by Peggy Miles
A stroll around Summerside Farmers’ Market
I’ve been telling myself that this is the year I’m going to make handmade holiday gifts for my family and friends. Who am I kidding? That’s not going to happen. As I ponder this thought, I realize that the next best thing is to take a trip to the farmers’ market to find items from local artisans that can be wrapped up and delivered to loved ones.
Every Saturday community members clamber to the Summerside Farmers’ Market which is located in the historic Holman Building in downtown Summerside. As you walk through the building’s lower level you find stalls affixed along the grey stone walls and enveloped by a low ceiling. Contrasting the neutral setting are colourful goods in the form of veggie stands, artisanal wares and oh so many tasty treats.
As we grow closer to the season of giving, the Market artists are available to make gift suggestions. They offer products such as custom woodworking, glassworks, hand made soaps, jewellery, fabric crafts and garden décor.
Kathy Ethridge of Ethridge Pottery stresses the opportunity for the public to support local artisans while retaining revenue in the local economy. “Everybody could use a mug for Christmas…or maybe even four mugs,” smiles Ethridge.
The Market offers “one stop shopping for all your holiday needs” indicates Market Manager Jim Kimmet. Crafters and artisans can certainly help consumers to make checkmarks on their gift list, while food vendors have all of the supplies needed for a celebratory feast.
Market merchants boast high quality seasonal veggies and berries, eggs, meats, and home baking (including gluten free products). Manager Kimmet shares that poultry vendors are now taking holiday orders.
If you’re on the guest list for a slew of festive gatherings this year, the Market has lots of suitable hostess gifts such as jams, jellies, preserves, and spreads (including a very tasty red pepper relish).
In an era where it’s easy to get caught up in the consumption of the holidays, the Market offers a spot to relax and reflect. It’s a great place to take visiting friends and family or students home from university. A diverse group of sellers offers ready-to-eat foods such as coffee, baked items and international fare. Musical buskers are ever present to enhance the experience.
How do vendors want the public to feel at the Market? “We want them to be comfortable and feel like it’s what’s ‘right’. It’s right to teach your kids how to support local farmers and artisans. It’s right to keep your money in your community. It’s right to eat healthy.” Market organizers are encouraged by the recent increase in local traffic.
The Summerside Farmers’ Market will operate on its regular schedule during the holiday season, and is open every Saturday year round from 9 am–1 pm. For more information, check out their Facebook page.