Connect with local growers and producers
A growing number of communities throughout the East Kootenay are hosting farmers’ markets in the summer months to the delight of people enjoying locally grown produce.
Some run weekly, some even twice a week; some have been around for decades and some are still in their toddler years - what the all offer are things grown, baked or made locally.
The Jaffray-Baynes Lake Farmers’ Market opened its doors for the 21st season last Saturday, June 18, at the Baynes Lake Community Center. It will be held every Saturday from 9 am to 12:30 pm until the Labour Day long weekend.
In addition to the garden produce, honey, fruit, wooden furniture, toys, garden planters, eggs, knitted items, children’s clothes, jewelry, quilts and many other items available for purchase this market offers a great opportunity to connect with friends, neighbours and visitors to the South Country. From 8:30 to 11 am, the Baynes Lake Lions also host a pancake breakfast.
The Farmers’ Market in Cranbrook is still growing to its full potential as its going into the third season. Around 40 vendors will populate the area around Cranbrook’s Spirit Square every Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm.
“We’ve got more growers that are coming on board this year,” says market manager Erna Jensen-Shill. She adds, vendors range anywhere from backyard growers, to new businesses and established farmers.
Jensen-Shill has seen many businesses start up or expand as a result of the market. She says the farmers’ market gives growers an opportunity to test out their products. “It helps the growers to find out what the consumers are interested in,” she explains.
Jensen-Shill gives an example from last season with the newly established Purcell Organics from Kimberley. The vendors intent was to bring herbs, fruit, vegetable and teas. “Shannon and Christopher started bringing a few bouquets of sunflowers,” Jense-Shill remebers. They sold out immediately and the initial by-product became a huge market hit for the couple.
Farmers’ markets, Jensen-Shill points out, provide a place for producers and consumers to meet face-to-face. “I do encourage vendors to let people know about their story,” she says. Shoppers, she has found over the past two years, love to learn about where their food comes from and who produces it.
“As we grow as a market and the word is spreading and we get the people out [...] I think we are headed in a good direction in terms of the local economy,” Jensen-Shill states. Over the last few years, she adds, the media have focused quite a lot of attention on promoting local food production with projects such as the 100 Mile Diet. “The old appeal of farmers’ markets, combined with those ideas, it’s really opened the door, it’s opened people’s minds and desire to buy local products.”
In addition to the Jaffray-Baynes Lake and the Cranbrook Farmers’ Markets, there are the:
Creston Valley Farmers’ Market
(Saturday, 8 am to 12 pm and Wednesday 3:30 to 6:30 pm - more info at www.crestonvalleyfarmersmarket.ca)
Fernie Mountain Market
(Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm and a Wednesday Night Market from 3 to 8 pm - more at www.mountainmarket.ca)
Invermere Farmers’ Market
(Saturday 9 am to 1 pm)