If fresh Manitoba-grown produce is something you seek, look no further than the Wenkai Farmer’s Market.
Dave Trozzo and his wife Tara were in Thompson Aug. 2 through the weekend, selling organic vegetables from Wenkai Oriental Vegetables, based in Winnipeg and grown in Elie, Manitoba.
The road to setting up shop in Thompson was not easy for the Wenkai crew, as the encountered a few speed bumps both last year and this year.
“A partner of mine came up here last year and wanted to set up an outdoor farmer’s market,” said Trozzo, “but when he got up the weather was really lousy and he lost a lot of good product and he got discouraged.”
Trozzo however wasn’t bothered and went about his way to attaining a business permit from the City of Thompson for this year and was originally slated to operate inside of the Thompson Plaza.
A slight hiccup with a health inspection, more specifically one not being conducted forced Trozzo outdoors, in front of the MTS entrance at the Thompson Plaza, but with the weather holding up, it worked out in his favour as he was swamped his first day in town.
“People were expecting us here at 9 in the morning sharp,” said Trozzo, who drove up with his wife in a rented U-Haul van full of their product, “we ran in to some fog over night on the drive in and it delayed us. When we got in there were already about 30 people waiting for us to set up.”
Wenkai Farmer’s Market offers an impressive variety of veggies, not unlike what you’d see in your local supermarket; ranging from the dinner-time standards like carrots and broccoli, to salad essentials like lettuce and cucumbers and green onions, to selections for those with a more distinguished palette like eggplant and jalapeno peppers.
The prices at Wenkai are comparable to a supermarket if not a bit more expensive, but Trozzo says people will pay for high quality products.
“I’ve heard some people complain about produce they get elsewhere, saying that it doesn’t keep very long,” said Trozzo, “the produce we have here is picked the day before we bring it up, it’s locally grown, and it’s not treated with any chemicals.”
Trozzo says he got a lot of positive feedback from his customers, which was to be expected, as Thompsonites have been hurting for some new outlets for food shopping since the closure of Extra Foods.
The first weekend was a test run of sorts for the company, but Trozzo says the intention is to be in Thompson on a weekly basis until the end of the growing season.