WINDSOR, N.S. - There’s a mix of farmers, with leafy, green veggies sticking out begging to be snatched up. Local artisans and craftspeople, selling soaps, textiles and other items. Food vendors are sprinkled throughout as well – with some shoppers eating on site and others taking their treats home with them.
Despite the chill in the air, many of the 15-plus vendors of the Avon Community Farmers’ Market said the grand opening on June 3 was a success.
One of those vendors, Catherine Manning, of Manning Family Farm, had to send for more product, selling out of some items earlier in the day.
“After the first hour, we were already out of some things,” Manning said. “That makes us feel very positive about this. The buzz is following through to actual purchases.”
She wasn’t alone. Cale Thatcher of Thatch Patch Family Farms in Kingston said they saw sales similar to what they would get at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market, which he said was a good sign for things to come.
Holly Lothian, project co-ordinator of the Avon Community Farmers’ Market, said they originally explored using the Windsor Mall as a venue, but issues arose around spacing and public washroom availability.
Now at Victoria Park, they have plenty of room, and access to public washrooms via the Hants County War Memorial Community Centre.
“Being outdoors, we also feel that it’s a better feel and a better atmosphere,” Lothian said. “We worked with the Town of Windsor and they’ve helped up get this established in the park.”
Several customers also said they enjoyed the new, central location – easily accessible by Gerrish, Stannus, King and other main streets through town.
John Szczepanowski, a resident of Windsor, said he was happy to see the market return and is hoping the town will help promote it.
“We want this to stay here and become very vibrant,” Szczepanowski said. “I’m a small businessman myself, and I love seeing other small businesses succeed.”
Szczepanowski and his family purchased some spinach, soap, and more, saying they’re big believers in the shop local movement.
“I think the Town of Windsor needs to promote it more, we need people to know that it’s here,” he said. “We advertise for wineries on highways, but why not this market?”
“Windsor has gotta start supporting Windsor. We gotta stop shopping everywhere else and start shopping here.”
Happy Communtiy Project roots
The Avon Community Farmers’ Market was a brainchild of a committee within the larger Happy Community Project – an endeavour to strengthen community bonds in order to enhance happiness in the area.
Barry Braun, founder of the HPC, said the up-and-running farmers’ market was just another example of the community believing in something and making it happen.
“What I think is really awesome about this is that it’s not just a place to get stuff, it’s our market, it belongs to us,” Braun said. “That’s a lot different than walking into a big chain store.”
Stevan Bouman, vice president of the Avon Community Farmers’ Market board, said they were pleasantly surprised to see so many old and new faces in terms of vendors and customers.
Approximately 30 part and full-time vendors have signed up for future markets, and Bouman said he’s hoping to see that number grow.
“Six months ago, we knew we wanted to have something like this here in Windsor, and we did a survey and found that we weren’t alone,” Bouman said. “Here we are today, we have a beautiful market going.”
When to check it out
The Avon Community Farmers’ Market runs every Sunday, at Victoria Park in Windsor, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. until mid-October, with a Christmas market planned for November. They plan to open rain or shine, unless the weather is too severe.