Whether you’re a grower, a maker, craftsman, or baker, the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor wants your local products at their first ever farmer’s market.
Town Councillor Jean Buffett-Mercer made the announcement at Tuesday’s council meeting that the market, which has been in the planning stages for several months, would kick off on June 30.
According to Coun. Buffett-Mercer, the opening day of the market, which will be located across from the Town Hall where the old Co-op used to be, will coincide with the Town’s yearly High Street flea market. For the rest of the summer and into early fall, the farmers market, which has been given the motto “make it, bake it, grow it,” will take place every Saturday starting at 10 a.m.
“We’re very excited about it, and we have 12 producers who are already on board,” said Coun. Buffett-Mercer, adding that the producers are a combination of farmers and craftspeople.
For now, the market will be held outside in tents the Town already has in its possession for use in other events, but eventually she said they would like to apply for funding for a more permanent structure.
Coun. Buffett-Mercer has attended several markets in other places in Canada, including one in Ottawa, and said the Town has tried to structure their farmer’s market on the best practices of others.
“This will be a win-win situation for the town, it’s a win for the farmers because they get their money immediately and it cuts out the middle man, and it’s a win for the consumer because they get the freshest produce,” she said.
Dr. Michael Bland is a local farmer of several different types of produce; he will be selling his local free-range, grass-fed beef at this year’s farmer’s market.
Bland has only recently gotten his herd to the proper size to start producing beef for regular sale. He was approached by the Town earlier this year to be one of the farmer’s market’s regular producers.
“I’ve always been encouraging people to eat local products grown with as little chemical or additives as possible,” said Bland.
He said buying locally means the consumer can speak with the producer, and know for certain they’re not consuming anything that is harmful to them.
“In other places where there are markets like this, especially in England where I come from originally, they’ve become very popular,” he said. “You get produce that is much fresher than what you’d get at the store.”
Bland said he is looking forward to participating in this new endeavor, and hopes the competition offered by the farmer’s market will stimulate more stores and restaurants in the area to start carrying local produce.
According to Coun. Buffett-Mercer, farmers markets are growing in popularity across the country because they’re easy to do and the spin-off is huge.
“Last year in Nova Scotia, farmer’s markets kicked 14 million dollars into the economy,” she said.
And with the variety of unique produce available in the area, from cranberries and strawberries to flowers and fresh fish, the possibilities for special themed markets are endless.
“As the season goes on you can have a mini-strawberry festival, or pumpkin carving contests in the fall, we can do seasonal things,” said Coun. Buffett-Mercer.
She said council would like to see the market become not only a great plug for local produce, but a social event as well.
“We’d like to see it become a cultural and social event for the town,” she said. “You can come down, meet your friends, have a coffee…we’re (even hoping) to have face painting for the kids.”
While Coun. Buffett-Mercer said the committee is still working on some logistics, she encourages any producers or craftspeople interested in selling their products to get in touch with the town.
She is also hoping for some help from the public in coming up with a catchy name for the farmer’s market, and said the Town might even hold a contest to see who can come up with the most creative name. Anyone with ideas can feel free to contact the Town.
“We can’t wait to get it off the ground,” she said. “We’re hoping it’s going to be very successful.”