By Willa Crowley
On June 18th, the Fort St. James Farmers’ Market reopened for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Market president Kristen Cooper-Nutbrown said, “We missed everyone, and are glad to be back. We’re hoping for good weather, which rarely happens!”
In her second year as president, Cooper-Nutbrown is looking forward to her first year actually running the market, as it was closed in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. Extra precautions have been put in place for 2021 to keep both vendors and customers safe.
It is recommended that those visiting the Farmers’ Market wear a mask, and sanitize upon both entering and leaving. To prevent crowding, there will be chalk arrows on the pavement for buyers to follow. Unfortunately, buyers will not be able to linger at the market to socialize like they have in past years.
Vendors were pleased to find that the opening day weather was warm and sunny, with no wind to blow down their tents. Most felt that the day went well, though it was a bit quiet, as lots of community members were unaware of the reopening.
At the end of the day, they had a black bear visit the market, giving vendors a laugh as they packed up their products and booths.
Buyers planning on visiting the market can expect to see a variety of familiar and new products. This includes candles, cosmetics, beeswax wraps, greeting cards, jewellery, salves, and even dog food. There will be produce including eggs, vegetables, jams and jellies, and prepared food vendors including butter chicken, coffee, ice cream, bannock, cookies, soups and sandwiches.
Cooper-Nutbrown said the Farmers’ Market is an important seasonal community event, and she is looking forward to seeing residents return this summer to support local entrepreneurs.
She is also hopeful that as the school year ends and new pandemic regulations are announced, they will be able to provide kid friendly activities and make space for youth vendors.