There is one alley in the Jean Talon market where you can come up with an entire, healthy diet of foods produced only in Quebec. I was thinking about this as I was gathering oysters and shrimp from the fishmonger, sausage from the pork farmers, organic vegetables, and grains from the greengrocer.
Of course, the market is much bigger than that. Traditionally open-air, people from across the city would come for the highest quality produce beginning in June through to October. Now the market has expanded with a larger indoor presence (they use removable walls so that in the summer these areas are open to the outside as well).
Jean Talon market is the kind of place where there is a vast choice, but I’d bet that most regulars end up with their favorite sellers. So whichever vendors I may suggest don’t necessarily reflect anything inherently better about the quality. The quality is almost always excellent. But if you’re going for fruits out of season, Marché Nino is your place. And towards the end of the summer, the sellers on the westernmost alley have the best bushels of peppers, apples, squash, and tomatoes.
The atmosphere in Jean Talon Market is convivial and festive. Shopping and hanging out here is a delight. A fun thing to do: go as the day comes to an end. The photo of these kids with boxes over their heads was taken just after closing time.