ERIN – This week marks the opening of the 2021 season for the Erin Farmer’s Market.
The market will run every Friday, starting June 25, from 3 to 7pm until Sept. 24 in McMillan Park.
Calehill Farm Fresh vendor and market organizer Brittney Livingston said this year’s market will feature more variety in comparison to previous years.
“We’re really happy this year to be working with public health and we’ve been able to bring in more farmers and more artisan vendors to offer a broader range of items,” Livingston said.
This year, the market has expanded into a parking lot space in order to operate the market safely for guests and vendors and welcome additional vendors.
It will feature 18 to 19 booths weekly with a total of 13 farmers, five food vendors and five local artisans rotating through part-time booths.
This year’s market is also welcoming a group of craft breweries located in Guelph that have reached out to surrounding markets and will be rotating different craft breweries through the markets each week.
“It’s really neat because all of the artisanal and the farmer vendors that we’ve welcomed aboard are all local to Erin and surrounding areas,” Livingston said.
“I think this year we really get to showcase a really unique side to Erin and our hope at the end of this year is that the vendors have a connection with their customers and then sales can continue … our goal is to create business for the rest of the year as well.”
The market, initially run under the umbrella of the agricultural society, has been running as its own operation for four years now.
In accordance with pandemic safety protocols and public health guidelines, the market will operate with vendors spaced apart and sanitization stations will be positioned throughout the market.
In addition, only vendors will be permitted to handle the products and will package them before handing them to shoppers.
The market strongly encourages all customers wear face coverings and utilize the multiple sanitization stations positioned throughout the market.
There will also be directional traffic flow indicators, with one entry and one exit only.
Livingston said organizers put together a survey ahead of the season this year to understand community needs and find out what vendors market regulars are visiting.
“We found out that market-goers tend to visit one to two booths per visit and we want to sort of change that to encourage people to branch out and try something different, something that they might not have necessarily gone to,” she said.
In response, this year the committee has decided to do a monthly draw to encourage market goers to check out more vendors. The draws will run in July, August and September.
“The market committee will be sourcing ingredients from our very own vendors and creating market boxes,” Livingston explained.
“So, throughout the month all of our visitors and our customers will get a ballot from each vendor that they purchase from… and they can enter our draw that will be drawn at the end of every month.”
The prize will include a $75 surprise food box that features different kinds of items from different vendors in the market.
Also new to the market this year is an email list for the public. The weekly email will be sent out to subscribers each Wednesday before the market. To subscribe to the email list, visit www.erinfarmersmarket.ca.
To reduce interactions, market organizers are encouraging pre-ordering and pre-paying with each vendor directly, which will be advertised through the weekly email subscription. Orders can be picked up from vendors on market day.
“I just think we have this opportunity now to really branch out and learn where local food comes from,” Livingston said.
“I think this is just such a great opportunity to get outdoors, in a safe environment, and find out where your food comes from.”