Changes coming for Lake’s 2016 farmer’s market

There are changes coming for the Lake Cowichan farmer’s market, which will be entering its second season this May.

There are changes coming for the Lake Cowichan farmer’s market, which will be entering its second season this May.

On Jan. 28 the market’s organizing committee held its first meeting of the new year to discuss what vendors would like to see happen with the event this year.

“This year we want to make it open longer. So we’ve extended the dates from Mother’s Day to Thanksgiving, so we’ve made it a longer time,” said Jennifer Pollner, chairperson of the Lake Cowichan Downtown Renewal Society which came up with the idea to hold a farmer’s market in town.

“We want to get more variety of vendors so we’re looking to find different food vendors and what people are looking for. So we have heard from the public that they want more fresh fruit, vegetables, fresh products. Wineries, that kind of stuff.”

Pollner said the market is also looking for artisans, which were popular and plentiful at last year’s market. The committee is looking for ways to increase the variety of artisanal products.

“If we were going to have the same thing [for sale], like the exact same thing, that we would only have two or three. Last year we had several [of each] and that was a concern by our public and our vendors,” said Pollner.

New rules for the 2016 season have not been finalized, but the committee has been researching the rules of other, more established farmer’s markets in the area. The group is also evaluating what its new vendor fees should be, based on the market’s operating costs.

Pollner emphasized that it’s not just vendors the market is hoping to attract. She said the farmer’s market is always looking for more volunteers — everyone from musicians to visual artists to non-profit organizations who can host activities for children and families.

“We would like to create an environment of family excitement and entertainment. So we’d like to see the community out and be a part of that and be a part of creating that,” said Pollner.

“If you know how to face paint or do balloon animals and you want to volunteer some time that would be amazing.”

The Lake Cowichan Downtown Renewal Society is a group of businesses and community members seeking ways to generate more foot traffic and community activity through Lake Cowichan’s downtown core.

The farmer’s market was its first big initiative.

“We have grand ideas of branding and painting, but we needed to pick one task and get it finished. So we chose the farmers market,” said Pollner. “Maybe [market goers] would go for coffee or they’d wander through and buy a dress, or even just look through the windows and come back and buy something next time.”

Applications for the 2016 farmer’s market are now available for pick-up at Country Grocer’s Lake Cowichan customer service counter.