by Michele Murphy
There’s little that says summer on the Islands more than the opening of the farmers market season.
Kicking off this year’s season in May will be North Saanich Farmers Market, followed by the Sidney Street Market, Peninsula Country Market in June and this year Saanich and the Peninsula will be home to one more market as the Saanich Sunday Farmers Market at Braefoot Park opens on July 2.
Saanich Sunday Farmers’ Market will be joining the more than 20 markets that run up and down the Island during the summer including the four regular markets on the Peninsula. The new market will run from 10 am to 2 pm every Sunday in July and August and will feature about 20-30 locally grown produce, prepared foods and artisan crafts vendors along with local community groups, musicians and the ever-so-popular food trucks.
“One unique features of this market will be tailgate sales. Farmers and some food producers won’t have to spend time with a complicated setup; if approved, they’ll have spaces where they can literally sell from their vehicle,” says market co-organizer Marsha Henderson.
The market is still accepting vendor applications.
The North Saanich Farm Market (NSFM) kicked off their monthly Saturday market season in April and May 13 will be their next monthly market from 9:30 am 12:30 pm. They start their regular weekly summer markets on June 3.
All of the NSFM vendors are from the Saanich Peninsula. They offer a wide selection of locally grown, seasonal vegetables and fruit, baked goods, meats, fish, preserves, flowers, and handcrafted goods. The market is set in the gardens of the St. John’s United Church at 10990 West Saanich Rd, complete with live music. It’s become a favourite Saturday morning gathering spot for the locals.
Unique to the NSFM is the Community Table, manned by volunteers who sell produce and products on behalf of smaller local growers. Check out their website for this season’s musician line-up.
Next up is the Sidney Street Market. A favourite on a warm summer night, the market has been drawing bigger crowds every year for 17 years. Sidney Street Market is a blended market, with over 150 vendors offering everything from locally grown produce, handmade jewelry, local artists and artisan creations, clothing, toys, flowers, handmade soaps, home-made breads, jams, sweet treats, and a wonderful variety of hot food delights – as well as items from afar. Known for the wide-variety of dinner options and festive live music, it’s a popular Thursday-night destination. The street market kicks-off their regular weekly season on May 18th from 5:30 to 8:30 pm.
Another Saturday morning favourite is the Peninsula Country Market. Going into its 26th year, this market is the longest-running market in the Victoria region east of Metchosin.
The popular country market hosts more than 50 vendors of farm fresh products, jams and jellies, honey, homemade bread, cut flowers, assorted fresh meats, organic produce and locally-made arts and crafts. And this market – is pooch-friendly. Bring the whole family!
The market is held every Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm beginning June 3 and running into October. You’ll find it at the Saanich Fairgrounds – although the first one of the season is usually held at Pioneer Park in conjunction with Brentwood Bay Days. Check their website for more info.
Woodwyn Farms offers a weekly indoor market Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm held in their restored 1940s dairy barn. All produce sold at their farm market are organically-grown heirloom varieties that are grown at Woodwynn Farm.