It was a busy day outside the Memorial Centre in Kingston, Ont., on Sunday, as the Farmer’s Market saw a long-awaited return to outdoor activity.
“People I think have been just so excited to get back doing their regular market day,” says Market Operations Manager Emma Barken.
“It’s been a great turnout and great weather.”
More than 30 local vendors were on hand to help amp up the excitement.
“I love in-person markets,” says market vendor Tammara Maher.
Founder of Collective Joy – All Season Farm, Maher has been selling at the Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market for eight years now.
“It’s so nice to have the opportunity to sell online during the winter, but farmer’s markets is an in-person experience and it’s so wonderful to be back and see everybody’s faces,” she says.
Maher used to live in the neighbourhood herself, and has recently expanded her business to a store in Napanee.
“When you’re supporting local you’re supporting people who live and work in your community, you’re supporting the building of a local food system,” Maher says. “So that if things like a global supply chain crisis happen, you’re still going to have a food supply. And, of course, you’re helping small businesses in your own community grow and thrive.”
That now includes Reinink Family Farms, new this year to the market but a local seller for years now.
“It feels great, the weather’s fine, it’s nice to see people and socialize to some extent with some distance,” says Hank-John Reinink. “It’s lovely.”
Sunday marks Reinink’s first day as a vendor with the Memorial Centre Market.
He says he’s happy to connect with the community, especially years into the COVID pandemic.
“You realize the importance of food and availability and supply and … supporting each other through this all,” Reinink says.
Barken says the market is 100 per cent producer vendors, so everything bought at the market is somehow either grown, produced or made by the vendor who is selling it.
The weekly market is set to continue in front of the Memorial Centre until October, offering local produce every Sunday between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.