For those of us who grew up in the Valley, we remember it as Farquarson Farms. The vegetable market there ran for years, indoor and outdoor, giant bins of corn and pumpkins available in season. It was a farm market on a farm in the middle of a rapidly growing city. Its presence kept the reality of farming and the preciousness of farmland in our hearts and minds.
The Comox Valley Farmers’ Market is endeavouring to do the same thing with this valuable piece of farmland. The land, now owned by Ducks Unlimited is being farmed by a local farmer who agrees to allow the once endangered Trumpeter Swan population to winter on the land on their annual migration. The Valley is home to at least 10 per cent of the world’s trumpeter population and the Comox Bay Farm is some of the most critical backshore farmland adjacent to the estuary, much needed habitat as wetlands continue to disappear.
“What better place for a farmers market than right in the middle of the city, on a beautiful farm” market manager Vickey Brown says. “It will bring people onto agricultural land and raise awareness of the value of these lands and the growing pressure to develop them.” The piece of land that the market will sit on is no longer suitable for farming, it is the site of the old Farquarson’s building, and the market and the farmer working the land are happy to share the space.
“The Wednesday market will provide an opportunity for us to get onto the land and see how it will work for the market”, says Brown “While it is generally a smaller market for us than the Saturday, many of the most popular Saturday vendors will be doing the Wednesday market as well.”
Of course, the farmers appreciate the opportunity at this time of year to pick and sell twice a week. There is so much produce coming ready for market, it is an opportunity for the public to have access to fresh local produce twice a week. There will also be cheese, and meat, and fish and chicken, berries of all sorts coming soon and bedding plants for those who haven’t planted their home garden yet.
The market will run 9:00-12:00 every Wednesday from June 15 to Sept. 28 and will include local music to enjoy while you shop. Long-time market favourites the Black Swan Fiddlers will open the Wednesday season next week.