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Farmers market hopes for growth in sophomore year
Jeffrey Veenstra is hoping to see the Concordia Farmers Market grow in its second summer.
Veenstra, who runs Wild Earth Farms with wife Janna between Birds Hill Provincial Park and the Perimeter Highway, said he was glad to be a part of the market, which is run out of the Concordia Place parking lot at 1100 Concordia Ave. He said it grew over the course of the summer.
"We were expecting just mainly people from the hospital, but there were a lot of community members who came out," said Veenstra, who also participates in the Pineridge Hollow Farmers Market and will join the collection of vendors at St Norbert Farmers’ Market this summer. "It was really neat to see that there was a desire for a farmers market in that area.
"The area definitely needs a market because there’s not a lot in that area."
Veenstra hopes to see more people from the surrounding area come out this summer, noting while he did have repeat customers, he’d like to see a higher number of new faces. He also plans to give customers more of a reason to come out, as the booth will have an expanded selection of fresh produce.
"We had 75 different vegetables and herbs and fruits last year," he said. "Right now, we’re up to 130 different things. We’re adding quite a few different varieties, and we’re adding new vegetables we hope will work."
Veenstra said artichokes, kabocha and blue hubbard squash, broccoli rabé, English cucumbers, and poblano peppers will be among the new offerings this year. For more information on the farm, visit www.wildearthfarms.ca.
Market organizer Lori Orchard, who is also a health and wellness consultant at Concordia, said the market was "well-received" in its first year, but she hopes to see it grow in its sophomore season.
"It’s a great opportunity for our staff and local people," she said. "We want to see the community get more involved so they can take advantage of the vendors and the items that we have there.
"The more people we have coming to the market, the more vendors are going to want to come, too. Our vendors were really happy with the market that we had last year, but there’s always room for more growth."
Since the market is a smaller one, with only 20-25 vendors out each time, she made a point of making sure each booth had different products. Orchard hopes to grow that number this year.
"We definitely have room for more vendors, but we want to be sure that the vendors are local – producing their own products," she said.
The dates of this year’s market are: June 13, July 11, Aug. 8, and Sept. 5. The market runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For more information, contact Orchard at 204-661-7299 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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