This summer the new Guildwood farmers’ market set up shop for the first time at the intersection of Livingston and Kingston Roads. It is currently a small market trying to build ties and gain a foothold in the community so that it can grow. On average the Guildwood farmer’s market sees about 200 people pass through per day, whereas the larger farmers’ markets can see up to 700 people a day.
The big attractions of farmers’ markets are the quality of the products and the sense of being connected to your food and knowing where it comes from without having to grow it yourself. You know that you are buying produce that was picked fresh that morning from the surrounding area, which also helps support the local community.
In addition to the produce stalls there are stalls that sell fish, meat, cheese, bread, baked goods, jam, preserves and even jewelry. There is also live music, face painting and barbecuing in an effort to make it a must see family destination.
“We really want to help create and sustain a walk-in community,” says market manager and co-founder Gail Ross.
Unfortunately the recession has made it harder for this new market to attract customers. Ross said market sales have gone down by about 20 per cent since the recession started and she has heard questions about price instead of quality or freshness for the first time.
While it is true that prices at the farmer’s market can be higher then at the grocery store, the people and the quality make the visit worthwhile.
“You tell me what you’re cooking and I won’t send you home without what you need to make it great,” says produce vendor Theodore Oldsman. “We’re real people, we can do discounts on big orders or throw in some extra and you don’t get that at a store.”
Some of the stalls also put out samples so you know exactly what you are getting before you take it home.
The Guildwood farmers’ market is held at 121 Livingston Rd. every Thursday afternoon from 2 to 6 p.m. until Oct. 22