The Woolwich Observer

Gearing up for the taste of local

Elmira Farmers Market now taking on vendors with neighbourh­ood focus ahead of opening for the season May 4

- Julian Gavaghan

LIKE WITH THE FLOW ERS SHE grows, Chrissy Arjune knows it’s spring when the Elmira Farmers Market returns.

The weekly showcase of local produce, baked goods, blooms and crafts comes back on May 4 and the vendor is hoping for another bumper season 21 years after it was launched.

So far, 30 full- and parttime stallholde­rs have signed up for the Saturday market, which organizers hope will be held at the former Crossroads Restaurant parking lot at the intersecti­on of Arthur Street and Listowel Road.

Arjune, who will also be selling a range of organic vegetables and starter kits for gardeners to grow their own, wants to encourage others to join her at the weekly attraction.

“This market is special in the way that we set up and take down together,” said the farmer, whose produce includes lettuce, radish, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, garlic and herbs.

“It’s not one vendor for themselves. There is a community feeling the whole time,” she added.

Amy Elliott, who started helping to organize the market after beginning a card-selling stall in 2021, agrees and adds that this feeling transcends to customers as well.

“I think that it’s a wonderful opportunit­y for people in Woolwich to see what’s local to them.”

She said that their craft-focused Makers Market on May 25 would be a good day for vendors to try for the first time at a cost of $30 for the day.

There will also be a Fall Harvest Market on September 14.

Full-time vendors pay $320 for the season, which runs until October 26.

Arjune, who also plans to open a pick-your-own flower business in a field she rents near the Arthur Street roundabout in St Jacobs, said the Elmira market offers something others don’t.

“You can park really close, it’s accessible for elderly or disabled, while with the busier markets, it’s a little more awkward to be able to manage to get in.

“I feel like we offer a service to the community as well. But at the same

time like we enjoy it just because we enjoy talking with everyone here.

“They’re our neighbours, right? So it’s a small-town feel and that’s what I love. I’m actually selling to my neighbours.”

The attraction, which can draw up to 1,000 people a week, was the brainchild of Allan Martin.

“This market has always been a passion of mine to make it work,” said Martin.

The manager, who works in a trucking firm office during the week, says the secret of its longevity and success is both the quality of the goods that are sold and where they come from.

“We are very stringent on the products we sell,” he explained. “They have to fit under the category ‘We make it, we bake it or we grow it’.

“We are very strictly a local farmers’ market. Everything you will find there is produced locally and that has helped us grow to where we are today.”

He also said the market has a lot more variety now than when it first began in 2003 in the Wyatt Street parking lot, with crafts and flowers adding to the home-baked treats, meats and produce.

The market has been in several spots in Elmira, most recently moving last year from the parking lot on William Street to the former Crossroads site.

He said another difference now compared to two decades ago is vendors coming to sell freshly-picked fruit from the Niagara Region when it’s at its ripest during the summer.

The Elmira Farmers Market will be open every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. between May 4 to October 26.

For more informatio­n, visit www.elmirafarm­

 ?? Julian Gavaghan ?? Chrissy Arjune and Amy Elliott are calling for vendors to join them at the “we make it, we grow it, we bake it” market.
Julian Gavaghan Chrissy Arjune and Amy Elliott are calling for vendors to join them at the “we make it, we grow it, we bake it” market.

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