For the past couple of months, my Friday morning segments on CBC Edmonton AM have focused on travelling through food. I’ve talked about Spain, Prague, Ireland and Vietnam. This post is not connected with CBC; it’s about realizing that when it comes to food, Edmontonians can travel the entire globe right here at home at the indoor Bountiful Market (3696 – 97 Street). It’s open year round and the diversity of vendors is staggering.

Over 20 countries are represented directly, but in total, probably closer to 100—a vendor, like Khodiyar Spices, for example, carries product from more than 10 countries; and, El Chorizo Latino features a several Latin American sausages and even one from Spain. John at El Chorizo takes great pride in these sausages that he learned how to make from his Argentinian uncle and rightfully so. One bite of the chistorra, a pepperoni-like sausage from the Basque country, literally stopped me in my tracks. I wish I’d bought more.

Left: Alberta Donair/ Center: El Chorizo Latino/ Right: La Catrina

I found almost everything I needed for my Greece-inspired dinner here: lamb from Four Whistle Farms, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers from Lacombe Fresh, and potatoes from Greens Eggs and Ham. I also got everything needed for the next day’s breakfast: Rockridge Dairy organic milk, and eggs from Sylvan Star, bacon from Irvings Farm Fresh, and sourdough bread from The Farmhouse Bakery.

Right now, there are 104 vendors with more coming on board in May when the growing season really starts to bloom. A full list of vendors can be found here.

Regarding COVID restrictions: The building that houses Bountiful is 46,000 square feet in total (39,000 on the main floor for vendors with and other 7,000 feet upstairs for future craft and class space) and that means in a perfect world, this space could accommodate some 1170 people. Right now, only 150 people are allowed in at a time so even at its busiest, this market doesn’t feel crowded. As well, extra janitorial staff has been hired to wipe down high traffic areas, the tables in the food court are placed further apart, the aisles are wide between vendors, and the floors are well-marked with one-way arrows for safer traffic flow. And of course, all customers, staff and vendors must wear masks.

Also good to know: Bountiful Market offers online shopping for curbside pickup or delivery. 

The variety at Bountiful means that you can find everything needed to make a meal from scratch or to eat or feed your family for a week: bread, milk, cheese, produce, meats, fish, spices, coffee, tea, spirts, (fruit) wine and beer, and more. I’d suggest you come and have breakfast or lunch from any one of the seven permanent “restaurants” in the food court, and then do your shopping.

Seven restaurants serve a variety of foods in Bountiful’s Food Court. Bottom left: Dragon Salad Rolls and won ton soup from Mala Foods; Right: quesadillas from Frida Antojitos Mexicanos

Some of my all-time favourite food vendors are here plus I was thrilled to discover new businesses that I didn’t know existed, and what’s more, I found items for gifts, and foods I can’t wait to eat again.

Top L: Rocky Mountain Bighorn Distillery/ Top R: a snapshot of vendors/ Bottom L: Greens Eggs & Ham/ Bottom R: Alberta Wagyu from Alberta Bison Ranch

Click here for a map of vendors, or peruse the website for more information on where to park, hours of operation, updated news, and to subscribe to the newsletter.

I am happy to promote this market and all the good vendors who are a part of it. Now, more than ever, we need to support our local producers, farmers, and small businesses. Check out my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter feed for more.