Wainfleet Farmers Market grows to new location

Image by Sven Hilker from Pixabay

Township of Wainfleet press release – There are few symbols of rural life that are as iconic, and as much beloved, as the idea of the Farmers Market.

Marrying the passion of farmers as providers of healthy food and stewards of the land, with the appreciation of customers for the quality and satisfaction that comes with a transaction that is as old as time – buying food directly from the farmer that produced it.

The process of establishing such a venture, however, is not so easy.

The Wainfleet Farmers Market, currently in its second season, is experiencing challenges as it finds its way into the fabric of one of Southern Ontario’s oldest Townships.

“We are at a critical stage of the development of the Wainfleet Farmers Market, ” said Wainfleet Mayor Kevin Gibson. “It’s literally a chicken before the egg kind of situation, where we need more farmers, to attract more people, but attracting more people will bring also bring more farmers.”

The Wainfleet Farmers Market was started in 2018 through a partnership between the Township of Wainfleet and the Meridian Credit Union – Wainfleet Branch, spearheaded by then Branch Manager Katarina Chataway, who continues to be active with the market despite working at the Grimsby branch.

The market was originally held at the parking lot of the Wainfleet branch of Meridian, but growth and the realities of trying to manage a market on a property not designed for such a purpose forced the market to relocate to a new locale for the 2019 season.

The current site, behind the Wainfleet Arena on Township property, is housed in a pole barn which provides shelter for vendors and shoppers alike and a quieter, more idyllic experience for a market of this kind.

Each year presents different hurdles to be overcome and there are some unique factors challenging the market this year.

“The unnaturally wet spring has set back agricultural production for many producers,” Mayor Gibson said, adding that the rain has likely affected shopper turnout.

According to Katarina Chataway, the Market is growing and generating positive excitement in the community but remains vulnerable in its second season. The key, she suggests, is sustained visitors – members of the local community, who faithfully attend and support the producers until the market can attract a surplus of farmers, vendors, and shoppers and therefore, truly stand on its own.

“The key message is come on out and support our Wainfleet Farmers Market and help us build the proud country tradition that we can share with generations of Fleeters for decades to come”, Mayor Gibson said. “See you at the Market.”

The Wainfleet Farmers Market is held behind the Wainfleet Arena in the Pavilion building on Thursday nights from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.