Are you one of those folks who packs up the kids and the dog and races to make sure you make it to the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market before noon?
Or someone who is there bright and early each Saturday and wandering the market to peruse the produce before the vendors are done setting up? Or maybe you can only manage to make it to the market once a month for a coffee and a scone.
Some visitors to the market are there to shop. They have come and gone with their groceries before most people get there, and some linger, listening to the entertainer, meeting up with friends and getting growing advice or recipes from farmers.
Farmers markets are growing in popularity and numbers, now that people are thinking more about buying local. But that’s not the only reason people shop at the Farmers Market.
Recent studies done by the BC Farmers Market Association point out that, “Customer preferences for food that is fresh, grown locally and purchased directly from farmers means that loyalty is a critical quality of the relationship between customers, vendors and the market.”
Another key motivator for market shoppers is nutritional content. The same study found that the vast majority of survey respondents listed nutritional content as their top consideration in a list of factors including seasonality, food safety, animal welfare, grown locally, natural (not certified) and packaging (materials).
When food is grown sustainably and harvested at most the day before market and at best, the morning of, the health value in that food is tremendous, vastly different from anything shipped, or stored in a large supermarket.
Savvy shoppers recognize that there is much more value for their family in a fresh head of lettuce or a pint of blueberries from the farmers market — they are still fresh a week later in the fridge (if they last that long)!
Whatever kind of market visitor you are, the farmers’ market appreciates the effort you make to come out and support your local farmers’ market vendors.
Every year around this time, the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market invites all of their patrons to come and spend some time celebrating the relationships made at the market. This Saturday is Customer Appreciation Day, so enjoy some corn on the cob, enter a draw for a prize from one of the many fabulous vendors, and enjoy the bounty of this Valley.
The farmers’ market runs every Saturday year round, from 9 a.m. to noon April to Oct. 8 at the Exhibition grounds and Oct. 15 till April at the Native Sons Hall.
— Comox Valley Farmers’ Market