On a crisp, late-October Saturday morning with the sun cresting over the white-tipped mountains, residents and tourists alike enjoyed one last outdoor Local Food Initiative (LFI) farmers’ market of the season.
It was a successful outdoor market season for the LFI farmers’ market, but with snow on the peaks and in the forecast, the outdoor season came to a close on Saturday. Still, in the coming weeks the winter market will open at the Revelstoke Community and Aquatic Centre on Fridays. Taking in the final day of the market, vendors and organizers reflected on the outdoor market’s success.
Rob Faulkner, vendor at the LFI farmer’s market, was discussing the benefits of the market when a patron approached his Song Hollow Farm tent.
“How are your eggs today,” asked a market-goer.
“I don’t have many left,” said Faulkner with a chuckle.
“I’ll take a dozen,” said the man, who took the eggs then wandered on through the crowd.
Faulkner has been a vendor at the market for three years and said the shift from the market’s previous location at Centennial Park was for the better.
“Being down here makes it easier for visitors to come, and they’ve got these interesting buildings to look at, too,” said Faulkner.
Isabel Kessi, LFI market organizer, smiled as she gazed out at the bustling market crowd on its last day.
“Way busier than expected,” said Kessi.
With some poor weather forecasted earlier the week, Kessi said some vendors forewent the final day of the market. When Saturday finally arrived, the dry weather made for a solid turnout. Despite the popularity of the market, Kessi said it still wasn’t back to pre-pandemic levels.
“In terms of people, it’s really busy. But the spending power I think is a bit lower,” said Kessi.
Still, Kessi was delighted with how the outdoor market went this year. She also echoed Faulkner’s assessment of the downtown location.
“This is like, way more socializing — people hanging out here and like — you bump into way more people too than down there,” said Kessi.
Like Kessi and Faulkner, vendor Stu Smith, Stoke the Fire, expressed his own appreciation of the market’s location this year. The market’s former location helped to keep people spread out and safe during the pandemic, but it came at a cost. Smith recounted one instance when his partner returned from the market on a windy day, wide-eyed and exhausted.
“I was like, ‘oh dear, you’ve been holding the tent down all day,’” said Smith with a laugh.
The distance from the river helped to shield the market from the elements.
Starting early in the morning and running for several months, the market is a big commitment for vendors. Still, Smith said he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“You’re standing behind something that you’ve created yourself and you love. We wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t love it. So, we really have a lot of joy sharing our products with people,” said Smith.
The winter market starts up on Friday, Nov. 4 at the Revelstoke Community and Aquatic Centre. The winter market differs from the outdoor one as it will be bi-weekly, and runs from 11:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Market attendees are asked to enter through the back alley instead of the main entrance.