The end of summer usually marks the end of one of Victoria’s favourite pastimes: the farmers’ market.
But as of this weekend, conscientious shoppers will be able to satisfy their “shop local” itch year-round at the Victoria Public Market at The Hudson, an indoor market in the basement of the iconic Hudson building on Douglas Street.
“We’re still working on a green grocer and talking to a few interested butchers, but we’ve got an amazing list of vendors,” said market general manager Maryanne Carmack.
One of those vendors is The French Oven, run by Nick Castro and Sandra Van Vliet. The couple began selling their traditional French pastries at farmers’ markets around the Capital Region this past summer, and are making their first brick-and-mortar leap into The Hudson this weekend.
Foodies well-versed in Vancouver’s culinary scene will be pleased to see the addition of Vij’s Sutra, an Indian fusion vendor offering mostly takeaway products from the renowned Vij’s Restaurant.
“We’ll also do a small, hot rotating menu,” said Mike Bernardo, Vij’s operations director. “We have a chicken and chickpea curry, navy bean and kale curry … and of course, our housemade chai and our famous ginger lemon drink.”
At the market’s grand opening Saturday (Sept. 14), Vij’s owner Vikram Vij will be one of several chefs showcasing their culinary expertise in the community kitchen, a rentable space created with a grant from VanCity.
“There are a limited number of kitchens available for rent on the Island, so we really wanted to offer a facility where people can do canning, bread making – any food production,” Carmack said. “We’ll also be introducing kids’ programming once we get up and going.”
The public market was originally slated to open last spring, but construction delays and a lack of suitable vendors pushed the date to this fall, Carmack said.
Confirmed vendors include Silk Road Tea, Salt Spring Island Cheese, LaCocina de Mama Oli, Island Spice Trade, Roast and Victoria Pie Co.
The grand opening kicks off at 10 a.m. on Saturday and includes musical acts, kids’ activities and a Lifecycles gardening information station. For a full list of vendors and operating hours, visit victoriapublicmarket.com.