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Farmers market moves back to Lansdowne Sunday

"When the ribbon is cut at Ottawa’s Farmers’ Christmas Market at Lansdowne on Sunday, it will not only be a homecoming celebration complete with hot local apple cider and Christmas goodies, it will mark the start of the first year-round, indoor, producer-based market for Ottawa.

After Sunday, the Christmas Market will run Saturdays and Sundays Dec. 6 and 7, and 13 and 14, then vacate for just three weeks before the farmers market reopens Jan. 11 for the first time as a regular indoor winter market.

“For Ottawa-area farmers this is the start of something stable and very big,” said Andy Terauds, president of Ottawa Farmers’ Market. “It will change the way people farm, knowing that they can sell reliably year-round. We’ll start small, but grow over the years as the capacity to grow winter crops and store and preserve produce increases.”

The farmers market will operate out of the historic Aberdeen Pavilion — effectionately known as the Cattle Castle — until May 1, when it will move outdoors, close to where it operated until three years ago, when it moved to Brewer Park while Lansdowne was under redevelopment. Markets will continue in Westboro on Saturdays and Orléans on Fridays. In summer, for the first time, the market will operate at Lansdowne three days a week: Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

“This is a very big step, and it’s taken us nine seasons to get to it,” said Terauds, noting that the Ottawa Farmers’ Market is now the biggest producer-based farmers’ market in Ontario, if not Canada.

While January markets are expected to be smaller, with 30 to 40 vendors, the Christmas Market will fill the Cattle Castle, with about 120 vendors. “We have every space filled, which we’ve not done before,” says Terauds. “We’re already having to turn vendors away. It’s going to be an exciting few days.”

The 116-year-old Victorian exhibition hall will be decorated with 25 Christmas trees; carollers and other musicians will entertain, and vendors will compete for best decorated stand.

Still, the move is not without worries.

“There are a lot of unknowns and anxiety with any move,” says Terauds. “We’re moving into a space with no visibility from the street and with a big food store between us and Bank Street.""

Source: Laura Robin, Ottawa Citizen. November 29, 2014