The South Cariboo Farmers’ Market was in full swing last Friday with a new manager at the helm.
William Love has returned as market manager after a three-year break and said he is looking forward to getting back to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic. The market runs every Friday from 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. in the South Cariboo Rec Centre parking lot.
“We’re trying to pick up the pieces and get back to smooth operation. I would have liked to have seen us downtown again,” Love said. “But there’s only so much you can do so fast. Everybody’s been good to the organizers here.”
The farmers’ market kicked off a week later than usual, with 11 vendors, down from about 24 last year. The market is a member of the B.C. Association of Farmers’ Markets, which means it 51 per cent of vendors must sell food.
Many vendors are from the Cariboo but the market is open to everyone across B.C., and Love said he expects numbers to double as the season progresses. Vendors can book for the whole summer and reserve a table, or just show up on the day, at which time the table fee is $20.
“I just love being here with the folks, you know, it’s a small community and it’s nice to know everybody,” he said.
Richard Minato, a woodcraft vendor said he anticipates a good season ahead.
“It’ll be better than last year because there’ll be more tourists, except for the price of gas,” he said.
Love said while he preferred having the market downtown at the 100 Mile Community Hall, there are benefits to being at the rec centre, especially parking availability.
“We’ve got lots of room to move, so there are definitely some benefits to being here. There’s no question about that,” he said. “It might be a bit of a discussion about whether or not we move again next year. Where I handled it last was in town so I guess I’m a bit biased that way as well. And I certainly wouldn’t want the guys at the rec centre to think we didn’t appreciate everything they were doing for us.”
Love said being back at the Farmers’ Market was a lot of fun. While he doesn’t have any special events planned yet, Love said they would probably do an opening special day in a couple of weeks. He added the market is “super important for the people, especially to be closer to the actual land and the local area.
“Most people wind up going to the grocery store. There’s no real connection with what’s going on here. Not to mention the fact that it’s one of the places to get all your local fresh veggies. Guys come to the market there, you know, picking their crops the day before, bringing them in,” Love said.
“So there’s that benefit and it’s something that keeps the whole community together. It’s nice for everybody to be able to get out and find each other. We’re here, the tents are up, so it’s all good.”
The 108 Mile Heritage Market and Loon Bay Craft Market at Sheridan Lake will hold their opening day this weekend on Saturday, May 21.