A Fine Sunday Afternoon
With the recent talk about the municipality holding a rural summit in 2016 and a local food charter being considered at an upcoming Committee of the Whole meeting, it seems like a logical time to check in on the Kemptville Farmers’ Market and see how things are going in the B&H parking lot.
After talking with several vendors and local food lovers, it appears things are going quite well for the market this season. Just last week they had 48 vendors at the market which is the most they’ve ever had. It appears their goal of 50+ vendors this season is closer than originally thought. The great news about that is, the majority of summer produce is not even available yet. This season, the market would like to start applying for different resources that are available through Farmers’ Markets Ontario. FMO has many tools and information that could help the market not just grow, but operate more efficiently, do more effective marketing and improve in many other areas.
There’s a big variety of vendors at the market this season. Some of the returning prepared food vendors have expanded their offerings to include foods that are hot and ready to eat. For example, you’ve got several options for lunch now, so you can eat while you browse. There’s also four regular protein producers who come to the market with a variety of meats. Local Oxford Mills farmer Luke Swale of Earth’s Harvest Farms has chickens that are always in high demand by foodies. However, produce vendors drive farmers’ markets, so hopefully once the summer produce starts getting harvested, there will be a few more produce vendors like long time participant Rideau Pines Farm joining the market.
The market couldn’t happen each week without the efforts of dedicated volunteers. Rob Harsh is one of those volunteers. Rob is both a member of the farmers’ market executive and is also the market manager. He volunteers many hours each week communicating with vendors, doing social media, creating the site plan so the vendors know where to set up and physically setting up and taking down the tents, picnic tables, chairs, tables and other equipment that’s necessary so the market can happen every Sunday. He and his little band of setup volunteers are out there working rain or shine.
The music at the market this year has been excellent. There have been a wide variety of different music styles performed already this year including country, rock, folk, blues, roots and Celtic. Local favourites like Bella Borealis, Fiddlehead Soup and George Buys have already made appearances and will hopefully be returning to the market stage soon. Tia has done a great job of scheduling performers so far this season and hopefully will grace the stage soon again herself. Sitting on a picnic table in the shade, sipping on a citrus flavoured soda from ‘When Life Hands You Lemons’ and listening to George play one of his harmonicas is a great way to spend some time on a Sunday afternoon.