The South Cariboo Farmers’ Market’s season came to a close on Sept. 27 with free baked potatoes and cups of hot chocolate and coffee as the leaves start to change colour.
“I think it’s been a fantastic season. We’ve had a lot of new vendors and a lot of returning vendors,” said Amanda Patterson, the market manager. “I think it’s been a great season for me being new too, I’ve had lots of great advice and great compliments and lots of people who left the market returned, so I think it’s been fantastic. It’s been a good learning experience and it’s definitely been a lot of fun.”
Vendors, such as Anne and Ron Conway of Meadow Impressions and Jovanka Djordjevich of D&M Djordjvich Vineyards agreed with the market manager.
“I love the 100 Mile Market. I’ve been doing it for probably almost 20 years or so and the people are just so wonderful,” said Djordjevich, who was selling the family vineyard’s grapes.
Despite only being involved late in the season (she was only selling her grapes here in September), Djordjevich was travelling back and forth between Kelowna where the vineyard is based and Prince George, where she resides. She stops in 100 Mile House every Friday for the Farmer’s Market.
“Seeing the faces and meeting new people and introducing our produce – our grapes – to new people, and seeing people’s smiles when they see the grape lady is back,” is what she said her favourite part of the South Cariboo Farmer’s Market.
The Conways attended the market every Friday this season and have been with the market for ten years now.
“It’s been great,” said Anne. “Lots of really nice people. We made some good sales and there’s free coffee.”
For Patterson, the greatest part of the season was watching the daycare instructors and teachers bringing the kids down to the market.
“Shopping with them, showing them how to budget, how to spend your little five dollars on what you really want. They’re our next generation of farmers, right? So getting them excited about being a farmer or about knowing where their produce is coming from, or how to knit, or how to paint or whatever craft it is that gets their little juices going and eyes sparkling. That’s my highlight, for sure.”
When asked if there was anything Patterson would like to change for next year, she said there is always room for improvement but will have to wait until vendors and customers tell her what they would like to see.
“I think once we have our AGM, I’ll have a better idea of what our vendors and customers want to see in changes,” she said. “I’m not sure what to change until I hear their feedback, because it’s their market too.”
She did mention that she would like to see some food and agricultural vendors, but the biggest thing she said she was thinking of adding was an educational aspect.
“I think there’s a big disconnect with the way food is purchased, produced, and consumed. I’d like to remind our community about how many great little bits we have out there that can enhance your diet every day,” she said. “I’d like to do more teaching through the year, about how farms do what they do and why the cost is there opposed to what you can do. It might be cheaper at the grocery store but somebody else paid that price for it to be cheap for you.”
The South Cariboo Farmers’ Market will return on Nov. 14 and 15 for their Annual Christmas Market.