Airdrie Farmers Market offers locals great selection
Dietz Meats and Italian Extra Catering make it five years running in Airdrie
Healthy, homemade and one-of-a-kind are the keys to success for two mainstays at the Airdrie Farmers Market.
Dietz Meats and Italian Extra Catering have been coming to Airdrie for the past four years and are now in their fifth tour at the market. This year, the market moved from the Airdrie Legion to the Plainsmen Arena where 150 businesses are expected to come out between the June 5 kickoff to October.
Of the 150 expected, 36 will be there on a full-time basis, on-site at the Plainsmen Arena every Wednesday.
James Dietz, owner of Dietz Meats, and Cesare Siviglia, owner of Italian Extra Catering, are two of those 36, and have carved out a niche for themselves in the Airdrie market.
Dietz Meats operates out of Redcliff, Alberta and sells an array of healthy and lean sausages, pepperoni and beef jerky, all from old family recipes. For James Dietz, travelling around the province and working out of farmers markets are a way of life.
“I have a little store and butcher shop in Redcliff but it’s been pretty slow in there,” said Dietz. “For me, these markets are very important.”
The travel schedule is hectic for Dietz to say the least, as he only has about two days a week away from markets to re-stock his truck before hitting the road again. On Tuesdays it’s Northlands Mall in Calgary, Wednesday is Airdrie, Friday Dietz is in Strathmore, then off to Cochrane on Saturday and Bearspaw on Sunday.
“That’s part of what makes my products preferred and keeps customers coming back,” said Dietz. “My stock is never more than a week to 10 days old and in the summer when it gets really busy, you’re getting meats that were prepared the day before, so it’s always fresh. The sausages are gluten-free, have no MSG or filler and are only 15 per cent fat, I don’t think you can find a leaner or healthier sausage.”
For Cesare Siviglia of Italian Extra Catering, it’s much of the same, as he subscribes to the credo that fresh, healthy and homemade are the best way to go when it comes to food.
“Everything is very fresh that I sell,” said Siviglia, who specializes in pasta sauces, bruschetta, olive spread, olive oil and fresh focaccia bread, “nothing is more than a week old and the bruschetta and focaccia are made the morning of the market.”
Siviglia’s recipes have been passed down through generations to now where he sells the finished products out of his home in Calgary.
“These are my grandma’s recipes, she used to sell these same things at her store in Calabria (Italy), then they were passed down to my mother and to me,” said Siviglia, who moved to Calgary in 1969, where he and his wife Lucia opened a store, selling the same products he is selling today.
Both Dietz and Siviglia have garnered a strong reputation and loyal customer base that has kept them coming back year after year.
Having a reputable product and regular customers is one thing, but the two are savvy when it comes to attracting new customers, handing out free samples of their wares.
“It’s a bit of an advantage to sell products like sausages or jerky,” said Dietz.
“I hand out loonie-sized samples of sausage, I didn’t do it one year and my business took a bit of a dip; with products like fruit though its always different based on the season and you don’t really know what you’re getting, it’s not as if you can take a bite out of an apple and decide you don’t like it and put it back.”
The community of Airdrie has been kind to the business owners, who say they feel welcome when they pass through town.
“I have made friends here because of this market,” said Siviglia.
“I have people who come to the market just to see me and to buy from me.”
Dietz echoed Siviglia’s sentiments, stating Airdrie’s loyalty is second to none.
“I get regulars everywhere I go, but they’re very prevalent here in Airdrie,” said Dietz.
“I get a strong response and the customers come rain or shine.”