Now in its 21st year, the St. Marys Farmers’ Market has established itself as a vibrant cultural and commercial element of the Stonetown’s spring, summer and fall.
In 2013, the regular market season begins Saturday, May 18, and the Farmers’ Market runs every Saturday morning, from 8 a.m. to noon, until Oct. 26. And although the winds of winter usually begin blowing around that time, some hardy vendors plan on continuing to sell from the Market’s outdoor home — the downtown parking lot on Jones Street (one block south of Queen Street) between Water Street and Wellington Street — until Nov. 23.
A cool spring this year will likely limit the range of goods available this Saturday, as well as the number of vendors who have products ready for sale. As the season progresses, however, visitors can expect to have their senses satiated by a bounty of vegetables, fruits and other foodstuffs grown or raised in St. Marys and surrounding area.
Confirmed vendors for this weekend include long-time member Ann Slater (organic vegetables), Sheldon’s Berries (rhubarb for now, with various varieties of berries and vegetables yet to come), the Nutty Bakers (sweet treats, savoury pies, etc.) and the Slater Farm (preserves and frozen organic meats).
Newly-arrived half-way through the 2012 Market season under the name “Breadtopia,” Simon Fraser — having been baking all winter in his backyard “cob oven” just up the hill from downtown on Church Street — is back this year by popular demand. And this year, along with his sumptuous breads, pastries and cookies, Fraser will also be serving Fair Trade coffee and tea.
Change is an accepted — although sometimes unwelcome — element of the Farmers’ Market, however, with vendors coming and going as their farms or businesses are transformed. This year, many Market customers will be saddened to learn that long-time members the O’Sheas of Granton have made the decision not to return to St. Marys on a weekly basis. In addition, the popular pork selections offered by the Szabo family of Kirkton will no longer be available.
Once again in 2013, the Farmers’ Market Association is planning its regular special breakfasts. For each one, a local charitable organization joins with the Market Association to serve up what many believe are the best-tasting home-made pancake-and-sausage breakfasts of the year in St. Marys and area. Tables are set up between the rows of vendors, and the conversations flow as smoothly as the coffee, orange juice, and real, locally-produced maple syrup.
In 2013, plans for special events include:
• June 22: Strawberry pancake breakfast
• July 13: Raspberry pancake breakfast, in conjunction with the Stonetown Heritage Festival
• Aug. 10: Blueberry pancake breakfast
• Sept. 7: Peach pancake breakfast
• Oct. 19: Souper-Douper Saturday
Other special events may be added during the Market season.
New vendors are welcome to the Market at any time. However, they’re required to meet and abide by the St. Marys Farmers’ Market Association’s bylaws (ie: you must sell your own locally-produced produce, meat, baking, preserves, crafts, etc.). If you know someone who may be interested in becoming a market vendor, please encourage them to talk with Market Manager Lynette Geddes at the Market, or to contact Association president Ann Slater at either 519-349-2448 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or contact any other Farmers’ Market Association board member.