The Bowen Agricultural Alliance (BAA) Farmers’ Market is opening on May 15, 10 a.m. to noon at Bowen Island Community School.
The first sale will have an abundance of garden starts and seedlings, as well as the usual vendors selling locally grown produce, flowers, and a variety of items made, baked and grown on Bowen.
The market spots are sold out for this first week and it must be noted that due to the COVID-19 protocols, the market cannot currently accept drop-in vendors, no matter how much we would like to.
We need everyone coming to the sale to please be patient with the two-metre distances between shoppers and vendors and wear masks, sanitize and watch for the signs. Please follow the rules that will allow us to stay open and running and allow us to connect the community to local farmers, gardeners and artisans. We appreciate your patience and your patronage as we are operating for the second year during a pandemic.
Whilst thinking about how to navigate the challenges of running an essential service market this year, I’ve spent a bit of time thinking about challenges and growth opportunities that have faced the Bowen Farmers’ market since its inception.
As I was strolling down memory lane I realized that the Bowen Island Farmers’ Market is now in its tenth year of running at BICS. Before the market moved to BICS, the market was a one-day annual event held down on the lawn in front of the public library and started around 2006 (thanks to Elle’s vision and hard work). From a one-day event to being a weekly essential service that runs from mid-May to mid-October, the market has grown and changed over the years but is one of my favourite places to shop. It feels good to support local.
Although I’ll miss the buskers, face painters and the youth vendors, it just feels good to have another year of buying fresh local produce. Of taking home a bouquet of flowers grown on Bowen or a bag of fresh salad greens from Home Farm. Of buying seedlings to add to my garden or trying one of Maureen’s latest confections (looking forward to crumbles and pies!) And the jams...so many amazing jams! I also love that the market supports newer food initiatives such as youth-entrepreneur Anna’s Organics, which sells organic food that is rejected by stores due to a variety of issues including being too close to full ripeness or being the wrong size. I once bought an onion from Anna that was almost the size of a soccer ball. She explained that it was so big that no store would accept the onion but I took it home very happily and was glad to support a youth entrepreneur who is helping to prevent commercial food waste.
The Bowen Agricultural Alliance, a small, dedicated group of volunteers has kept the Farmers’ market running and supporting local farmers, gardeners and artisans for more than a decade. We grow with and for our community and look forward to seeing you at the markets, starting May 15, 10 a.m. to noon. Don’t forget to bring cash, a mask, a reusable shopping bag or basket and thank you for supporting local!