The Clearwater Farmers’ Market has a variety of vendors with products ranging from hand-spun wool and honey to baked goods and fresh produce. File photo

The Clearwater Farmers’ Market has a variety of vendors with products ranging from hand-spun wool and honey to baked goods and fresh produce. File photo

Clearwater Farmers’ Market heads indoors for winter

Vendors at the Clearwater Farmers’ Market say this year was good, despite a downturn in tourists and international visitors due to COVID-19, according to Joanna Hurst, Yellowhead Community Services’ food security program coordinator and market manager.

“The locals really pulled through, which was awesome,” she said.

Hurst added they saw a few more vendors this year, including one through the Market’s new incubator program, supported by Community Futures. Through the program, new vendors are provided subsidized supports including a tent and table, reusable signage, reduced stall fees for six months, access to webinars, guidebooks and business planning resources and one-on-one support from a business advisor. For more information on how to sign up, visit communityfutures.net/business-services/farmersmarketincubator/.

Vendors at this year’s summer market sold honey, produce and baked goods, as well as handmade housewares and art. One of the most interesting vendors they had this year, said Hurst, is a lady, Shona Watt, who creates baskets and obelisks through weaving willows, as well as creating fibre art.

“She’s felting, she’s getting natural fibers – she basically taking raw wool off a sheep, carding it, cleaning it, spinning it, knotting it — every single set along the way which is kind of cool,” said Hurst. “She’s being mentored by one of our other vendors Laura Mairs from Darfield who is experienced in that, so she’s always sitting at the farmers’ market with her spinning wheel and she’s spinning.”

Typically the market has vendors from Clearwater and Barriere, but this year, some came from as far away as 108 Mile Ranch and Vernon to sell their products. One vendor, who sells fruit, made the drive up to Clearwater a few times over the summer after government officials told people not to travel to the Okanagan due to wildfire activity.

And despite the smoky skies and high temperatures throughout the summer, the market didn’t once shut down.

“When we had that heat dome, we did move inside one week just because it was going to be so hot out,” said Hurst. “I didn’t want anybody collapsing on me at the market!”

But now temperatures have cooled and the market is moving inside for the next couple months. The first day of the Clearwater Farmers’ Market’s winter market will be Saturday, Oct. 23, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the Dutch Lake Community Centre gymnasium, and will happen every second week with the last of 2021 on Dec. 18. The market runs on alternating weeks with the Barriere Farmers’ Market so vendors have the opportunity to attend both markets.

Hurst said a lot of vendors have signed up for the winter market, including a lot of new faces in the community, and will be selling jewelry, paper crafts and other artwork. While still in the works, the market is also looking into providing coffee and breakfast service.

The YCS Soup Kettle is also coming up, with the first day set for Oct. 29 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. at the DLCC, and will run every Friday over the fall and winter months. The program is open to everyone and offers homemade soup and buns served to the public by donation.

Those who partake can take the soup to go or there will be a sit-in option in the DLCC gym, also in a takeaway format.

For more information about the Clearwater Farmers’ Market or Soup Kettle programs, contact Joanna Hurst at joanna.h@yellowheadcs.ca or (250) 674-3530.



newsroom@clearwatertimes.com

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