A number of factors combined to make the 2010 Creston Valley Farmers’ Market the biggest and best year ever, says manager Jen Comer.
“It has been a perfect lineup of events,” she said, “with the Cres-ton Valley Food Action Coalition coming on board to oversee the market and the tremendous financial and in-kind support from organizations and individuals within our region.”
With a manager and a 38-page business plan in place to start the year, the market hit the ground running last June. Vendors were a key component in the development of the 2010 market, Comer said. Grants totalling $5,000 from Regional District of Central Kootenay area directors Garry Jackman, John Kettle and Larry Binks helped pay to create an archway entrance to the market and purchase four collapsible canopies that are rented to vendors who don’t own one.
Partnerships with the Creston Valley Advance, which donates weekly space for recipes and market information, and CIDO 97.7 FM, which conducted regular interviews with market vendors, helped spread the word about the market, Comer said.
“We believe by showing our community the people behind the products they purchase at the market and how to use them, they can make more educated consumer choices” Comer said.
In 2010, Comer said, the Creston Valley Farmers’ Market attracted 110 different vendors, many of which reported their best year ever for sales. By once again moving to Morris Flowers Garden Centre in the fall, the Creston venture now has the longest market season in the Kootenays.
And changes are planned for 2011. Creston town council recently approved a one evening weekly produce market that will be located on the 11th Avenue North Spirit of Creston Square, between Canyon Street and the alley.
The seven-month season for the 2011 market is scheduled for a May 7 kickoff.
“This season has been a great experience for me, as a market manager,” Comer said. “The learning curve has been steep, and there have been challenges. But overall, I am proud of what we have all accomplished. I look forward to managing the market next season.”