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Produce blooms at local market

Market Lane to host nearby food growers, vendors on June 20

SUNNY TEAM: A group of Woodbridge residents is responsible for organizing the new Woodbridge Farmers' Market, set for Saturday mornings in Market Lane starting June 20. (Courtesy Jane Hunter)

Something fresh is about to sprout at Woodbridge’s Market Lane.

On June 20, Ontario farmers from the Kettleby, Innerkip and Brampton areas will setup shop alongside fair-trade coffee and organic chocolate vendors, among others, at the first Woodbridge farmers’ market.

The weekly market, set for 9 a.m.–2 p.m. each Saturday until Oct. 31, is the brainchild of a grassroots committee of local residents who thought this was an idea whose time had come, says committee member Martha Bell.

“There’s just this air, there’s some sort of electricity going on at a farmers’ market,” she said Monday. “People are there … for the experience.

“When people get together, there seems to be this lighthearted feeling.”

That, Bell said, is a major part of the market committee’s motivation. A planned fixture of the market is a community table where, for $10 each day, organizations can promote their goals or raise funds.

“We’re interested in providing fresh local produce from local farmers,” she said. “But we’re also interested in sort of the community aspect of it of having an interesting activity going on in the centre of Woodbridge that people can walk to.

“It’s a way people get to know their neighbours.”

Three farms have already signed on — Van Hart Greenhouses, Thames River Melons and The Serete Farms — and will offer a variety of conventional and organic produce, including 21 varieties of tomatoes, carrots, garlic, blueberries, apples, melons and more.

“Our first goal was to support local,” Bell said. “That reduces the miles that the food has to come, which is good for the environment, of course, and it’s good for the local farmers, it’s healthier for people.

“There are just so many win-win-win reasons that a farmers’ market is a great idea.”

The market is starting modestly, she said, so there’s lots of room to grow. The committee is on the lookout for vendors of cheese, free-range eggs, and organic chicken and beef. A baker is also on the wanted list, Bell said.

“Maybe a baker will read this,” she added with a laugh.

To get started, the market committee received seed money from the Woodbridge Agricultural Society, though the need for more funds remains, Bell said.

Even so, the committee is confident the market will be a hit, she said.

“People in Woodbridge appreciate quality produce, they expect it, they look for it, and more and more people are looking to eat organically,” Bell said. “We really think it’ll be a great success and it’ll grow in time.”

Vaughan Today
In print: June 12, 2009, page 1
Online: June 11, 2009 [link]