The Brockville Farmers’ Market has been in existence long before Confederation and is proudly celebrating its 184th year in operation this year.
The market originated in 1833 as an outdoor market, and over the years, it took on varying forms of both an indoor and outdoor market with different venues, including what is now known as the South Section of City Hall. The present day market is conveniently located on Market Street running May to November on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 8 am to 1 pm. Special Christmas markets have been held at the Brockville Museum, the Rowing Club and Wall Street Church over the years allowing locals to stock up on their favourites one more time before the winter.
With over 50 vendors providing everything from fresh produce and baked goods to frozen meat and uniquely crafted creations The Brockville Farmers’ Market has something for everyone. The pride that the market vendors have in their offerings is palpable and justifiably so. The quality and customer service you receive when making a purchase from these highly skilled entrepreneurs can’t be beaten and explains their loyal local following. It’s no surprise that the market as a whole was awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year Award by The Leeds and Grenville Small Business Enterprise Centre in 2010.
Indeed the market vendors should be commended for not only their skill but their dedication to their product and the people of Brockville. The participation of a Farmers’ market vendor is not something taken on on a whim. These hardworking business owners have spent hours, days, weeks and months, growing, preparing or making their product so that we can enjoy the fruits of their labour. Nothing about being a vendor is easy as they stand out in all kinds of weather conditions, giving up every Saturday to provide others with the products they desire.
This Spring and Summer the rainy days have far outweighed the sunny ones, however with tents in tow, positive attitudes and smiling faces the vendors display their wares even in the harshest downpours. In fact, those producers that provide fruits and vegetables must brave whatever weather precedes market day to pick, wash, sort and prepare their produce so that it will be ready for the next morning. Those who bake like Laurie Barcier from Our Little Secret is known for baking through the night to ensure she is providing her customers with the freshest baked goods possible.
As a person who was a vendor myself some years ago, I can say that the appreciation felt for those die hard customers who show their loyalty by attending the market even in the rain and the downright dismal days is what keeps the vendors motivated. The deep desire to provide people with healthy, fresh produce is another motivating factor held by a number of vendors including my Mother Gale Banks owner and partner of Corn Acre Farms and who incidentally is presently one of the longest attending vendors for 30+ years. At 71 years young she exemplifies what the Farmers’ Market stands for providing farm fresh food for your family. During the main Summer selling season, Mom can be found at her stand with not only her Grandson (my son) Cody and her Granddaughter Jaycee helping her, but she often has her Great Granddaughter Callie (my Granddaughter) in training alongside her.
Mom feels it is important to encourage the younger generation and therefore often persuades young entrepreneurs to join the market as vendors. “The more vendors and the more selection there is on the market, the better it is for everyone. With more selection comes more customers and it is a win-win for everyone” says, Mom. Along with the buy local movement that has grown in popularity over the past few years the market has grown in both the number of vendors and the number of consumers. The market has even provided an important starting platform for many young participants of the Summer Company program which is delivered by Leeds Grenville Small Business Enterprise Centre. Entrepreneurs of all ages have embraced the opportunity to provide those attending the market with a vast array of products.
Sarah Gibbons from Gibbons Family Farm has expanded her products from the traditional jug of maple syrup to maple cotton candy for the kids and maple flavoured salad dressing for the adult who wants a splash of something sweet. Margaret Plume of Vista Farm offers something equally sweet with her local honey and beeswax candles as well as her innovative beeswax food wraps, lotions, and lip balms. Gluten free baked goods are also available from Johanne Wessel of Jo’s Creations & Gluten Free for those with special dietary needs like myself. Local frozen lamb and beautifully wooden cutting boards and bowls from James Hall and Marc Poirier owners of Le Saladier - Jamar Farm are also on site.
Beautiful flower bouquets which make a great gift for that someone special can be purchased from Brokor Greenhouses. Treat yourself to a funky bracelet or fun poncho by local artist Judy Todd of Allthingzenergy, who brings a creative flair to whatever she touches. Take your sweetheart home a one of a kind kiln-fired glass pendant necklace from Uniquely Yours by Chuck and Janet Abrams. Don’t forget to grab an apple pie from local producers Chris and Kim Hall for those family gatherings at the cottage. You will need some yummy preserves from Grandma & Grandpa Jams & Jellies for breakfast or for the perfect hostess gift.
There is no end to the delicious food you will find whether its pork from Haanover Farms, berries from Tincap Berry Farm, Super Sweet corn from Corn Acre Farms, samosas from Aubin Farms or organic salad greens from Roots Down. You can even find something for your four legged friends to eat at Rob Seto’s stand, White Paws Canada.
The list of products available is much too long to list and really should be seen in person to be truly appreciated. Take a morning and discover all there is that The Brockville Farmers’ Market has to offer. I assure you, you won't be disappointed you did. You might even find yourself becoming a regular because food tastes so much better when its fresh, flowers last longer when just picked and smiling faces are a great start to any day!
For a full listing of the market vendors click here. or for more information on the market check out www.brockvillefarmersmarket.ca or follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Brockville.Farmers.Market/ or contact Rob Harsh the Market Manager who is always available on the market.