On all accounts, May 3’s grand opening of the 34th Annual South Cariboo Farmers’ Market (SCFM) was a great success.
The event saw many new and returning vendors, including plenty of food vendors, and just as organizers hoped, the market proved to be a popular attraction for people of all ages.
The grand opening took place on Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with complimentary coffee, hot chocolate and tea, including the tradition of free hot beef on a bun for all visitors. Vendors set up booths inside the 100 Mile Community Hall, but most of the market took place outside along the streets of Birch Avenue, where local artists, crafters, farmers, and food vendors are featured.
Amanda Patterson is the new market manager for the season and is very excited to take over.
“I’ve been involved with Farmers’ Markets since I was seven years old,” said Patterson.
She hopes to see more food vendors this year in 100 Mile House and to attract people of all ages. With great feedback from returning vendors, Patterson hopes to create some positive change.
“Let’s bring in something new,” said Patterson. “Let’s utilize that stage, let’s get in some people doing demonstrations… let’s bring in the kids.”
Patterson’s parents got her involved as a young volunteer, instilling a passion to not only continue the family tradition, but to promote markets for future entrepreneurs.
Getting children involved at a young age is key to fostering our community’s future volunteers, she said.
“They see how much it brings into the whole community. It’s not just about the vendors that are here, it’s about all the businesses around us that get this foot traffic through them.”
The board is even working to add more market dates for those who cannot attend the original Friday time slot.
“We’re trying to bring in a couple of Thursday evening markets and Saturday morning markets,” she said.
Patterson hopes that the addition of a Thursday or Saturday market will accommodate many working families and allow more community members to enjoy the event and showcase their goods.
One of Patterson’s goals for the market is to get everyone involved: “Old, young, everybody.”
So far, her efforts have been fruitful, as streets were packed with people of all ages at Friday’s grand opening.
100 Mile House Elementary student Payton Walker attended with his classmates and teacher. He enjoyed the live music and even spent some time dancing with friends.
“There’s so much good food,” said Walker, before another booth caught his eye. “I want to buy one of those guitars.”
The guitars that caught Walker’s attention were handcrafted by local artist and musician, Peter Thorne.
Thorne kept the market entertained throughout the day with a continuous stream of music, but his sound wasn’t the only thing he brought to share. His wide variety of handmade string instruments were on display for the public, including a unique collection of cigar box guitars.
Lone Butte residents Jack and Anne-Marie Schroevers were one of many food vendors at the market this year. A family of seven who all pitch in to help, the Schroevers often refer to themselves as the “feed people,” but their business is actually called the Rolling Roaster.
On Friday morning, the Rolling Roaster served up deep-fried apple fritters and breakfast wraps before switching over to lunch items like burgers for the afternoon. The family’s five children weren’t there on Friday, but often help with production, and range in age from eight to 17 years old.
The next South Cariboo Farmers’ Market will take place on Friday, May 10 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and markets will run each Friday until the fall. For more information about the SCFM, visit www.southcariboofarmersmarket.org.