Farmers planning to reap permanent marketplace inb Courtenay

The Comox Valley Farmers' Market Association will step up its fundraising campaign to build a permanent market in Courtenay this year.
It recently made a move by revealing its Peas in a Pod campaign during a Mystery Tour showcasing local food and agriculture in the Valley.

Gaetane Palardy of Island Gourmet Trails discusses a permanent farmers’ market during lunch at Tria Culinary Studio at Natures Way Farm.

Gaetane Palardy of Island Gourmet Trails discusses a permanent farmers’ market during lunch at Tria Culinary Studio at Natures Way Farm.

The Comox Valley Farmers’ Market Association will step up its fundraising campaign to build a permanent market in Courtenay this year.

It recently made a move by revealing its Peas in a Pod campaign during a Mystery Tour showcasing local food and agriculture in the Valley.

The Mystery Tour was auctioned off at the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society Harvest Banquet last fall as a fundraiser for the permanent market. Gaetane Palardy of Island Gourmet Trails donated her time to run the tour, and she took participants to the Saturday morning farmers’ market on Headquarters Road, as well as stops at the DeeKayTee Farm Market, Natures Way Farm and Blue Moon Winery, Tsolum Farm, Watrin Orchard and Farm Market and Comox Bay Farm — the site of the proposed permanent market.

During lunch at Tria Culinary Studio at Natures Way Farm, Comox Valley Farmers’ Market Association (CVFMA) vice-president Marla Limousin updated the group on the plans for the permanent market.

The CVFMA is hoping to break ground and start building a permanent market at Comox Bay Farm in two or three years, according to Limousin.

“We will be launching our Growing a Legacy campaign called Peas in a Pod,” she said. “It will have different levels of sponsorship — government, big companies, musicians and artists, customers. Through that and through talks with our MLA and MP, we will be looking at building this building. We’re looking at a $2-3 million building that will be multi-purpose for agriculture.”

The concept is being called the Place for Agriculture, and it will provide a year-round venue for showcasing local agricultural products from the Valley.

During the lunch, which was prepared by Purple Onion Delicatessen owner Chris Graham, Limousin announced that Palardy is the first Pea in a Pod for coming forward with the Mystery Tour.

The CVFMA has been talking about creating a permanent market for 10 years, market manager Vickey Brown explained when the group stopped at Comox Bay Farm — the former Farquharson Farms market.

A few years ago, the CVFMA and the Comox Valley Economic Development Society (CVEDS) held a community consultation to see what people in the Valley would like to see, and one of the biggest requests was for a permanent farmers’ market with a commercial-grade kitchen, a vending facility for processing, cold storage and perhaps a distribution centre, explained Brown.

Last March, Courtenay council approved the concept for the farm market facility on 2.3 hectares at Comox Bay Farm, which is owned by Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC).

The CVFMA will do some design work this year with its membership to come up with a basic indoor building, likely with two arms out the back to provide indoor/outdoor space “so in the summer, when it expands by 20 to 30 vendors, we don’t loose that outdoor feel,” explained Brown.

“For me, one of the biggest benefits of a farmers’ market is bringing people to agriculture and seeing farming,” she said. “This land is a huge benefit to the Valley and a huge benefit to us as land to have access to food and it’s important for us to support these farmers who grow the food.”

At the same time, DUC could do some kind of interpretive centre, noted Brown.

“There are a million ideas, and our job right now is to take all those ideas that came from the consultation and put them into a business plan,” said Brown.

This year, the CVFMA will funnel its vision a little bit and step up its fundraising campaign for the building, she explained.

“We’re going to try to raise the profile quite a bit this year,” she said.

Brown says the man who farms the land has been great and is happy to share the space.

“None of this is farmable,” she said of the 2.3 hectares fronting Comox Road. “It’s all been filled, and the land’s been contaminated. Nobody can farm it anymore, so it might as well be used to promote farming.”

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

12-year-old Ella Smiley captured some video of orcas on a sea lion hunt on Nov. 28 at Kitty Coleman Park, just north of Courtenay. Photo by Ella Smiley
VIDEO: Orcas hunt sea lion near Kitty Coleman Park

Twelve-year-old Ella Smiley, of Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings, caught up with a… Continue reading

The School District 71 DPAC hosted an online forum for candidates hoping to fill a vacant board of education position. Screenshot, SD71 DPAC Facebook page
Six make their pitch to fill empty school board seat in Comox Valley

District’s parents advisory council hosted the online forum for Area C candidates

Many of the static aircraft displays are decorated in thousands of lights for almost the entire month of December at the airpark on Military Row in Comox. Photo by Erin Haluschak
VIDEO: Christmas lights on display at 19 Wing airpark

Per COVID-19 rules, viewing of the display is strongly encouraged by vehicle and not exiting the car

GP Vanier grad Samantha Rebitt has earned the 2020 Governor General’s Academic Medal, with an academic average of 99.8 per cent. Photo supplied
GP Vanier announces its 2020 Governor General’s Academic Medal winner

Samantha Rebitt had a near-perfect 99.8 per cent academic average

The suspect in a Nov. 22 attempted robbery at the Ryan Road 7-Eleven has been arrested. Photo supplied
Courtenay man arrested in connection with attempted robbery at 7-Eleven

A 19-year old Courtenay man has been arrested following an attempted robbery… Continue reading

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Letter to the editor.
LETTER – Horgan’s election promise of COVID relief cash is money foolishly spent

Dear editor, Would you dip into your child’s registered education fund to… Continue reading

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

JumpCamp CEO Patrick Kitto shows off his technique. Photo by Brett Kroeker
Comox Valley snowboard organization holding annual snowboard drive

Christmas is coming so it’s time again for JumpCamp’s annual Santa Snowboard… Continue reading

Dave Wallace coached the Parksville Royals for 23 years. (PQB News file photo)
B.C. baseball community mourns death of legendary Vancouver Island coach Dave Wallace

‘All who knew Dave and his passion for the game will miss him greatly’

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

Most Read