The Langley Community Farmers Market started up again on June 16 with a solid turn out, following a one-year hiatus.
To breathe new life into its return this year, the weekly market has hired a marketing manager to help generate a buzz in the community. It seems to be paying off. More than 250 people showed up for the opening evening at the Derek Doubleday Arboretum where it will operate until September 1.
Twenty-five vendors offered produce, flowers, eggs, bread, meat, honey and even soy sauce, as well as locally handcrafted soaps, candles and more. There will be two rotating local craft brewers each week and the market also features live music.
In the past, the market struggled to meet the BC Association of Farmers Markets requirement that 51% of vendors sell food.
Farmers have several options when it comes to farmers markets and direct sales. When the decision to go on hiatus was taken last year, Central Park Farms owner Kendall Ballantine noted that many farms in Langley had moved away from farmers markets in favour of on-farm shops.
Paige Dampier, who stepped down as chair of the society last year, said the market didn‚Äôt have a business case for running the market in 2020 and treasurer Terry Luck noted that a net loss of $15,000 in 2019 left the organization with just over $1,600 in net assets.
BCAFM executive director Heather O‚ÄôHara commended the market for having the courage to take time to regroup, saying it was the right thing to do under the circumstances.
For 2021, there have been shifts to the location and the format of the Wednesday market, which began in 2008. The physical layout adheres to COVID-19 guidelines from the Township of Langley. Vendor stalls are well-spaced and traffic flows through the site in one direction only.
Melanie MacInnes, one of this year‚Äôs market co-chairs, was pleased with both the turnout and the vendor lineup.
‚ÄúWe secured several grants for this year and worked tirelessly as a board to attract amazing vendors and a very exciting location,‚ÄĚ she says. ‚ÄúTo see people having great options of vegetables, meat, eggs and bread was so wonderful.‚ÄĚ
All the customers she spoke with said they were very happy with the location and the range of vendors, and the vendors in turn had a great time with some selling out of their stock.
With files from Ronda Payne