The Cranbrook Farmer’s Market will once again be under blue skies as of 9:00 a.m. on June 23, when the market bell will toll, heralding the tenth outdoor season of this beloved community event.
The Market’s history stretches all the way back to an initiative taken by the Cranbrook Food Action Committee more than a decade ago. Supported by a dedicated team of volunteers and a grant from Columbia Basin Trust, The Cranbrook Farmer’s Market Society held its first market on July 4, 2009. Its mission has always been to support local food and craft producers, promote East Kootenay agriculture and to provide a meeting place for the community.
The outdoor market season will play host to numerous performers and musicians as well as fun, family-friendly activities amidst a setting of local food producers, growers and artisans who offer their hand-crafted, home made, locally grown and produced items.
“The Cranbrook Farmer’s Market has become so much more than a place to shop,” said Livia Lara, market manager. “It’s a place to connect with friends, to celebrate local business and farming, and to stroll with no set agenda. It is a place to learn things and meet people. The market provides an opportunity to surround yourself in Kootenay culture and enjoy the abundance of flavours, textures and talents it has given root to.”
As well as providing a social hub and a marketplace for artisans, small business owners and food producers to sell their wares, this weekly event provides an annual economic impact of approximately $1.6 million, according to an August 2017 market assessment. An estimated 2,200 customers visited each market, spending an average of $25.24 at summer and fall markets. Additionally, 78 per cent of market visitors also spent money in the same day at other downtown businesses.
In 2012, Cranbrook was accepted into a pilot coupon program to benefit low-income families, single mothers, seniors and at-risk youth. In conjunction with the BC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon program and local Community Connections, the Cranbrook Farmer’s market began providing $15 vouchers to be exchanged for fresh produce and locally-made foods to qualifying applicants. Last year, this ammounted to over 5,400 coupons worth $16,200 being distributed throughout the community.
Local classic rock band The Testers will perform on the first market on June 23, playing from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. The Testers are made up of Cranbrook residents Mark Terai, Andrew Rutledge and David Standing. Peerless bass player Dave Berger hails from Marysville and the newest bandmate Chris The Candyman Moon calls Kimberley home. The performance is sponsored by Spring Honda. There will also be a bouncy castle available for kids, sponsored by Baker Hill Dental.
“On average there are between 42-50 vendors a week,” said Lara. “This year, we celebrate the market’s past, present, and future. Hope to see you there.”
The Farmer’s Market takes place on 10th Avenue South by Rotary Park.