Circumstances around the pandemic may have prevented some vendors from returning to the Aberfoyle Farmers Market but there was no shortage of produce or local items.
After being closed last summer, the market is attracting a range of new vendors that bring regular customers who are seen walking out with bags full of produce.
“It's the true Ontario growing season,” said Jayme Maste, president and treasurer of the Aberfoyle Farmers Market.
The market in the heart of Aberfoyle has been seeing local artisans, prepared foods, and farm grown food since it opened late May. The vendors were socially distanced, masked and covered under the pavilion on 23 Brock Road which allows 40 customers inside at any given time.
Vendors like GR365N (pronounced Green 365) and Royal City Greens brought their innovative creations of vertical and urban farming that they launched during the pandemic.
“Every week we're getting more and more visitors and the people that are coming have bags full and the vendors seem really happy,” said Maste.
She said many of the usual vendors that didn’t return this year either remodelled their business, retired or found it easier to sell from their own farm stand at home.
However, she said there has been no shortage of items to sell such as fresh strawberries, asparagus, rhubarb, zucchini and radishes in season.
“So we did lose some of the longtime vendors that have been with us since the beginning when we open overtime,” said Maste “But yes, we brought a lot of new vendors this year.”
Those vendors who didn’t return were ones known to bring peaches, apricots, cherries and large quantities of greens grown in greenhouses.
She said the number of old and new vendors evens out when new vendors join the market every week.
“We get comments like, ‘I'm so glad the markets open this year’ and ‘we're so glad you're back,’” said Maste adding that the market still keeps in touch with its old vendors and knows they are doing well.
Willow Smith from Thames River Melons said the market called the farm this year.
And the vendor has enjoyed a constant flow of customers. On its first day last week, the vendor sold our (37 plaques of fresh strawberries) within two and a half hours.
“At this time of the year, they're really sweet and soft,” said Smith.
For vendors like Parker Family Farms who has been coming for years, it was like a regular year but with masks and social distancing.