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What comes next? Local vendors prepare for the end of this year' Downtown Farmers' Market


Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market on lower Queen Street. Photo by Ezra Santana.

The lower end of Queen Street is bustling. It’s sunny and warm. Musicians sing and play. The wind blows occasionally, threatening to carry away anything lightweight at the Downtown Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market.

The smell of fresh produce, flowers and baked goods is in the air. Vendors busy themselves around their stalls. People walk everywhere, checking the stands, greeting acquaintances and friends, chitchatting.

A couple is walking their dog. A person in full wizard costume strolls up and down the street.

A family reaches the final stalls at the market. The dad turns to face his wife and kids.

“There. Have we checked everything?”

The Downtown Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market returned to Charlottetown for its 14th summer.

Open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays, it features more than 80 vendors, attracting about 3,000 visitors each Sunday.

Natasha MacDonald eats her lunch while chatting with a friend behind her stand. Her table setup is full of original stickers, crochet catnip toys, cat hats, earrings, among other handmade items.

She started the Glitter Ghost Shop in 2017 and decided to try out the Downtown Farmers’ Market that summer. She has been a participating vendor every year since.

The Holland College graduate did not get a job out of her degree in Video Game Art and Animation, but her love of art opened her eyes to the possibility of starting her own creative business.

She sells at other markets throughout the year because they help her get her name out there.

She is one of many vendors who attend the market to gain visibility and clients for the rest of the year.

“If you keep going to markets people kinda like ‘oh I didn’t have money at the last one’, but they come back because they’ve seen something that they wanted."

She also sells a few of her products all year round at Red Island Handcrafted in Charlottetown and does free local pickups when people contact her online.

“I would love to kinda have things switch over mainly to my art and then maybe just selling crochet patterns. It’s kinda the two main goals right now and it’s slowly tipping over that way.”
Natasha MacDonald (she/her) behind her stall at the Downtown Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market. Photo by Ezra Santana.

A few stalls down the street is Haley Cole, who is sitting behind her three-table setup full of decorated mugs, vases, bowls, ring-holders and other handmade pottery.

The Bonshaw resident was already selling products to friends and others on Instagram in 2020, but it was in 2021 that she officially started Haley Potter.

After teaching herself how to do pottery during the pandemic, she began to make custom mug orders and post them on her social media.

That was when she realized this was something she could do and after attending the downtown market for the first time in 2021, she decided to make this business her full-time job.

She’s also participated in other markets, especially during Christmas season.

“I would not be selling half as much stuff if it wasn’t for these markets. It just brings so many people to one spot.”

After this year’s Christmas markets, she’s headed for Canmore, Alberta, to open a community pottery studio where she will teach pottery lessons and setup a store at the front to sell her work.

“I’m really excited to grow."

She also sells online throughout the year.

Haley Cole (she/her) with her handmade mugs at Downtown Farmers’ Market. Photo by Ezra Santana.

In the middle of the food and produce section of the market is Jazlyn Syvret, with a stand full of original graphic prints, stickers and jewelry.

The Holland College Graphic Design graduate started her business in the second year of her program in 2019.

Her art is inspired by tattoo designs and ‘spooky stuff’, as well as lines from songs she listens to.

Her desire to get into markets was what got her into becoming a vendor at this year’s market. That decision has paid off.

“Everyone has been really lovely - everyone that has come by - and I already made my money back from what I did, so in that way it’s benefitting.”

She does not believe she would’ve grown her business at all without the market since P.E.I. is a small place and it is difficult to get your name out there.

“You can’t really grow your audience here that well unless you blow up on social media or something, which never happens here.”

She has other markets lined up, including next years’ downtown market if she’s approved as a returning vendor.

Jazlyn Syvret (she/her) and her stand full of original graphics at Downtown Farmers’ Market. Photo by Ezra Santana.

Back up the street is someone else new to the business world.

Julia Pagenkopf was a participating vendor at July’s Pride Market.

Originally from Germany, she now resides in Charlottetown and decided to learn pottery last year. Her business, TATA Ceramics, started this year, with the Pride Market being the first one she ever attended.

Being queer herself, she found out about the Pride Market and signed up for its 2023 edition. She even designed limited edition rainbow-patterned mugs for the event.

The former fashion designer and stylist brings inspiration from the fashion world onto her mugs, dishes, plant pots and other ceramic pieces. She uses colour combinations and patterns that are found in fashion, translating them into a different kind of creativity.

Other than the Pride Market, she has participated in Queen Street’s market for two Sundays this summer and is now preparing for other markets in Halifax and Charlottetown.

For her, markets like these are also extremely important.

“It’s almost my only way of selling my things because with pottery it’s really great to pick up the product and then decide if you want to buy it because they’re all so unique."

Julia Pagenkopf (she/her) with her fashion-inspired handmade mugs at Queen Street’s Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market. Photo by Ezra Santana.

This year’s market will be coming to an end on Sept. 24, but Downtown Charlottetown Inc. (DCI) is already making plans.

“We plan to continue to grow and expand the market, attracting talented local vendors and their customers to our beautiful downtown,” said Maria Maund, the Director of Operations for DCI.

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Hey, thanks for stopping by!

My name is Ezra (they/them) and I’m an aspiring storyteller who is half-way through a Journalism and Communications program at Holland College, P.E.I. 

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