Farmer’s market needs participation

The Barriere Farmers market offers a local and accessible option for both producers and consumers to generate and receive wholesome, quality locally produced foods and products.  

Donna Brown puts up her canopy on a windy day at a 2010 Barriere Farmer’s Market.  Brown and Cindy Stutt are encouraging other area vendors and producers to join them for the 2011 season at the Market.

Donna Brown puts up her canopy on a windy day at a 2010 Barriere Farmer’s Market. Brown and Cindy Stutt are encouraging other area vendors and producers to join them for the 2011 season at the Market.

The Barriere Farmers market offers a local and accessible option for both producers and consumers to generate and receive wholesome, quality locally produced foods and products.  

The focus is on creating an environment where local farmers and craftspeople can come together to offer the people of Barriere and surrounding areas, a one-stop-shop for a variety of local items.  The Market strives to offer a wide variety of goods, from locally raised and processed natural meats, to crisp fresh vegetables, to quality built cedar trellises.

The Barriere Farmer’s Market has been in operation since 2004, and in this time has undergone a few location and time changes to better target potential customers.  Currently, the Market is held in the grass area in front of Barr K Treats on the Yellowhead Highway.  Starting the first week in May, and running until the last week of October, the Market operates every Thursday morning, (rain or shine) from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.  

In recent years, the Market has become quite the spot for locals to enjoy their Thursday morning coffee as they visit the vendors, stopping to chat with friends, while the children run and play in the lawn surrounding the market tents.  

Shoppers may be gathering their groceries for the week, filling their flower beds, enjoying a delicious treat, or looking for that unique gift.  

However, no matter the reason for the visit, these shoppers are always pleased with the quality of the product they are receiving and the knowledge and dedication the vendors carry in regards to the products they sell.

Recent government regulations have been imposed to the types, processes and presentations of the goods and wares that have traditionally been available at the Market.  This has unfortunately discourages some former and potential vendors from continuing, or deciding to market their products.  

However, this should not discourage anyone from the Market.  These rules and regulations may seem overwhelming to begin with, but the governing bodies are more than accommodating to work with potential producers to develop a system that will suit both parties.  

Just ask any of our current vendors that sell any type of food products and they will be able to tell you the process.

In the past, the vendor roll call of the Barriere Farmer’s Market has consisted of a small handful of dedicated producers.  These producers can be counted on to be present at the Market for just about every day of the market season.  

Other vendors may bring their wares on a limited schedule, whether it be related to their particular crop season, amount of product they have to offer, personal time limitations, or a wide variety of other situations.  Formerly, this has not been a problem, as the market has always worked on a week-to-week basis.

However, for the upcoming market season, the financial requirements for basic operation have expanded to a point that the market may be in jeopardy.  

Fees for BC Farmer’s Market Membership, liability insurance, and a municipal business license must be honoured before the first market day.  This is where the Market needs commitment from vendors in the form of an annual fee to help cover these mandatory operating costs.  

If the Market does not receive enough funds to cover these costs prior to the beginning of the season, the market will not be able to operate.  

A commitment from a limited number of vendors would provide the Market with the required funds to operate for another season.  This annual fee would replace the weekly table fee previously collected at each market.  Other vendors would still be able to attend on a week-to-week basis with the moneys collected going towards next year’s operating costs.

It would be a shame to see the Barriere Farmer’s Market close the gates due to lack of commitment from potential vendors, as the Market is a step forward in bringing local entrepreneurs and consumers together. Barriere and surrounding areas have the potential to become more locally sustainable by providing and benefiting from local food and wares.  

If you have ever thought about, or know someone who has thought about selling at the Market, now is the time.  Whether you are a farmer, an artist, a skilled tradesperson, or have any other hidden talents that you have ever wanted to market to your fellow residents, the Barriere Farmer’s Market has a spot for you.  

If you have any questions, want some advice on how to get involved, or need an encouraging conversation to get you committed, any of our dedicated regulars will be happy to help.  

More than ever, the door is open to any person interested in marketing their wares to the public, and as always, such additions are warmly welcomed.

If you have any questions, please feel free to phone Donna Brown at Watersmeet Farm, 250-672-5159, or Cindy Stutt at 4 Bar S Ranch, 250-672-5919.