I am happy the South Osborne Farmers’ Market opened this year, its fifth year in Lord Roberts.
People seem relaxed shopping outdoors every Wednesday for fresh carrots and onions, strawberry pies and many more wonderful items from familiar vendors of past years. There are even crêpes this year.
The upbeat music provided by buskers adds to the friendly atmosphere inside the Lord Roberts Community Centre hockey rink. Just outside the rink, the Tamali Time truck and the Little Eggplant truck take turns at the market where they offer tasty meals. An ice cream cart, new to the market area, stands nearby.
"It’s delicious," said Asha Nelson. "They come up with a lot of fun flavours."
Nelson is the farmers’ market’s projects and market co-ordinator, and has been since May 2019. Together with representatives of the Lord Roberts Community Centre and Direct Farms Manitoba, she spoke with health inspectors to plan organizational changes to ensure a safe market during the pandemic.
"Our first (farmers market) day, June 17, went well, even though it rained," Nelson said. "We had no idea what to expect."
New market safety measures include spreading out the vendor locations, leading to social distancing of both vendors and customers.
About 500 to 550 people have attended the market weekly since it opened this year. The market’s generous hours, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. give rise to a varied number of people visiting the market at different times.
In fact, the market has gone beyond in its consideration of many people in our society.
"We’ve recently introduced a new time, from 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., for vulnerable people to shop," said Nelson.
Some vendors will still be setting up at that time, but they will do double duty and sell their wares to a buying customer.
The weekly beer garden of yesteryear and the hands-on craft table are no longer, however Nelson said she is considering having monthly beer gardens with the help of two newly hired and trained farmers’ market co-ordinators.
Meanwhile, Arts Junktion, a non-profit that provides high quality arts and crafts supplies to people and groups in Winnipeg, is handing out craft kits for people, especially children, to take home.
An online South Osborne Farmers Market allows registered customers to pre-order items from midnight of the Friday preceding market day to 9 a.m. Tuesday, the day before market day. On market day these customers show up, give their names to the people manning the information table and voila, their filled orders are handed over.
If you want to buy meat that comes from humanely raised animals you can register online and pick up your order at the market. Fish may also be available in this way.
You can register online at www.fireweedfoodcoop.ca
Fireweed Food Co-op, formerly known as Farm Fresh Food Hub, operates the South Osborne Farmers’ Market.
Dianne Doney is a community correspondent for Fort Rouge. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fort Rouge community correspondent
Dianne Doney is a community correspondent for Fort Rouge.