Regular shoppers at the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market can sleep a little later on Saturday morning and still get the freshest, tastiest food in the Valley. After extending the hours to 1 p.m. over the summer, the market has now adjusted the hours to 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the fall/winter season so that farmers and other vendors can get set up in the daylight.
Executive director Vickey Brown shares why they’ve made the shift.
“With the sunrise moving toward 8 a.m. it’s challenging for families to get themselves to the market before noon, so we wanted to try to accommodate our customers who have been asking us for years to shift the hours to later in the day. It’s also challenging for some of the vendors getting their product ready and loaded in the dark or feeding their animals before they head off to market.”
Short markets have proven themselves to work better for farmers, with the vast majority of markets running from 10-2 across the province. Brown is hopeful that early morning shoppers will find a way to continue to come with the new hours.
“We very much appreciate that the new hours may pose timing issues for some of our existing customers, who were used to the old hours, we are hopeful that they can find a way to continue to shop with us,” she said.
The Comox Valley Farmers’ Market is also working on introducing a customer membership program this year. It is developing the benefit package now and hopes to offer a way for customers and advocates for local food to contribute to the market whether they are regular shoppers or not.
“Our customers are so very loyal and we’d like to bring them more into the fold,” Brown asserts. “Some of them have been customers longer than some of our vendors have been vendors, and have been key to our growth in the community.”
The market is at the Native Sons Hall until Dec. 17 and then re-opening Jan. 7 2017, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. every Saturday.