Fabulous freshness at truly local Fenelon Falls Farmers’ Market

By Trevor Hutchinson

Tough to stomach? Cost of healthy eating remains out of reach for many in CKL

Kathy Martin, a board member and vendor at the Fenelon Falls farmers’ market is pretty stoked about the coming year.  This year, in addition to its regular Friday market (11 am to 5 pm), the market is being expanded to Saturdays on a trial basis with the same hours.

Opening weekend is the May long weekend (May 17-18) and the market will now be open both Fridays and Saturdays until the closing Thanksgiving weekend.

“I’m so excited, I wet my plants,” jokes Martin who, like all the other volunteers on the board of directors, is a vendor at the market which is now in its twelfth year.

The market — which has had many locations since being established in 2008 — has operated at the ‘old arena lot’ and Bond and John Streets, a location that the board of directors would like to see become their permanent home.

Locals and tourists alike can now come two days a week to find truly local produce and products. Explains Martin, “we have a great following for our Friday market and would like to reach out to those locals who work all week, as well as provide a spot for the tourists to visit during their stay in Fenelon Falls.”

Martin says the market is a place where you can buy food and “know where it came from.”

“Our market may be small but we’re honest. When we advertise looking for vendors we always say ‘If you grow it, handcraft it or produce it yourself, then we have a place for you to sell it.’ We allow vendors to be from within 100 km of the market location, and we don’t allow re-sellers,” explains Martin.

The market will open with 19 vendors on Friday (rising to 23 later in the season) and the new Saturday market will launch with 12 confirmed vendors.  A range of products can be found, too: organic meat products, Ontario lamb, local honey, fresh fruit and vegetables, homemade baked goods, preserves, prepared food, fresh cut flowers, and crafts from local artisans.

The market is run by a volunteer board of seven members and prides itself as being a true community organization. The not-for-profit group belongs to FMO (Farmers Market Ontario), the Fenelon Falls Chamber of Commerce and Fenelon Falls Forward. It donates  to the town’s “Santa Day” as well as providing free soup during that day at the market location. A new initiative this year will see the market donating vegetables to the local food bank at the end of each market day.

Farmers markets provide a way for shoppers to connect with the people actually producing the food they are buying. “Our vendors are very knowledgeable about the products they bring to market and are more than willing to answer any questions customers may have concerning them,” explains Martin.

Martin says that food safety is also top of mind to the market: “Our vendors are kept up to date on all rules and regulations set by Health and Safe as well as the FMO. This is something we pride ourselves on. We also feel it’s very important for every customer to know where, how and what they are purchasing.”

Find more information on the Fenelon Falls Farmers’ Market here.

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