longer than you'd like so pick something you're passionate about.

How do you define success?

Danielle: I think you just have to feel like you are successful. I know it sounds silly but you can’t set super high, really lofty goals and expect to get there on your first day. You have to be realistic and set targets and work towards them. Don't set your goals based on what other people think. Figure out what you need to be happy and work toward that. Again, keep it simple.

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Feature Vendor Interview - ATB Downtown Market

Tuesday, July 28th 2015

Feature vendor of the week: Medicine Hat Meat Traders
At last week’s market we caught up with Todd from Medicine Hat Meat Traders.

What do you sell?
We offer a soft beef jerky product in five different flavors

Where are you located?
The butcher, who is a friend of mine, makes the product in Medicine Hat, Alberta. He has a ranch about 5 minutes east of Medicine Hat. He built a meat processing facility there and he’s been a butcher for the last 8 years. I am located in Wetaskiwin and I have 11 markets from Innisfail to Edmonton. His wife does 5 markets in Calgary, Banff and Canmore. Him and his son produce it all and look after 3 markets, 2 in Medicine Hat and 1 in Lethbridge.

You do a lot of markets! Do you have a favorite?
Yes I do 11 myself but we have 19 markets in total and 3 retail outlets currently. St. Alberta in Edmonton is the busiest craziest market I have ever worked. I like Red Deer, it gets a good crowd but St. Albert is probably about 6 times what I do on my best market. It’s just a crazy market.

How was the business started?

My friend Greg Pahl who is the butcher and rancher, used to be a rancher full time. He wanted a change and decided he wanted to become a butcher. He took some courses at Olds College and became butcher. He sold his land and cattle to his brothers ranch, built a meat processing facility on his ranch and has been a butcher ever since. The beef jerky kind of took off after the first year and he’s been doing jerky non-stop every summer since.

What is a “must know” or “must try” from Medicine Hat Meat Traders?
Well, our jerky is little unique in that he grinds it, forms it, and smokes it so It is softer to chew than regular jerkies. You can try them all, we offer samples regularly every market and you can try all of the flavors. They are all gluten free, MSG free and soft to chew.

Which is your favorite?

All of them. I prefer the saltier ones, so the original and black pepper. Honey garlic is our best seller. Chipotle Lime won Best Alberta Jerky award in 2012 and the teriyaki has a very nice sweet smoky flavor and sell more than the other ones so they are all good.

What makes you awesome? Why should people choose Medicine Hat Meat Traders?

There are lots of jerky vendors at all of the markets and its personal preference, what you like and the traditional jerkies are chewier. Ours are just a unique product in that it’s soft to chew and has good flavor.
What do people need to be educated about when it comes to jerky?
That’s interesting. There is probably a good answer but I don’t have one off the top of my head.

Does anyone else sell your product?
There are always numerous jerky vendors but very few that offer a soft beef jerky that is ground and formed. Those that do have a different process than ours. Ours is just a little unique. You would have to come down and try them and see what they are like. Ours is just the unique soft jerky. They have other soft jerkies, for example the Lamb Lady down the street here has a jerky that is a little more like a sausage, and it’s very moist, very soft. There is the traditional jerky down the road which are very chewy they are very typical traditional jerkies like the ones you might buy in the stores. Ours is just soft and easy to chew.
He just got it into CO-OP, IGA and a convenience store in Medicine Hat this past year. He’s a small mom and pop operation and I don’t think he could produce enough to get it into all of the stores right now. This fall we are going to try and get it into the CO-OP’s in Calgary. There are 24 of them with gas bars but it’s yet to be seen if we can get in there or not.

Do you like being Downtown?
I love being Downtown! I think there is great traffic Downtown there is great volume, I get lots of people sampling the product, and it’s a nice atmosphere.

What is your favorite thing about this market?
Well, this market has not a lot of vendors but there is a lot of people who are interested in the products. They will stop and sample and they don’t just walk by and look. They are all interested in the product and are trying samples of everything.

How long have you been involved with the Downtown Market?
This is my first year here and I am quite happy with the volume and location.

How did you first hear about the Downtown Market?
I was actually looking at markets. I was interested in doing the Red Deer Market on Saturdays but then I ended up getting the St. Alberta Market up in Edmonton and it was a little bit busier of a market. When I had all of my markets lined up I got turned down for one in Edmonton and this was second on my that day so I picked this one and have been here ever since.

Is there anything you would like to see change about this market or Downtown?

The only thing I see about this market is that there is a lot of people down here with an interest, I would like to see more vendors. Participation is great, I think it’s a great market. There is lots of everything maybe a little bit more mix of things to buy and sell.

You are here a lot. Do you have a favorite business on the street or favorite other vendor?

Well you know I really like the smokies but the honey girl is probably the best one. Nixon Honey, they have a good product.
The bistro right across the street here has excellent products. I’ve tried their sandwiches and muffins and everything they’ve given me so far has been delicious. It’s kind of a hidden secret that one I think. The Bistro on Gaetz. Their muffins are outstanding.

What advice would you give people just starting out?
Well it takes a certain amount of time out of your life. You have to be able to deal with the elements and go in with a good product. I think you really need to be able to sample your product to the customers or be out in front trying to show them your product. You cannot just sit back and let them walk by you. You have to get out there and draw the people in. Put in the time. It’s a lot of work.

How do you define success?
Well, mine is more monetary. I am very happy with my job I think it’s a nice job that I stumbled into. It’s a lot easier and a lot more profitable than what I was doing before. It allows me my winters off. I’m happy with this job. What was the question, how do you define success? I define success as being happy with what you do.

Be sure to stop by Medicine Hat Meat Traders at this week’s ATB Downtown Market.
Find them online: http://www.mhmt.ca/MHMTJerky/Medicine_Hat_Meat_Traders.html
Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MedHatMeatTraders?fref=ts

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Art Alley returns to Downtown Red Deer

Thursday, July 23rd 2015

(Red Deer, AB) – Art Alley returns to Red Deer this summer for the second consecutive year. The project, responsible for the addition of five original murals to Downtown Red Deer in 2014, aims to bring three more to the alleys of our city before the end of the summer season.

“We’re thrilled to be able to support this project for another year, and to contribute to the continual revitalization of Red Deer’s Downtown,” said Amanda Gould, Executive Director for the Downtown Business Association.

A collaborative project between The City of Red Deer and the Downtown Business Association, Art Alley is the first project of its kind to transform the walls of Downtown Red Deer into a vibrant positive space for the community.

Three Downtown spaces will be “over-hauled” as part of the project this year, including Fratter’s Speakeasy Venue, CanWest Travel, and The Buffalo Hotel, leaving original hand-painted murals in place of plain alley walls.

A group of artists was selected earlier this year to design and complete the murals over the summer months. Designs were submitted to The City of Red Deer for approval before work began on the first of the three locations.

“Street art initiatives are thriving in cities across North America and throughout the world,” said Steve Woolrich, Project Coordinator. “Projects such as this support public art, revitalization and, most importantly, have the potential to create social change.”

The Downtown Business Association has been operating in Red Deer for over 30 years, serving approximately five-hundred business owners in the Downtown area. Through partnerships and leadership in advocacy and promotion, the DBA is the catalyst for a vibrant and prosperous downtown that is the place to live, work, play and do business.

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For more information, contact:

Amanda Gould
Executive Director
Red Deer Downtown Business Association
403-342-8692
amanda@downtownreddeer.com
www.downtownreddeer.com

Steve Woolrich
Art Alley Project Coordinator
403-392-8088
steve@targetcrime.ca

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