January 31, 2023
Cambridge has one. Guelph has one. So why not Aberfoyle? This idea of a farmers market was presented to council as one of a few uses for the upcoming new recreational facility, to help secure funding from the federal and provincial grant being offered. In 2009, The Building Fund granted the Township money to help kick start this project. In 2010, a group of volunteers came together to form the not for profit Aberfoyle Farmers Market. It was not until the following year that it was able to open its doors to vendors and visitors alike. The Optimist Recreation Centre (ORC) as it is now called was the central location established to offer this unique opportunity. In 2016, this market was selected as one of the top places to visit in Canada by www.realstylenetwork.com. It was described as selling the usual items of vegetables, fruit, meats and honey but had interesting items like homemade soups and direct trade coffee. The local talent that entertained weekly was what made this event stand out.
As the years went by the support for this market continued. It was a place to meet others for a morning coffee/pastry, listen to local talent, get the freshest ingredients for that day’s menu, grab a soccer treat and visit with vendors who felt like an old friend.
Finally in 2019, the fruits of labour of a few was beginning to take shape with the highest guest count and interest soaring for any and all stall spaces. Regrettably this was short-lived with the advancement of COVID-19 and all small businesses having to shut their doors due to government regulations. It was hard for the committee to make the decision to close for the 2020 season after growing the business for so many years. Weekly evolving Public health restrictions made it near impossible to predict what would happen next, so closing made the most sense. Unfortunately this decision was not easy for anyone and caused a ripple effect as many merchants chose to open their own stand at a different location or take a break from selling.
Plowing through all the literature and meeting the demands of the local health unit made the committee even more determined. With the 2021 season ahead, adjustments were made to satisfy criteria imposed and most of all allow vendors and the public to feel safe while buying produce or other items for sale. Once again participation was high, thanks in part to vaccines being readily available.
Looking ahead, the 2022 season is but days away. Encouraged by the large number of patrons who visited last season and evidence of a different mood in the air, this market should be bustling on Saturday, May 28th.
By Margaret Hauwert