What a remarkable one this past weekend was for North Grenville. The Dandelion Festival was another success enjoyed by young and old alike. The weather co-operated mostly except it may have been a little too windy for those folks involved in the festival who didn’t bring Titanic-sized anchors for their tents. However, hats off to the organizers, volunteers and many participants who were able to pull off a great event despite some obstacles leading up to and the morning of the festival.
On Sunday at noon, the first Kemptville Kinsmen Farmers’ Market of the season kicked off in grand style. For those who attended the market on opening day last year, they would have noticed a remarkable difference from last year to this year. According to Rob Harsh, a member of the executive of the farmers’ market, this year’s first market of the season was double in size to last year’s opening. This year’s opening market had 32 vendors (not including several empty spots where some vendors were no shows) and last year’s had only 16 vendors. The size of the layout of the market was also noticeably larger as well with more room in the middle of the market area for sitting on picnic tables for those who wanted to rest in the shade, have a bite to eat or stop and listen to the live music.
The live music was quite impressive as well. The first entertainer was newcomer Daniel Wentworth who with his voice and guitar demonstrated a wide range of talent and who clearly had a large songbook to choose from. The second entertainer was local legend George Buys who never fails to entertain with his harmonicas, guitar and original material. George’s song ‘Chicken Cordon Blues’ seemed to be a particular favourite of those in attendance.
The variety of vendors was also very impressive for the opening market of the season. There were some of the standbys from last season like Frank’s Bakery, George’s Lebanese Foods, Earth’s Harvest Farm, Purely Elemental and Siam Kitchen among others. Some of the vendors from last year have obviously been working hard and added some new products and services to their offerings this year. The market also had a number of new and original vendors like Suite 12 Custom Cupcakes and Medieval Marvels & Creations. Going over the roster with Rob Harsh, he estimated that 16 of the market’s 32 vendors were actually brand new vendors at the market for the first time. There now seems to be something for just about everyone at the farmers’ market.
It sounds like the Kemptville Kinsmen Farmers’ Market is starting on it’s way to surpassing last year’s success. Rob expects to have as many as 50 vendors at one time during the market season this year. It’s definitely come a long way from the parking lot of the Branch restaurant.
Speaking of the Branch restaurant, chef Bruce Enloe (former president of the farmers’ market) recently accepted the position of general manager of the Two Rivers Food Hub in Smiths Falls. With Bruce’s passion for food, experience and knowledge of food operations, there’s no doubt he’ll be very successful in his new role. Congratulations to Bruce! This means that North Grenville will now have someone living locally who will be very influential in the Eastern Ontario local food scene and who’ll be an excellent resource for information on local food initiatives. So far, while working in his new role, Bruce intends to still be the chef at the Branch temporarily until he can find another experienced chef to help his wife Nicole at the restaurant.
There seems to be a lot to get excited about lately as far as the local food scene in North Grenville. Come out to the farmers’ market and see for yourself what the fuss is all about.