The Elmira Farmers’ Market is on the move, though within a stone’s throw of its long-time location.
The operation has outgrown its season spot in the parking lot behind the Woolwich Township administration building on Maple Street, prompting a relocation to the nearby parking lot of the former Freiburger’s grocery store.
Following a busy 2020 season and high levels of interest from new vendors looking to join the lineup, it was time to find a bigger location, said market manager Allan Martin, who has been with the market since its inception almost two decades ago.
The market is scheduled to open at the new spot May 1.
“We had an excellent season last year after we opened. We were supported 100 per cent,” he said of the 2020 opening that was pushed back to mid-June due to the pandemic.
Given that the market gives shoppers an option to pick up items in an outdoor venue, Martin said he expects to see a good turnout again this year.
“It just seemed that people would much rather come out and do their grocery shopping on a Saturday morning at the local farmers’ market than go into a grocery store. It’s an open-air market, and [they] felt more comfortable coming out there than otherwise.”
Martin says several new vendors have reached out to him expressing interest in setting up for the Saturday market day this time around. The increased demand in part prompted the relocation plans.
“We’re super excited [about] going to a bigger location and having more room to accommodate more vendors.”
Martin expects the number of shops for this season to grow from 18 to somewhere between the 22 to 25 range.
“We will be relocating to the Freiburger’s [lot], what I call the prime broker parking lot, to make more room so we can add additional vendors that have applied and want to come out this year,” he said, pointing to the likes of new organic vegetable growers, a specialty baker and Bloomingdale-based Woolwich Veg.
Though an outdoor location, the market will be taking all the virus-protection measures.
“We’re going to have everything in place the same as we did last year. One way market: one entrance and one exit. We’ll have to see how that all works out for us going to a new location, but that is our plan,” said Martin.
Other guidelines will include capacity limits and sanitizing stations as well as masking and the posting of public health information. All of these regulations are subject to change under the Reopening of Ontario Act and the local bylaw for face coverings as well as the local Public Health unit’s requirements for businesses.