The Comox Valley Farmers Market is bringing its midweek market to the heart of the city this year. With the support of the Downtown Courtenay Business Improvement Association, the City of Courtenay has allowed for the closure of England Avenue between Fifth and Sixth Wednesdays from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for July and August. The market will run from 9 a.m. to noon (with a little room on each side to serve folks who are working those hours).
The Wednesday Market offers fruit and veggie growers an opportunity to sell product that needs to be picked more than once a week, and customers an opportunity to support local growers outside of the Saturday market.
The midweek market is about a third of the size of the Saturday market as most farmers still need to work off farm during the week. About 25 vendors will attend each week offering a variety of veggies and fruits, poultry, beef and pork, take-home meals, honey, healthy body products, goats milk gelato and a variety of baked goods, including gluten-free options.
The Market participated in a socio economic study last year which suggests that the Wednesday Market’s economic benefit to the local economy annually is approximately $282,000 and has an average of about 700 visitors during a market day.
Many of the survey respondents attended almost weekly, or at least two to three times a month and spent an average of $24.66 at the market, and another $27 in surrounding businesses. The Market’s manager expects this number to rise with the new location.
“The survey was done at the Comox Bay Farm site, where there are not really any businesses nearby, so being downtown should increase the spending in surrounding businesses significantly,” says Vickey Brown, Market manager. “Small businesses are a big part of what makes a community economically and socially viable and we are happy to bring our customer base into the core, and encourage them to spread their dollars around.”
For the past two years the Wednesday Market operated on the Comox Bay Farm while the association tried out the logistics of that location for their permanent market site. The Farmers Market has been working with the City of Courtenay and Ducks Unlimited to get a lease for the long term development of the project. The site needs some upgrades to make it market ready, and at this time the Farmers Market Association does not have a long-term lease in place to facilitate those upgrades.
— Comox Valley Farmers Market