Farmers packed up their produce one last time in downtown Penticton on Saturday at the final outdoor market of the year.
About 40 vendors turned out for the last sale of the 25-week season.
Cawston grower James Duperron, who has sold at the Penticton event for two decades, is looking forward to some time off, but not until after he shifts his attention to a winter market in Vancouver.
“I could do it every Saturday there if I wanted, right through the winter, but I quit Dec. 14. There’s a holiday market where I sell all my dried fruits and jams, then after that I take a break until the end of February,” he explained.
Duperron, whose farm is called Ambercott Acres, busies himself through the winter months with orchard chores like pruning fruit trees.
“I enjoy the down time, but it’s nice to get back (to the market) though,” he said.
“After you come back in May, everybody’s eager.
“It’s part of the lifestyle.
“It’s not just a job.”
Penticton man Ryan Austman, a regular market customer, said he’s disappointed to see the end of the season because it helps him support local farmers and give his kids “a good connection to food.”
He’s unsure how they’ll spend next Saturday morning.
“I don’t know,” Austman said. “Relax. Eat waffles.”
Erick Thompson, assistant manager of the Penticton Farmers’ Market, said although the number of vendors had dwindled gradually from a high of about 80 at the summer peak, he was pleased with the turnout from buyers and sellers at the tail end of the season.
“It’s been pretty strong for October, considering the weather isn’t ideal,” Thompson said.
“We’ve noticed a lot of regulars coming out. This is the grocery store for them.”
He said a focus next season will be on adding cooking demonstrations, like a trial version this month that featured chef Paul Cecconi from Brodo Kitchen.
“The idea with that is you take the vegetables, the produce, fruit, whatever is available at that time of year and that’s what the chef uses to cook,” Thompson said.
A video of Cecconi’s demonstration is available on Youtube.
While the outdoor markets are now finished, there will be four indoor sessions between now and Christmas at the Shatford Centre.
Sale dates are Nov. 2, 16 and 30, and Dec. 21, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.