James Bay Market
By Jessica Duncan
About this time last year, I wrote an article about what it takes to be a market vendor. I wrote how it takes creativity, passion, talent, vision, planning and a willingness to take risks. Basically, it’s not the easy route to riches, and yet, as each new season of the James Bay Market rolls around, the number of people who take the plunge to bring their wares to market for the public’s enjoyment just keeps growing. In case you missed it, the James Bay Market 2019 season started on May 4, hosting many of your favourite long-time vendors, as well as a delightful crop of new ones. While some vendors have signed up for the entire season, and others will be dropping in when they are available, this new season at the James Bay Market promises to be another great one!
In Farmers’ Row this year, we have two new tables run by young, enthusiastic growers. “Farmer + Florist” is a one-stop shop for all things floral. Sophie, a passionate florist with an interest in the therapeutic nature of flowers, wanted to learn more about growing her own blooms, while Michael, a long-standing produce farmer, had recently been expanding into flower production. Michael had garden space for growing, and Sophie had the idea of selling at local farmers’ markets. At their table you will find wild and wonderful bouquets as well as a collection of floral crafts made from dried flowers and recycled, reused and reclaimed materials.
Right beside “Farmer + Florist” is another group of young enthusiasts who have called their fledgling business “Farm or Die”. They have a really good point with this bold name. Seeing these young farmers gives me hope that, as the older farming population retires, new young farmers are stepping up to ensure that we all have food to eat. “Farm or Die” was started by three young men on a mission to bridge the gap between farmer and food lover. A combined passion for gardening and concern over food security, “Farm or Die” was originally started as an urban agriculture/community gardening enterprise in Vancouver. However, the opportunity to move to the island arose when space became available on the family farm. They now are actively growing produce for market, following regenerative agricultural practices and doing their bit for the local food system at Whiteoak Farm in North Saanich.
This season, the James Bay Market also welcomes several new food processors. Naked Dressings is the genius of Melissa and Ryan who also own Fresh Café and the Fresh Café food truck where they are famous for their salads and dressings. Their delicious dressings have been such a hit with their customers who kept asking if they could buy them. Melissa and Ryan invested in a bunch of Mason jars and have started selling their dressings at various farmers’ markets in the region. On the Saturdays when they are not feeding hungry masses at summer festivals, they will be bringing their delights to James Bay Market.
This year we also welcome the Old Soul Jam Co. Drew and Bella are another young couple with a passion for their grandparents’ crafts. Combining their skills as professional cooks, and Bella’s grandmother’s recipes, with many ingredients grown right here on the island, Bella and Drew will be selling a wide variety of delicious canned goods. Despite being a jam company, these young “old souls” will be selling everything from fresh berry jam to hot salsa at their booth this summer.
It’s not just some vendors who are new to the market this year. In keeping with our commitment to a healthier environment, we have made a few changes that we hope will reduce our carbon footprint.
James Bay Market will no longer be selling plastic water bottles. Water will be available at the information tent for you to fill your own container or, if you have not brought a water bottle, you will be able to buy a biodegradable cup of water for $.25.
This season we are introducing a new “Take a Bag, Bring a Bag” program. If you happen to come to market without a bag, don’t let that deter you from shopping as we will have a supply of used cloth bags you can borrow from the information tent.
Also starting this year, all the plates, utensils and cups provided by food vendors at the market are biodegradable and you will be able to return your used ‘dishes’ at the point of purchase. There is also a compostable container at the coffee kiosk for your coffee cups.
James Bay Market will run from 9:00am – 3:00pm every Saturday from May 4 through to September 28, 2019. The market is located at the corner of Menzies and Superior, directly on several bus routes with parking available. As always, the James Bay Market is a rain or shine event, and we look forward to seeing you there, no matter the weather!