Summerside Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings
Way Up West
by Jan Cox
"Love the people, love the kids,” declares longtime Summerside Farmers’ Market vendor Ranald MacFarlane. Mr. MacFarlane, who owns Pleasant Pork, offers free meat samples and hand stamps (a pig of course) to the children. “There’s a large playroom at the Market. Sometimes it’s the kids bringing their parents,” he says, “It’s just so much fun here.”
That’s a sentiment echoed by The Waffle Lady, Caitlin Davies. “I love it. It’s my second home, this is my fun life. I’ve been here since the beginning and now I see my regular customer’s kids growing up.”
The “beginning” of the Farmers’ Market was July 2008. A group of four or five vendors, farmers and gardeners, had to relocate from the Summerside wharf. “Arnold Croken and Arthur Davies negotiated this space (a wonderful brick and rock basement area) with the Summerside Area Development Corporation,” said former Market manager Gerry Reichheld. Current manager Don MacDonald added, “It’s been a success since day one. We are small enough that folks have an opportunity to talk with the producers, there’s no rush, yet we offer a wide variety of goods.”
There are forty vendors (plus a waiting list) offering everything from honey to sprout kits, potatoes to custom woodworking. Mike Taylor, of The Bony Broth, has been a vendor for over two years. “I love it. The crowds are consistent. We are very well supported by the people of Summerside,” he commented.
The Summerside Farmers’ Market Co-op president, Brian MacKay (also of Crystal Green Farms) said, “It’s such a positive atmosphere here. It’s a great place to socialize. We are local producers working for the good of the Market and for the good of our local customers.”
Indeed one of the Market policies is, “The market will be a ‘farmer’s market’ with special priority given to primary producers and farmers.” This is not to say that craft vendors are not welcome. New to the Market on October 14 was Jacinthe Sabourin, JC’s Creations. Ms. Sabourin makes decorative covers for toothbrushes (electrical or manual). Several of her friends told her to apply for a spot at the Summerside Market. She says that she was pleased with the traffic flow.
With a large sit down eating area, four hot food booths plus a coffee kiosk, there’s no need to hurry through your morning. The Farmers’ Market at 250 Water Street is open every Saturday, year round, from 9 am to 1 pm. And there really is something for everyone.