It started as a humble collection of stalls outside what’s now the Engine Room, 40 years ago.
Today, crowds of people congregate at the Truro Farmers' Market every Saturday, snapping up everything from local wines to Indian curries, and fresh locally grown produce.
“I think the big difference would be the amount of ethnic foods – the Indian, the tacos and things that weren’t commonplace every-day foods back then, but well-enjoyed by people now,” said market manager Margaret Ells Congdon.
The farmers' market celebrated its 40th birthday on Sept. 21 with a cake inside the former fire hall at Civic Square, its current home.
But there was little time for partying as it was business as usual for the market’s dozens of vendors and hundreds of customers.
One of those vendors is Tony Dueck of Dueck’s Produce, whose business trades in kale, spinach, large onions, broccoli and anything else edible and green.
His family has sold their fresh vegetables, harvested every week, for more than 30 years. While they were not present when the market began in 1979, the Duecks are still old hands in Truro.
For Dueck, business begins with a 4 a.m. wakeup at their farm in Upper Kennetcook. Next, he and his relatives load up their truck with the week’s fresh produce and drive the 45 minutes to Truro.
All going to plan, their stall is ready for business when the market opens at 8 a.m.
“It always seems to be too early,” said Dueck. “It’s been a very economical way of retailing our produce.”
Ells Congdon said the farmers' market has helped nurture a number of such businesses over the years.
Examples include The India Hut and Great British Grub, whose owners started out by selling their food in the market.
Today, they are popular restaurants in their own right – and more local businesses may yet take root in future.
“We have a waiting list of vendors to join us, which is awesome,” said Ells Congdon. “I’m proud to just be a small part in fostering and creating a relationship between the growers and producers and the customers.”
The market has enjoyed support from the Town of Truro over the years, helping it grow.
After starting in the car park next to today’s Engine Room, the market moved to the lot outside the present-day MacQuarries Pharmasave store. It then moved to a third location near what is now the former Margolians store, where the town gave them a canopy.
The market finally moved into the former fire hall at 15 Young Street, its current location, in 2012.