There is no better way to do farm-to-table ingredients than the Penticton Farmers’ Market on a Saturday morning according to organizers.
“I think so. Farmers literally pull produce out of the ground or are picking from their trees in the days before and bringing it straight to the market. It is neat that we have the freshest possible produce in the valley,” said Erin Trainer, manager of the Penticton Farmers’ Market. “We have one vendor from Naramata that literally picks cherries that morning before he comes and sometimes has to leave his table to go pick more and come back that same day to sell them.”
This weekend the downtown streets will be packed with vendors, as the 24th Penticton Farmers’ Market and the Downtown Penticton Community Market open for the season.
Farm fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers, honey, eggs, home made baking, preserves and crafts all produced in the South Okanagan/Similkameen region will be available for sale from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Penticton Farmers’ Market. Nearly 50 vendors are returning this season, as well as several casual vendors.
Trainer said not only does the Farmers’ Market attract the general public but local restaurateurs also shop there.
“Joy Road Catering is one of our vendors and they send staff down to get their produce for the week for their catering. Then we have people like Chef Paul (Cecconi) from Brodo Kitchen, who purchases ingredients and sometimes does chef demonstrations,” said Trainer. “I think it is a real selling feature to be able to say they purchase their ingredients locally and for people to know the food they are eating came from just down the road. The fresh, local produce just tastes better and you get a connection meeting the farmers. The whole experience makes you feel part of the community.”
First out this season is asparagus, kale, spinach, salad greens and juice.
“Our farmers have been working hard over the winter and spring, and we’re excited for the market to begin. I’m looking forward to seeing all of our regular customers and many new faces,” said Farmers’ Market president Moses Brown. “This venue provides a great opportunity for small scale farmers to sell their locally grown produce.”
Organizers said the Farmers’ Market is one of the South Okanagan’s most popular attractions and to celebrate the opening weekend the first 20 customers to visit the Farmer’s Market information tent at 8:30 a.m. will receive a free Penticton Farmer’s Market cloth shopping bag.
One small change happening at the Penticton Farmer’s Market this year is the information booth will no longer be selling bottled water. They are encouraging customers to bring their water with them because of the amount of bottles they are finding on the grounds after the market closes.
The Farmers’ Market is open every Saturday until Oct. 25 in the 100 block of Main Street.
The Downtown Community Market is one of the biggest of it’s kind in the Okanagan, with hundreds of vendors featuring handmade goods including clothing, food, jewellry, collectables, antiques and furniture. There is also live music and entertainment.
The Downtown Community Market also kicks off this weekend and runs Saturday’s until Oct. 11 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. It spans multiple blocks in the downtown core with nearly 200 vendors, non-profit groups, clubs and agencies.