Vancouver’s original winter farmers market is kicking off the season Saturday and marking a milestone.
Vancouver Farmers Markets is marking the 10th anniversary of its winter market at Riley Park-Nay Bailey Stadium. To celebrate a decade on site at Riley Park, the market is set to open Saturday morning with more than 100 farms and producers, making it the largest ever winter market opening day.
“It’s amazing to see how the winter season has grown since we moved from the WISE Hall to Nay Bailey in 2010,” said Jen Candela, VFM’s communications manager and coordinator of the market from 2007 to 2011.
“We were just 44 vendors that first year at the stadium – now we’ve expanded to both side of Ontario Street with 100 vendors each week, and run a second winter market at Hastings Park.”
The Hastings Park market opens Nov. 3.
Alongside a slew of returning favourites, both markets are welcoming a number of new vendors – new local farms, craft beverage producers, artisanal food makers, and food and coffee trucks.
“The variety of producers the winter markets attract is a testament to Vancouver’s growing appetite for local food,” Tara McDonald, VFM’s executive director, said in a press release.
The winter markets have grown over the years – going from 1,400 shoppers a week in 2010 to 5,000 in 2019.
The increase has also been a boon for the market vendors. Sales have gone from $370,000 in 2010 to $2.9 million in 2018.
“Our farm has been so fortunate to be part of the Vancouver market scene all these years,” said Anna Helmer of Helmers Organic Farm. “The winter market in particular has been an important part of our business for the last decade and it’s wonderful to be able to bring our potatoes to a vibrant market week after week.”
Saturday’s Riley Park market will feature celebratory birthday treats and speeches starting at 10:30 a.m.
Vancouver Winter Farmers Markets 2019-2020 schedule:
4601 Ontario St. & 50 East 30th Ave.
Every Saturday, Nov. 2 to April 25 (closed Dec.28)
10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Every Sunday, Nov. 3 to April 26 (closed Dec. 29)
10 a.m. until 2 p.m.