Popular market back for fifth year

Cranbrook Farmers’ Market starts this Saturday next to Rotary Park

You know it’s summer when the Cranbrook Farmers’ Market begins, and that’s about to happen on Saturday, June 22.

This year’s farmers’ market will run for 17 consecutive Saturdays – beginning after Sam Steele Days and running every Saturday until Thanksgiving, October 12.

Until the end of August, the market will be on from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. In September and October, the hours will be 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“We are headed into the fifth year of operation, so we are very excited about that,” said market manager Erna Jensen-Shill.

“It’s looking again like another wonderful season. We have a lot of the favourite vendors coming back. People come to rely on their favourite borscht and their favourite vegetable growers,” she said.

“And then we’ve got some fun new ones as well – a gal that is making frozen fruit popsicles and we’re going to have smoothies at the market this year. So there are a few new treats to look forward to.”

This Saturday, the vendors who are kicking off the market will be selling goods such as artwork, pizza, pies, soap, veggies, pottery, bread, aromatherapy, cupcakes, mustard, toys, jewellery and honey.

You can also enjoy live music as you peruse the stalls, with busking encouraged.

“The crowd enjoys them and generally they walk home with some dollars in their jeans, so it’s a real win-win. It brings a great atmosphere to the market and musicians enjoy the experience as well,” said Jensen-Shill.

The market will go on whether there’s sunshine or rain – although so far they’ve been lucky.

“Surprisingly in my four years of managing the market, we have not had inclement weather on a Saturday,” said Jensen-Shill. “We can only hope that will continue into this year, but yes, we are a rain or shine market.

“If it happens, it’s a wonderful opportunity for people to drag out their rain boots and umbrellas.”

For the first time this year, the B.C. Association of Farmers’ Markets is providing funding for a nutrition coupon program. Through Bellies to Babies and the Women’s Resource Centre, low-income families with children, and seniors are offered $15 coupons to spend at the Cranbrook Farmers’ Market.

“They get coupons to come down and purchase fresh locally made produce. It’s a great program,” said Jensen-Shill.

When the market wraps up each Saturday, patrons can take a few steps into Rotary Park for the Summer Sounds concert series, running from June 22 to August 17. Organized by the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel, the series will bring local musicians to the stage from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. every Saturday.

“We are happy to be a part of a whole package for Saturday downtown in Cranbrook. People can come out and enjoy the market, grab some lunch and stick around for some music in the park and make a real day of it,” said Jensen-Shill.

There will also be two night markets this season: one on Wednesday, July 17, and one on Wednesday, August 14, from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Rotary Park.

“We are focusing on making those celebrations of local food, local producers, growers, makers, bakers, just a real emphasis on celebrating the local and having a downtown party along with the farmers’ market,” said Jensen-Shill.

Live music at the July night market will be provided by The Rosie Brown Band, “a group of local area women who make some wonderful bluegrass, catchy, fun music,” said Jensen-Shill. The August night market will feature an open mic night arranged by the Cranbrook and District Arts Council.

The farmers’ market has become a Saturday morning tradition in Cranbrook.

“Patrons come out to enjoy the locally made, baked and grown experience, hook up with their neighbours and have a chat on the street. It’s a real meeting place. It’s very well supported and we’re so proud to be a part of that,” said Jensen-Shill.