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Wellesley farmers’ market is just about ready to launch

Wellesley farmers’ market organizer Pam Wideman kneels in front of her seedling and sprout garden. [scott barber / the observer]
Wellesley farmers’ market organizer Pam Wideman kneels in front of her seedling and sprout garden. [scott barber / the observer]
Wellesley’s food producers and artists will get the opportunity to sell their wares on home field starting June 7 with the opening of the community’s new farmers’ market.

In contrast to markets in St. Jacobs or across the region, organizers hope to create a relaxed, intimate environment.

“I think a lot of people are tired of the crowds and the bustle at the bigger markets,” Pam Wideman said. “I love St. Jacobs, but who wants to drive out 20 or 30 minutes to shop, or to have to fight with tourists over apples?”

The market will take place every Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon at the Wellesley Park Pavilion, operating between June 7 and October 4.

After raising the issue via the Women of Wellesley Facebook group, Wideman was overwhelmed by the response.

“We wanted to come up with something more than just a market,” she explained. “This can be a place for neighbours to get together to connect and support each other.”

Through blogging and social media the idea picked up steam over the winter.

“It started out small, with my husband and I just wondering why the farmers around here should have to take their products out of town,” Wideman said. “But it grew because people are eager for the chance to support local businesses.”

So far, there are 10 seasonal vendors signed up to take part each week. Other specialty items, like homemade aprons, dresses and hair ribbons will be sold on a semi-regular basis.

The emphasis, of course, will be placed on the food itself, which will consist of baked goods, maple syrup, honey and a co-operative fruits and vegetables table, exclusive to Wellesley-area farmers. Given the diversity of the offerings of area farmers, the market hopes to have the expected assortment of produce, plants, crafts and baking, but does not want to be limited to that and is open to suggestions for future expansions.

“We are going to be a designated farmers’ market,” Wideman said in an interview earlier this year to promote the idea.  “The majority of venders will actually be farmers growing their own – there’s no food terminal product.”

As an enhancement to the shopping experience, there will entertainment. Live music will be a staple each week, starting with the Kitchener Music Society’s 40-piece band. Opening weekend will also feature a dog agility show and balloon art by Drew Ripley.

“Saturdays are a family day, so it’s a good day to take your family out to the market and support local farmers and business,” she said. “While you’re there, you can let your kids play while you browse around, and chances are you’re going to be shopping from your neighbours, among your neighbours.”

The market’s central location, walking distance for many Wellesley residents Wideman is quick to point out, is another draw.

“I think people will enjoy being able to walk out to the market with their kids and dogs. We are fortunate to have access to such a great spot. We are so excited to finally get going after months and months of planning.”

Early birds will be treated to a small opening ceremony shortly after 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 7.

To sign up as a vendor, busker or volunteer, contact Pam Wideman at pwidemanphoto@gmail.com.

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