The fifth season of the annual Cranbrook Farmers’ Market came to a close and it’s being hailed as another successful year by organizers.
This year, the market started in June and ran for 17 Saturdays.
Erda Jensen-Shill, manager of the Cranbrook Farmers’ Market said that this was the longest season yet and also the most successful in terms of growth.
“The vendor and the community support has been fantastic and it’s allowing our market to sit in a really great place,” Jensen-Shill said. “We’re building on our success each year and it’s a really nice place to be as a market.
“Five years into it, I think it’s safe to say we’re headed in a really positive direction.”
Jensen-Shill has seen an increase in local area producers vending in the market lately as well.
“We’re getting more and more vendor support,” she said. “I’m especially happy with more growers from the region. That is fantastic. It’s what every farmer’s market is all about — local produce.”
She said for instance they have interest from a local pork and lamb producer in the Bull River area.
Last Saturday people were stocking up on all kinds of things — like garlic and onions for canning, pears and apple juice.
“Of course people were picking up pumpkin pies and things like that for their Thanksgiving table,” she said. “So it was a really nice way to wrap up our outdoor season as well.”
The markets also had great weather with Mother Nature co-operating on all but one Saturday.
“We only had one rainy market this season,” she said. “Market patrons still came out.”
The Cranbrook Farmers’ Market Committee is now planning for the fourth annual Winter Market on Nov. 29 and 30.
“It’s one of those things that became what I’m calling an instant tradition in Cranbrook and area,” Jensen-Shill said. “People have really taken to the idea of stocking up on their holiday meats and gifts, local baking, produce, jellies, that sort of thing for their holiday plans. They have just embraced it. So in conduction with the Santa Claus parade as per usual on the Friday night it will run from 5-9 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. We have a full house of vendors – 60 area vendors for third one and a wait list.”
Jensen-Shill said the markets can have a big effect on local economy. Last year, a study done in conjunction with B.C. Farmers’ Markets estimated that the markets can have a million dollar impact on the community. And that was with less markets on the schedule.
“I can only guess that it’s heading in an upward direction from there,” she said. “It’s having economic ripples from there. Then there is the spending that folks do when they come down for the market as well. It’s definitely a big impact in economic terms.”
Of course the market is social as well.
“It’s one of the cultural parts of the community for Cranbrook and area region for sure,” she said. “People love to come down and meet the neighbour, talk to the mayor and talk to the producers of the art or the wooden spoons or spoons or the squash or pumpkins that they are buying.”
The Cranbrook Farmers’ Market will be having its annual general meeting on Oct. 23 at the Manual Training Centre. Doors open at 6 p.m., potluck dinner at 6:30 p.m. and business portion of the meeting from 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.