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Market mayhem starts in May
Lovers of the Cranbrook Farmer's Market will have a handful of extra weeks this year to pick up locally made, baked and grown goods in a community atmosphere.
This year, the market will kick off with a three-week spring pre-season, starting on May 31. It will run for three weeks at 1114 Baker Street, before taking a one-week hiatus over Sam Steele Days, then returning with the regular market season on 10th Avenue South from June 28 until Thanksgiving weekend.
"Patrons love the market and as soon as the snow starts melting, people are asking, 'When is the market starting?'" said market manager Erna Jensen-Shill.
For the past two years, there has been a hugely popular one-day-only spring market in May, held at the Curling Club.
"This year, we've got some of our growers primed for getting ready for that very first market. So we thought maybe we should try and listen to what our customers are saying and try and start a little bit earlier in the season," said Jensen-Shill.
Coupled with that, this year's Sam Steele Days, always held on the third Saturday in June, falls quite late in the month, so if the market season didn't begin until after that weekend, as is the custom, it would take the start date almost into July.
"And I can tell you, those market customers would not tolerate that!" laughed Jensen-Shill. "It's too long to wait."
The market's pre-season will be held at 1114 Baker Street, the same location as the Winter Market.
Jensen-Shill said the market society likes being in downtown Cranbrook, and the former Supervalu building works in fine or foul weather.
"The owner of the building has agreed to let us use the parking lot if it's fine and beautiful to host the market outside. If it's not fine, we have the option of being inside and that space works really well as we know."
At each of the Cranbrook Farmer's Market sessions, marketgoers can take advantage of spring greens and bedding plants, along with a great selection of baked goods, jams and preserves, honey, ready-to-eat food and artisans offering everything from handmade body products to jewelry and more. New this year, pork and lamb will be added to the products available.
"We are looking forward to another great market season" said market society president Jody Murdoch, "and we would like to thank vendors and the community for their support in helping to make the market so successful."
There will also be two instalments of the popular Night Markets this year, on two Wednesdays, July 16 and August 13 from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Rotary Park.
"We are finding that the markets are very popular and very well attended. They are a social evening event, and we decided to go with two of those and make those fun and special market events where we've got our vendors, people can access all those great locally made, baked and grown products, and there is also a bit of a party atmosphere," said Jensen-Shill.
Live music will be provided by Summer Sounds, sponsored by the Cranbrook and District Arts Council, and the night market is supported by the Downtown Business Association.
Jensen-Shill pointed to the community atmosphere that is tangible at each and every market as one of its key draws.
"People love the atmosphere; they love coming downtown and enjoying Rotary Park and seeing their neighbours," she said.
"Half of the market is about the connection between the vendors and the patrons, and the other half is the social and cultural aspect. People just love getting out and being there, and the market provides a great venue for that to happen."
For more information, visit www.cranbrookfarmersmarket.com.
Farmer's Market dates
• Spring: May 31, June 7 and 14 at 1114 Baker Street from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Summer: June 28 to August 30 on 10th Avenue South from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Fall: September 6 to October 11 on 10th Avenue South from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Night: July 16 and August 13 in Rotary Park from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
• Winter: November 28, 29 and 30 – more information to come