by Edith Cody-Rice 

Amanda and Rick Herrera, two Almonte based food entrepreneurs, opened North Market two years ago and since the outset have been doing a land office business in a gourmet catering, takeout and cafe business. They have located themselves in the old Palms location on Mill Street, a venue which residents were already patronizing to get coffee, simple meals and to relax with friends or simply to read in a corner.

Covid hit them on March 16. They closed. On March 18 they reopened for take out which brought a satisfying response, and on July 17, they opened the Mill Street space, reverting to their original concept: a marketplace for good food (made on site) and a selection of specialty items brought in from local farms and specialty providers. The response has been spectacular. They are busy, have rehired all their full time staff (a chef and two front of shop assistants) and as Amanda confided, even before they were open their landlord was asking “are you open yet”. I asked was this because he wanted the rent and Amanda rejoindered “NO. He wanted the FOOD.”

MM residents crave North Market’s food and other delicious offerings. During the pandemic, the province mandated if that if retailers with a liquor licence were offering food, even on a takeout basis, they could sell alcohol to accompany it, so the Herreras have brought in selected bio-dynamic and organic wines and ciders, not available at the LCBO, to complement their meals. Caution though, you cannot buy the wines without food.

They offer homemade dishes, dips, dressings, appetizers, soups, dried pasta, a deli counter, bulk baked goods in addition to the deli counter sandwiches and salads.

They have planted a raised bed vegetable garden out back of the store, a first for Mill Street and an example of what can be accomplished with creativity.

The pandemic has been hard on our local restaurants but the Herreras have come through with flying colours, due to creativity and delicious offerings.