The first Farmers’ Market of the year in Penticton on April 20 saw a great turnout, with attendees soaking up the sunshine while they shopped for local goods and produce.
Scheduled to take place in the 100 block on Main Street every Saturday going forward, the market manager Kathryn Harris only anticipates the market will get busier and busier. Harris is new to the role this year, but said it was an easy transition due to her prior experience helping past manager Erin Trainer.
“For the past six years, Erin was the market’s manager and I had worked with her for the last couple years, just filling in when she needed the extra help,” said Harris. “I made the transition to manager when she stepped down after last year. It’s been really good, I’ve been really fortunate that I’ve been involved with the market prior to now–I know a lot of the vendors that are involved already.
“It’s been pretty smooth sailing. I was born and raised in Penticton so I’m excited to be a part of something that’s such a huge fixture in the community.”
Harris said the market has about 50 annual members and 30 casual members that rotate throughout the market, depending on the week. She said this first event had about 30 vendors in total.
“We had snow up until a month ago, so for a lot of people it’s still a slow start to the spring,” said Harris. “But it’s been beautiful down here (today) and the turnout has been great,” said Harris.
Gordon Forbes, of Forbes Family Farm which won the 2018 Farmers’ Market Vendor of the Year award for Best in BC Farmers’ Markets, said while they did have a slow start due to the colder winter, they still had a lot to offer at the first market.
“With our starter plants, it was a bit tough. Everything was behind, and we don’t heat our greenhouse or anything like that so it was a little tough getting the plants going early,” said Forbes. “So [today] we stuck with more of the greens that can go outside, things like broccoli and kale, they can handle the cold and the bit of frost.”
Forbes said his booth was quite busy, with many customers picking up a bottle of his specialty hot sauce or fresh spices.
Not only was this the first Penticton Farmers’ Market Jacqueline Hood, of Sticks and Stones Original Jewelry, has attended, it’s her first market, period. The new business owner was happy to get a spot in the market this year as a casual vendor, and said she plans to have her booth featuring semi-precious stone jewelry at a handful of the markets throughout the summer and fall.
“We’ve only been making our jewelry since November . We heard that the Penticton market was huge and had lots of exposure,” said Hood, who noted that her husband was a huge help in putting their booth together, quickly building displays for the jewelry. “We weren’t sure how it would go over, so we couldn’t commit to be a full-time vendor. So we’re going to come down for maybe five Saturdays.
“It was a not bad [first Saturday], we’ve had lots of people looking. And we sold maybe nine items so I’d say we did alright. We had a lot more space than we thought we had.”
Attendees are advised that the road closure for the 100 block of Main Street on Saturday’s is from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. to allow vendors to set up and dismantle their booths.
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