Story by: Kayla Kreutzberg
Photo by: Canva
Despite COVID-19, the Mount Forest farmers market saw an increase in visitors this year, due to a couple of changes made.
The first change was relocating the farmers market from the corner of King and Egremont to the parking lot at the Victory Community Centre.
Harry Engel Wellington North farmers market manager says the main change that really benefitted the market was switching from Friday afternoons to Saturday mornings.
“See Friday afternoons what we saw was, and we’re very thankful for them, we saw a lot of our senior population coming out because they’re retired, they’re not working, and they can come out on a Friday afternoon. But we didn’t see the working people, the people that are still working out there. So, Saturday now has totally changed the whole demographic,” Engel said.
Engel says they still saw a lot of their seniors, but they also saw younger families come out and a lot more children.
Engel says he didn’t think Friday afternoons were working and discussed this with Dale Small, Wellington North economic development officer.
“Last year, [Dale] gave us the student that they hired for the summer, to come on Friday afternoons and actually do a survey, every Friday afternoon. […] She actually kept track of all the numbers, [and] we found [with] the numbers that we were averaging about 200 people per week,” he said.
Engel says although they haven’t done an official survey, he saw a significant increase in visitors since switching the market to Saturday mornings.
He also adds that because a lot of farmers markets were delayed this year or did not happen at all due to COVID-19, he reached out to some vendors that had shifted to other markets.
“Well we gained two vendors because of [COVID-19], so you know a lot of people are negative about the [COVID-19], and don’t get me wrong it’s a horrible thing, but there’s also opportunities if you look for them,” he said.
Engel says he is still looking for vendors to sell cheese and fish at next year’s market.
If you’re interested, you can find more information here.