Besides buying fresh fruits and vegetables at the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market, parents can also use a visit to the market as an opportunity to talk to their kids about where their food comes from.
A majority of the vendors selling at the Saturday markets are farmers, which means parents can introduce their kids to the actual person who grows the produce that ends up in their smoothies, who raises the chickens that lay eggs for their omelettes and houses the bees that provide their honey.
And, if they choose, kids can also meet the farmers who raise the pigs and cows that will end up on their barbecue this summer.
“Between 55 and 60 per cent of the vendors at the Saturday markets are farmers,” says Twila Skinner, General Manager, Comox Valley Farmers’ Market Association. “We try and have that at all of our markets, but there are variations related to seasonality for product and size of the market.”
Besides the Saturday market, back this year are the summer seasonal farmers markets. The Downtown Courtenay Summer Street Market runs every Wednesday between June 16 to Sept. 1 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the corner of 5th St. and England Ave. in Downtown Courtenay. The Cumberland market runs every Sunday from June 20 to Sept. 12 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Village Square in downtown Cumberland.
Shoppers can expect more vendors this year as restrictions begin to lift, so their visit will include soap makers and flower growers alongside fresh fish, dairy products, fruits and vegetables, free-run eggs, local teas, and meat from ethically raised farm animals.
While the markets provide pretty much anything a shopper need when it comes to a one-stop shop — including wine and liquor — they can also order their items from the comfort of their own home with the online market, featuring 30 vendors and more than 600 items.
In order to minimize risks and keep everyone safe, COVID-19 protocols are in place at all of the markets, including large open areas to encourage physical distancing, one way traffic flow, controlled entrances, hand-sanitizing stations and informational signage. Details about these protocols can be found on the market’s website.
- The Comox Valley Farmers’ Market runs Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds now through Oct. 16.
- The Downtown Courtenay Summer Street Market runs from 3 to 6 p.m. now through Sept. 1 on England Avenue at 5th Street.
- The Sunday Market in Cumberland is held in the Village Square and runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., June 20 to Sept. 12.