Merrickville Mid-Week Market finding success in its first season

A farmers sells his products at the Market.
A farmers sells his products at the Merrickville Mid-Week Market. Photo by Jane Hobson.
Posted on: August 8, 2017

Jane Hobson
editorial@pdgmedia.ca

Merrickville has a brand new attraction and it is as enchanting and lovable as the rest of the quaint town.

Tucked between Zak and Finnegan at Home and The Christmas Shoppe on St. Lawrence Street, the Merrickville Mid-Week Market offers a spectacular selection of goodies from hand-crafted linen clothing and baked dog biscuits to fresh local produce, honey and maple syrup.

About 17 vendors occupy the space every Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. until the week of Thanksgiving in October. More than half of the vendors are family-farm based, meaning farmers sell products grown on their own local farms.

Canopied by tall trees, the market offers shade from the late-afternoon sun that dances through the leaves, casting shadows on the tailored grass.

Baskets of fresh food on a table.

Fresh vegetables for sale at the Merrickville Mid-Week Market. Photo by Jane Hobson.

“People walk through to find things like they like; they stop to buy veggies, check out the clothing and jewellry and fresh baked stuff,” said Scott Kelland, the market manager. Kelland has been farming for just more than 15 years and has a produce stand at the market.

“This is our first year. We’ve had great support from the community, business and council,” Kelland said. “Everyone really wanted this market to happen.”

The goal of the Merrickville Mid-Week Market is to rejuvenate the relationship between farmers and the communities they are close to.

“What I want to see is farmers feeding communities and communities supporting farmers,” Kelland said. He calls this a food web. “It’s about resiliency too. We’re a small town surrounded by agriculture, yet most of our food is imported.” He says this is not sustainable long-term. “I think it’s important for communities to remember the relationship between farmer and community.”

To encourage people to join the market, Kelland offers free tables to community groups and young entrepreneurs.

To encourage people to join the market, Kelland offers free tables to community groups and young entrepreneurs.

Earlier in the season, a few children set up a stand selling freshly squeezed lemonade and brewed iced tea. They made about $150.

“That’s the idea. We want to encourage the next generation to be involved in the market community,” Kelland explained, adding that a farmers’ market is a perfect environment for young people to learn about where their food comes from. “It makes all the difference in the world for them to see that finding fresh, local veggies can be easy and fun. The crunch, the colour, the smell, the taste — kids love that.”

Kelland said customers have told him their kids prefer farmers’ market vegetables to grocery store vegetables.

“The reward is seeing people come through the market and hearing these kinds of conversations happening.”

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