While it may be on a much smaller scale than normal the 108 Mile Heritage Market still opened up officially on Saturday, May 16.
Held over the summer each year at the Historic 108 Mile Heritage Site, the market is a chance for people to connect with their roots and local food producers while touring the site. While it is still closed to the public until at least June 1, the market itself is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Currently, there is only one vendor in the form of the stalwart Ulli Vogler a 30 year resident of the area who runs Sunflower Catering and Sunflower Gardening. Vogler said she’s been coming to the Heritage market for the last three years with her products from her garden including jam, pickles and baked goods.
“I am involved with 108 Heritage Site for the last eight years, I’ve been president for five years and now treasurer,” Vogler said. “It’s back to our roots, this is our history, food is part of our history, gardening is part of our history and most important for me is that the young generation knows where our food comes from.”
Under normal non-COVID-19 circumstances, Vogler said the market will typically have between five and 12 vendors but currently, she’s the only one in attendance. While she knows business and highway traffic is obviously slow right now, she wants to keep the event going and set an example. Vogler is hopeful that, if people know the event is on, more vendors will start to attend and the local community will come out to support them.
They’ve even been granted free use of the site, she said, which has been very helpful. Much like the South Cariboo Farmers Market rules are in place to ensure social distancing is maintained and sanitation standards are enforced, Vogler confirmed.
She encourages residents of the 108 Mile Ranch and 100 Mile House to come out and buy local products and support local producers during these trying times. It’s good to support local Canadian and, especially, British Colombian, producers in this time, she thinks.
“(The heritage site) is open. People should come to the heritage site, enjoy it, see the history and have a picnic out here with their family,” Vogler said. “It’s free, we never charge anything, everything is by donation.”
The site itself, meanwhile, won’t be open until June 1 for people to explore the heritage buildings and Vogler said it’s still being debated if they’ll be able to reopen the museum, due to its narrow hallways. They’re also currently deciding on how they’ll be doing their Canada Day Celebration but do not know the details on how it will look, she added.