Local vendors encouraged to join the farmers market

The Haliburton County Farmers Market welcomes local vendors. / PHOTO FILE

Local vendors encouraged to join the farmers market

By Stephen Petrick
In the midst of the coldest days of winter, the Haliburton County Farmers Market is thinking about spring… and hoping to find new local vendors.
The application process for vendors wishing to have tables this upcoming season has started. To apply, fill out a form at https://betahcfma.wordpress.com before January 31st.
This year, the market particularly encourages new local agricultural producers and “backyard producers” to apply.

New market manager Lauren Phillips said traditionally many market vendors have come from the rural south, like Lindsay or Buckhorn, possibly because there is more quality farmland. She hopes to have more Haliburton County growers on board this year. She encourages people who may only have a small farm or a few crops to apply. For those who couldn’t commit to selling every market day, there is also a “community table” that several small businesses can share throughout the year.
The first market of the season is scheduled for Tuesday, May 17 at Head Lake Rotary Park in Haliburton. The market will then open at the fairgrounds in Minden on Sunday 21 May. Starting June 17, the market will also be held weekly at the Stanhope Community Fire Hall on North Shore Road.

There is no shortage of good reasons to support the market, Phillips said.
“You support the local economy and your community,” she said. “It’s a big draw for tourists and locals alike. The market has something for everyone from kids and dogs to grandparents.
“It’s nice to go on a family outing,” she said, adding that the Haliburton Market is set against the fabulous backdrop of the lake. “It’s fun to go for a walk and see what everyone is doing.”
Haliburton and Minden markets typically have 20-25 vendors; Stanhope’s is usually a bit smaller.
Among the regular vendors is Raisin the Root, a Haliburton County company that sells vegan and gluten-free foods. There’s also McLean Berry Farm, a company well known for seasonal berries, including strawberries.
Arts and crafts are also sold in markets, but to comply with Farmers ‘Markets Ontario regulations, the Haliburton County Farmers’ Market must have more than half of its vendors selling agricultural products.
Those who participate in the market also carry on a long popular tradition. On any given market day, the market can see 1,000 to 1,500 customers, Phillips said. She estimates that more than 20,000 clients have participated in the past year.

COVID-19 had impacted their operations somewhat – the tables may be more spread out now – but the market is an essential service. On the contrary, the pandemic could lead to increased traffic, she said. Local residents have less opportunity to travel far and choose to stay and shop locally.
“We certainly saw a lot of tourists last summer; people coming from all over Ontario, stopping in Haliburton. There were vacationers and day trippers; there certainly appears to be more domestic travel.
She also stressed how important it is to support local suppliers. Buying locally, she explained, reduces the need for imported food, which reduces transport and the carbon footprint. At the same time, it supports the local economy. “It’s a direct economy,” she says. “There is no middleman.”
For more market information, visit betahcfma.wordpress.com.

James V. Payne