The Island’s cherished traditions of farming and fishing have played a significant role in shaping Charlottetown, and typically we would celebrate this tradition with Farm Day in the City each year in early October. This year, unfortunately, we are unable to proceed with the beloved day due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Sad times, for sure. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still take in the abundance of local, fresh food available at farmers’ markets, restaurants, and local shops throughout the city. In doing so, you’ll quickly discover why Prince Edward Island is, indeed, Canada’s Food Island.
MID-TOWN: A must-visit is the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market, where mingling is as popular a pastime as shopping for farm-fresh items. This longstanding market features over 70 vendors, including farmers, artisan food producers, hot (and cold – think oysters!) food vendors, crafters, and artisans. It currently runs as an open-air market to encourage physical distancing and is open Saturdays (8am-1pm) throughout the year. A new feature (in light of Covid-19) this year includes their online market, which means you can pre-order your favourite local goodies from Saturday at 5pm until noon on Tuesday of each week, and pick them up from 2 – 6pm on Thursdays.
DOWNTOWN: Every Sunday throughout the summer (July – Sept, 11am – 4pm), the Downtown Farmers’ Market tempts locals and visitors in search of homemade treats, local produce, a hot lunch, artisan wares, and more. Starting at Grafton Street, the market lines lower Queen St. and offers a physically distant, relaxed and friendly shopping experience that is Island through and through.
HARBOURSIDE: New in spring 2019, Founders’ Food Hall & Market is the perfect waterfront oasis for food-lovers. Located in one of the city’s most stunning historic spaces, this urban market features several local food vendors serving up high-quality food and drink, including locally-roasted coffee, craft beer, amazing vegan cuisine (trust us, you won’t even miss the meat!), from-scratch pizza, ice cream, gourmet chocolate, and funky donuts.
Beyond the city limits, you’ll find plenty more options to buy local food at seasonal markets, shops, and even at some farms. Keep your eyes peeled while driving along PEI’s highways and backroads, as it’s common to happen upon farmstands set up roadside. Typically unattended, these inviting stands offer seasonal treats, including famous PEI potatoes, juicy strawberries, Island honey, crunchy apples, and other homegrown goods. Just be sure you bring some change to leave in the cash box! The honour system is alive & well on Prince Edward Island.
You’ll also be delighted by the treasure trove of local and specialty food shops in the city, including Kent Street Market, Riverview Country Market, Gallant’s & Co., Liquid Gold, and Anne of Green Gables Chocolates. At these shops and farmers’ markets, you’ll discover a wide array of artisan food products, such as local beef jerky, take-away lunches, fresh artisan bread, hormone-free meats, gouda cheese, preserves made with PEI berries, free-range eggs, craft sodas, handmade chocolates, creamy fauxmage (vegan cheese), organic kombucha, and more!