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Fredericton, the capital of New Brunswick, a Canadian Maritime province, is not the kind of place where you'd expect a savory, colorful, high-energy outdoor farmers’ market.
But while it’s not Marrakesh or Istanbul, it does have a very cool, complete market with lots of exciting colors and smells.
You can watch the 1-minute Fredericton Travel Video PostCard here.
Outside the air is redolent with smoky barbeque mostly from Elke’s Truck ( Huge Sausages, “Bratwurst With Lots of Garlic $3.50”), mixing with Kangs Chinese stall ( “Spring Rolls and Wanton Specialties”) and the nearby Thai Food Stand ( “Delicious Pad Thai $5.50; Chicken Curry Rice $5.00” ).
Then of course the add the tangy smell of souvlaki ( $7.00) at The Taste of Greek and the “taste off” at Chickadee Larder to determine the best whole grain mustard, and you’re already smiling and only just a few feet into the Fredericton Farmers’ Market, considered one of Canada’s top 10.
New Brunswick has lots of surprises for curious visitors. It’s the only province in the confederation that is constitutionally bilingual, and has a wonderful mix of unspoiled nature and active cities, like Fredericton.
Inside, the cavernous market is jammed with all kinds of fresh produce and the sweetness of fresh- baked goods like the breads at Ezekiel’s. Using wheat barley, beans and lentils (check out Ezekiel 4:9 in the Bible), the bakery’s goods are made of ancient grains and the breads snuggle against rows and rows of oranges, deep green avocados, scented pineapples and mounds of bright red plump strawberries.
My favorite, and everyone else’s too, it seems, is the Cheese Market, not far from Stone Works where for 6 bucks you can get the first blade of your pocket knife sharpened, and a buck fifty for each blade thereafter.
Looking for French cheeses or Scandinavian ( Havarti, Lappi or Danish Blue), this is the place. How about Goat Milk Cheese (Tomme De Chevre, Feta)? It’s next to the Holland cheeses, next to the black olives and the rich selection of Swiss and Farm House cheeses.
There’s a raised platform that serves huge breakfasts of fresh omelets and home fries and good coffee. But I was mesmerized by Sam the Juice Man where lines of blenders were whirling and clunking away turning piles of bright oranges into fresh-squeezed orange juice, making a dramatic sculpture of used oranges, piled higher and higher, almost toppling onto the deep blues and reds of the berry stalls.
It was fun to be back outside and breathe in the mingled smoke of so many ethnic foods. But now the plants and flowers were out in rows, and ladies were showing off hand-spun socks and mittens for the cold New Brunswick winters.
The people are so good natured, as I have known them to be throughout the provinces, and in fact, throughout Canada, if I can generalize.
I passed tables filled with newly-picked rhubarb and beets and bunches of carrots, watched a group of actors in costume promoting a play of some kind, and enjoyed the good-spirited, excited mix of French and English and much laughter.
I wanted a lobster roll very badly but knew we were heading to the small island of Grand Manan, known for its lobster, so I bought jar of jam instead, some mix of berries. Didn’t matter exactly what kind, I was just very happy to have been here at the Fredericton Farmers’ Market.
Before leaving Fredericton, walk a few blocks and stop in at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery a quiet, unassuming museum by the St. John River. Like most of the province, it’s a quiet treasure.