A new farmers market is set to come to Clayton this summer.
The community-hosted Clayton Community Farmer’s Market plans to showcase the wares of local farmers, artisans and crafters in a series of Sunday events to be held in the parking lot of Clayton Heights Secondary School from May until September.
Market manager Sabrina Mehlhorn said she was inspired to organize the market last fall while she was catching up with her Clayton-area neighbours on Facebook. “One day they were talking about things that Clayton still needs or wants … people were mentioning a library, a recreation centre, all big things.”
That’s when the idea of a farmers market was floated in the group.
“I was like, ‘Yeah, I can do that. I can organize a farmers market.’”
At the moment, Mehlhorn is the sole force behind the market, volunteering her time to launch the community event.
Mehlhorn, who works in web design and marketing, was able to use her professional skill set to create a website and social media platforms for the market. She has been co-ordinating with the Surrey School District and the City of Surrey to set up the details for the events, which are scheduled to take place on alternating Sundays from May 13 until Sept. 16.
The Clayton Community Farmer’s Market received a $1,000 Neighbourhood Enhancement Grant from the City of Surrey and has received “conditional approval” pending the submission and approval of the remaining paperwork.
Yalda Asadian, Special Projects Manager for the City of Surrey, said that things “look good” for the new farmers market and that the society is well on track.
“We’d do whatever we can to assist this group,” said Asadian, explaining that the City is working to help the farmers market get through the application process, which can be a difficult process for some start-up events.
The City has been approached by groups looking to put on farmers markets before, but apart from the Surrey Urban Farmers Market in North Surrey, no other farmers markets currently take place in Surrey.
“We’re eager to work with anyone willing to put on a farmers market,” said Asadian.
Mehlhorn said she had been asked what the “vibe” of the market will be — will it be catering to tourists and out-of-towners, or will it be for the locals?
Clayton is a very dense residential area, Mehlhorn said, and this market will be a chance for neighbours to connect with their local farmers and artisans in a fun, family friendly environment.
And, she added, it is filling a need that is not met in the Clayton community.
There are neighbouring farmers markets during the summer months, but, as Mehlhorn noted, it can be difficult for people to attend them, as they take place during the work week. The Surrey Urban Farmers Market takes place every Wednesday from 2 to 6 p.m. from June to October, and the Langley Community Farmers’ Market takes places on Wednesdays from 12 to 4:30 p.m. from May to October.
When the Cloverdale Reporter spoke with Mehlhorn on Thursday (Jan. 18), she said she wanted the Clayton Community Farmer’s Market to showcase local produce, crafts and art, as well as host activities for children, live acoustic music and food trucks.
Mehlhorn said she had around 14 vendors who had expressed interest in the markets, including artisans that craft their own soaps and candles, a local artist, and a “very new coffee vendor who wants to showcase her products.”
A few Surrey-based farmers have signed on, and one farmer from the Okanagan has confirmed they will make the trip out to Clayton to sell their fruit.
“She’s got cherries and peaches and all of these wonderful things, so it’s going to be a good addition,” said Mehlhorn.
She even has three food trucks booked for the first market date — Roasted Revolution, Hunger Management and Tacofino.
The market has room for around 40 vendors, and Mehlhorn is accepting new applications. Although she said she would prefer those who make, bake or grow their own wares, she will be including a few “re-sellers” as well, to support local entrepreneurs who operate their businesses out of their homes.
There will be also be space set aside for those who want to get involved with the market as an organization or a business. Small Surrey and Langley-based charities and non-profit organizations are welcome to book “community tables” to connect with Clayton community members and local businesses are welcome to sponsor the Family Fun Zone, crafts or live music.