I arrive just after 8 and the place is already a buzz with activity. I’ve come to meet a friend and do a spin around Sault Ste. Marie’s newest public market at 35 Canal Drive. Instead what ends up happening is four hours of sophisticated loitering. Nothing quite says Saturday morning like a cup of steaming hot joe. Luckily the young ladies at Cafe Natura are brewing locally roasted coffee from St. Joseph’s Island. Naturally I opt for the Mill Market blend whose black square label sums up the progressively simple essence of the brand in less than two words. MILL MRKT is the beginning of all things good in the Sault and this coffee is the perfect accompaniment to celebrate this glorious change.
We wander from stand to stand, talk to the vendors, try a taste of Don Manchur’s maple syrup and buy some farm fresh eggs and a bunch of lilacs from Gawas Farms. I see dozens of people I recognize and hundreds of faces I don’t. With people constantly circulating in and out of the building the place quickly warms up and the scarf and jean jacket I wore to ward off the damp chill of the old fish hatchery building soon come off. I stroll around the market with ease as if this place has always been here. I’m sure that this down to earth vibe, where everyone feels they belong, explains at least in part, the market’s immediate success. When it comes to great public spaces the recipe looks something like this, One part: people who want to be with people One part: hard working people who are determined to make big visions a reality.
It’s nice to see that people in the Sault are no exception. They get it. People here like almost every other place I can think of in the world, like to spend time with family and friends, eat well and strengthen their local economy. The best thing about a farmers’ market is that it can happen all in one place.
In addition to the farm fresh, artisan craft and eat-on-site vendors Mill Market hosts two food trucks The Gnarly Bistro and Holley De’s, live musicians playing inside and out, and a funky interactive bug museum called Entomica.
Mill Market is open Wednesdays 3pm-7pm and Saturdays 8am-2pm. Am I going to be there every week this summer? I hope so!