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First farmers market provides lessons to grow bigger next year

The inaugural Boreal Discovery Centre farmers market from Sept. 12-15 wasn’t perfect, but as gardeners know, what doesn’t go right one year lays the foundation for growing something bigger the next.
Doreen Asplund was one of the Boreal Dicovery Centre farmers market wndors Sept. 15, selling baked g
Doreen Asplund was one of the Boreal Discovery Centre farmers market vendors Sept. 15, selling baked good and preserves.

The inaugural Boreal Discovery Centre farmers market from Sept. 12-15 wasn’t perfect, but as gardeners know, what doesn’t go right one year lays the foundation for growing something bigger the next.

There were seven vendors who took part, including gardeners and crafters, and the biggest deficiency was not enough produce.

“This is the first year we’ve done this and there’s lots to learn,” said Boreal Discovery Centre board member Penny Byer. “We contacted the local producers a little bit too late. One of them had lost his harvest to frost and the other one just didn’t have the time frame to participate. I think some of the customers were disappointed because we ran out of produce so quickly and that’s understandable. But the nice thing is, I would say, 90 per cent of those customers were the ones who said, ‘Here, how about you consider this for next year or consider that?’ They were so understanding, it was wonderful.”

Ideas that the centre will consider for next year include contacting gardeners in Wabowden and Setting Lake as well as maybe changing up the schedule.

“We think four days might be a bit ambitious for Thompson,” said Byer. “However, having said that, maybe three days one week and three days the next week might be a good fit for Thompson.”

Other ideas include having the event a week or two earlier to increase the chances of balmy weather to enable it to be held outdoors. 

“We were thinking of having it outdoors anyways but [the weather’s] just a little bit unpredictable,” said Byer.

Starting small and learning from their mistakes will hopefully lead to a better event next year.

“Would it have been nice to have a huge event with hundreds of people coming?” said Byer. “Of course it would. But we’re not ready to handle that yet anyways. Next year I think we’ll be going into this quite a bit differently just because we got lots of really good ideas from people.”