Residents of Breslau looking for fresh, local produce won’t have to look much further than their own backyard to get it. On Monday night, the first local food market was held at the Breslau Community Centre and although the turnout was sparse, organizers hope to see it grow in the coming months. “We thought we might have been going last summer,” laughed Carolyn Snider, who along with Grace Sudden has organized the market, which ran from 5-7 p.m. in the community centre’s kitchen. “It gives us a chance to get going now in the winter on a small basis, because you don’t want to suddenly start up so large that you’re totally overwhelmed.”
For the winter months the market will only run every two to three weeks, but they hope that by the time spring and summer rolls around they’ll have enough interest and enough vendors to run every Friday evening.
“It’s not going to be a morning market or even a noon market; the idea is to catch people after work and before the weekend so you can come and pick up your supply.”
Thus far the pair has only secured one vendor, Bailey’s Local Foods out of Waterloo, but they are optimistic that once word spreads the market will become very popular in their community. Snider noted the enormous expansion in Breslau in the past few years and the growth in the number of young families as well for one of the reasons why she thought the time was right for the market.
“It’s all subdivisions around here, huge subdivisions,” said Snider. “All these people here and there isn’t even a grocery store in Breslau.”
Snider and Sudden have been working with Woolwich Township to try and get the market off the ground, and are certainly open to having more vendors come and sell their goods, including local artists or crafters. Snider said the township has agreed to make this first year free for any interested vendors to register and come sell their produce.
The one vendor they have secured epitomizes the local food movement Snider and Sudden are trying to promote. Bailey’s Local Foods has committed their business to within 100 miles of Waterloo Region, sourcing and only making available food that is in season.
Right now the list of available produce is limited to mostly stored root crops such as potatoes, leeks, carrots and onions, but some of their farmers do grow produce in greenhouses around the region.
That may leave customers at the whim of Mother Nature in terms of the produce that is available, but it also means the food is fresher and tastes better, and helps people realize just where our food comes from, said Bailey’s co-owner Maryrose Ivanco.
“This year when the cherries were to be pollinated and the bees were to be out it was raining, so we only had one week of cherries,” she noted.
“In a grocery store you don’t know where your produce came from, and you sure as heck don’t know when it was picked. In the spring, most of our produce has been picked that morning or the day before.”
Prices are a little bit higher than customers can expect to pay in the grocery store, and if local farmers tried to compete with the prices of food trucked and flown from California to our grocery stores, they would go bankrupt, Ivanco noted.
Customers wishing to participate in the market can go online to baileyslocalfoods.ca to place their order, and then pick up their order at the Breslau Community Centre during the designated pickup days, which will be Feb. 13, Mar. 5, Apr. 2 and 23, and May 14.
For more information on the market or to become a vendor, contact Snider at email@example.com.