This Sunday, the popular Queen Square Farmers Market will be making its return to uptown Saint John.
The market, which will take place every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. until mid-October, is an opportunity for locals to get together friends, get some groceries, find something new and try some new delicious food.
Though a lot of favourite vendors will be returning this year, there are also some new ones. Here is a look at five of them you should check out:
Saint John chef Matthew Elliott has been hosting pop-up restaurants around the city over the last several months to showcase his elevated New Brunswick home-style cooking as he gets ready to open a brick and mortar location next year. But now people will be able to get a classic, locally sourced meals for Ethel and Mary’s every Sunday.
Elliott will be serving up a classic bacon and egg breakfast sammy with cheese, with locally sourced bacon and eggs, and a vegan sammy with pan roasted, seasoned tomatoes, vegan cheese sauce and fresh greens from Highfield Farms. For lunch, they’ll offer a grilled chicken club sandwich with Spring Meadows chicken and locally sourced bacon, greens and tomatoes. There will also be salad options, coffee and Elliott’s freshly baked Dulse Bread.
“For me, I look at it as a great way to introduce people to who we are and what kind of food we make, and what our values are. A very simple breakfast and lunch using great quality ingredients, which is something you will be able to find at our restaurant next year,” says Elliot. “On top of that, the vibe at the Queen Square Farmers Market is so so great and I couldn’t be happier to be there.”
2) La Perrita Gordita
La Perrita Gordita will be offering fresh tacos every Sunday. The options will rotate weekly and feature one meat option and one vegetarian option each week. Among the options will include carnitas, al pastor, haloumi, smoky sweet potatoes, pickled radishes and lime cilantro crema.
Ashley Anderson, who runs the business with her husband Josh, says the idea to start a taco stand came from the regular taco and pizza nights they had with friends at their home.
“Josh is from California and misses the fresh tacos that are available on practically every corner,” says Anderson. “We have a great group of friends who love to congregate for pizza nights and taco Tuesdays and we’d love to bring that vibe to the public.”
They’re hoping that La Perrita Gordita (which means “the chubby puppy”, named after their dog, Harvey) will bring some something fresh and different to the market.
“Don’t get us wrong, we love a tex mex hard shell taco with cheese and lettuce, but we want to bring the fresh flavours of pico de gallo, créma, ceviche and handmade corn tortillas to the market,” says Anderson.
They won’t be there the first week but the long-time customers of the market are excited to serve customers themselves in the weeks to come.
“We live uptown and visit the market nearly every weekend with our daughter in tow and we are friends with some of the other vendors so we are thrilled to be joining the party!”
Maggie Scott is on a mission to show New Brunswickers that vegan products can be delicious too. Her business, Scottage Cheeze, offers an incredible variety of dairy-free and vegan cheeses that have a fan base of both vegans and non-vegans alike.
At the Queen Square Farmers Market, Scott will offer a variety of spreads, dips, cheeses and a powdered vegan parmesan.
“The most popular product is the roasted red pepper dipping spread. It’s good on toast, you can put it on your chili [for] chip dip,” says Scott. “People use it for anything and everything. Actually, people buy it an put in on their chicken, you can do anything with it, it’s so good.”
Often, vegan food gets a bad rep for not tasting good. Scott hopes to change that by getting her product out to more people. Still unsure about it? She will also be offering free samples upon request.
“That’s my big thing. I just want people, not just vegans, to know that it’s good. You can find vegan dairy-free food that actually is delicious,” she says. “I just want to get that out there … I want more people trying the product because once they try it, they’re hooked.”
4) Shaino’s Jamaican Cuisine
Jamaican native Shane Parkinson moved to Canada five years ago with his wife and two daughters. After completing his Red Seal Certification this past winter after studying culinary at NBCC St. Andrews, he’s ready to bring his take on Jamaican cuisine to the Saint John area.
“I love cooking the Jamaican food I grew up with, it’s so flavorful and speaks to my culture,” says Parkinson. “Shaino’s Jamaican Cuisine is my take on this food, my twist is the refinement that I learned in school and adding my own flare.”
Shaino’s Jamaican Cuisine will offer dishes such as Jamaican Curried Chicken, Jamaican Jerk Pork, Jamaican Jerk Chicken and Jamaican Patties (Veg and Curried Chicken) served with Coconut Dipping Sauce. Parkinson isn’t able to be there for the market’s opening weekend, but keep an eye out for him in the weeks to come.
“I am looking forward to sharing my food and meeting new people and hopefully build a fan base,” says Parkinson. “I hope people are brought back to the Island when they taste my food. I will be watching which foods people enjoy most developing my food to one day open a restaurant.”
If you’re looking for a special last minute gift for your mom (or yourself) on Sunday, you may want to check out Sid and Oliver. The business, owned by Michelle Gallant, offers beautiful hand-made, mix-media jewelry and gifts.
“I have crafted beautiful pendants, earrings and bracelets, some as stand-alone items, sometimes as a set,” says Gallant. “I will also have coasters sold as a group of 4 where they all share the same colours, but each with its own pattern and trivets done in the same style for decorating your dinner table for that special occasion.”
Gallant hopes her experience at the market will help bring her business to the next level.
“It’s nice to get out meet folks and share the experience of the market and my craft,” she says. “I plan to use the experience gained to propel the business to the next steps which would be either a small studio in uptown and or distributing my jewelry to other shops in the area who may be interested.”