The most popular vendors are those that bring out the fresh vegetables and fruit, most notably an area Hutterite colony. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Local Farmers Market making a great go of it

Bashaw market getting great support from businesses, customers

Despite a summer filled with a lot of rain, the Bashaw Farmers Market has grown measure of success.

The market, which moved last year to the tourist booth site, has attracted more vendors this season and the customers have followed suit.

Market manager Laurie Hall explained things have been good this year so far in spite of the wet, soggy weather.

“This past week was the largest number of vendors — 14 — we’ve had this year, even with the weather not having been the best at times,” she said.

“The majority of the vendors are our regulars and the customers show up for them, but we have seen a few new ones starting to show up and we occasionally get some dropping in for a week or more.”

Vendors that have fruit and vegetables are by far the most popular during the growing season, but those with baking and other goodies also do a brisk business each week.

The move to the welcoming space at cultural centre and Heritage Park has proven successful.

Both because there is a lot of room for vendors — inside the former tourist booth, cover for more vendors under the picnic shell and lots of space available in the park.

And with more vendors come more customers, some venturing quite a distance to catch their favourite goods.

“We’ve been so lucky to have this space, through the support of the town as well as the Bashaw Agricultural Society, Bashaw District Support Services and the Bashaw Area Recreation Board,” Hall added.

“There is a lot of great space, the indoor space is good when the weather isn’t and the playground is excellent for the customers when they bring their children as well as for those vendors that bring their kids along.”

Another measure that shows the market is reaching further than just Bashaw — that is being promoted by a regional food directory.

Food Artisans of Camrose County, a group formed to encourage people to eat and shop local, has included the market in its campaign and was at the Aug. 9 market to showcase all of the farms, gardens and stores — including Bashaw Meats.

While the group handed out information, it also hosted a draw with various donated items from the vendors on hand at the Bashaw Farmers Market.

“We are so lucky to have the Food Artisans of Camrose County select us to be part of their focus,” Hall said.

“It allows us another outlet to advertise ourselves throughout the region aside from just word of mouth and social media.”

The market runs on Fridays from 4 to 7 p.m. and this week (Aug. 16) helps kick off two agricultural celebrations, Camrose County’s Prairie Fun Days as well as Alberta’s Open Farm Days.

Prairie Fun Days (Aug. 17 and 18) are meant to showcase the offerings of 10 of the county’s via a bus tour, while Open Farm Days have various events and operations for the public to drop in to check out the foods and how agriculture runs.

Vendors for the Bashaw Farmers Market are encouraged to contact Hall by either calling (780) 678-9224 or through their Facebook page @bashawfarmersmarket.

Tickets and information for the Prairie Fun Days tours are available at www.tourismcamrose.com and everything you need to know about Open Farm Days, including suggested road trips, is at www.albertafarmdays.ca.

 

Fresh baked goods and desserts are also a favourite at the market, as are the vendors that now offer Interact tap and credit card payments. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

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