As the days get longer and warmer, the return of the Clayton Community Farmer’s Market comes ever closer.
This year’s market is expanded in every way compared to its inaugural run in 2018. There will be more space, more vendors and more markets, as organizer Sabrina Mehlhorn has signed on for a 12-market season.
The first market is scheduled for Sunday, May 5, and the events will run every second Sunday through to Oct. 6.
Although there was talk last year of potentially expanding the market so that it would run every Sunday, Mehlhorn told the Reporter that the parking lot rental fees would have been too expensive.
“I would have had to raise prices for vendors,” she said, explaining that she wanted to keep prices low for participants.
One day, though, her goal is to find a way to make a weekly market happen, she said.
Last year, towards the end of the season, the market was seeing an average of 700 people come through, said Mehlhorn. This year, she expects an average of 1,000.
“I’m hoping that we can spread the word and make more people aware that it exists. Of course, [2018 was] the first year, so it always takes time to bring people in.”
This year’s market will have more vendors, with an average of 70 booths booked for each date (and a potential to hold up to 82). Last year’s participation capped out at 55 vendors.
For the first market, scheduled for Sunday, May 5, much of the fresh produce grown locally will not yet be available as it’s still early in the season. There will be, however, a microgreen vendor, as well as plenty of homemade goods including cheese, jerky, kombucha, and a variety of baked goods.
The first market will have free coffee and treats while supplies last, as well as face painting, balloons and live music.
It’s certainly not the only special event planned to run at the market. There are several fun extras scheduled, including a dog show on May 19, a community garage sale on June 2, a Canada Day kids carnival on June 30, an apple festival and pie contest on Aug. 25, a harvest festival on Sunday, Sept. 22, and a season finale event on Oct. 6.
“I’m always looking at other farmers’ markets,” said Mehlhorn. “Whenever I see something great, I make a note and I see if we can incorporate it into the market.”
She wanted locals to have “even more reasons to come and enjoy the nice Sunday with their families, and meet neighbours.” As well, since the market has a larger footprint this year — about a third more space than last year — there is simply more room to host entertainment.
As the market will be cancelled in cases of extreme weather, Mehlhorn recommends checking the event’s Facebook page for updates on cancellations. The page also features vendors in daily spotlights, detailing the products that will be for sale at upcoming markets.
For a full list of market dates, or for vendor sign-up information go to claytonfarmersmarket.org.
The market takes place in the parking lot of Clayton Heights Secondary School, located at 7003 188 St. Parking is available on adjacent streets.