Corn Festival hopes to grow interest in farmers market

Kerrisdale event attendance down from last year

The Kerrisdale Village Farmers Market hopes a helping of corn will bring out the people.

This Saturday, Aug. 25, it's hosting the third annual Corn Festival, which is being transplanted from Kitsilano to help the newer Kerrisdale market flourish. The market that started with a 10-week trial last year hasn't reached last August's attendance numbers.

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"If the weather is nice people go to the beach, or if it's not nice they stay home- Twenty and cloudy is perfect for us," said Vancouver Farmers Markets operations manager Roberta LaQuaglia. "We're looking forward to September being probably our busiest month at Kerrisdale."

Vancouver Farmers Markets runs a Berry Festival in July, the Corn Festival in August and a Tomato Festival at the Trout Lake and Kitsilano markets in September to capitalize on plentiful crops. "Corn's a favourite thing in B.C.," LaQuaglia said. "Everybody talks about Chilliwack corn and it being a rite of summer to have your local corn."

Five vendors from the Okanagan, Delta and Abbotsford will sling conventional and organic corn, the typical yellow and the mottled yellow and white peaches and cream variety.

"Often the misconception is that peaches and cream is sweeter, but usually the yellow corn is sweeter," LaQuaglia said. "Peaches and cream is a good marketing thing."

Customers can collect eight corn recipes that include corn salsa, pickled corn and corn soufflé.

"Really simple to a little bit more complicated, but nothing too expert," LaQuaglia said.

Visitors keen to snack on the fresh grain right away can try fresh-roasted corn from street food vendor Blue Smoke BBQ and munch on kettle corn.

Those unaware of how often they ingest corn products can count kernels at a display of the numerous goods that contain corn, including soda pop, gum, biodegradable packaging, dry pet food, soap and diapers.

"Not necessarily that it's a good or bad thing, but that they should be aware of it," LaQuaglia said.

The Dilly Dally toy store that runs beneath Vancouver Farmers Markets' offices on Commercial Drive is sponsoring a Fun with Food activities tent for kids, and corny joke books will be distributed.

While it waits for the Kerrisdale Village market to take root, Vancouver Farmers Markets is searching for an East Side locale suitable for another Sunday market in addition to the one in Kitsilano.

"We had been interested in the Sunrise area, but haven't been able to find an appropriate location yet," LaQuaglia said.

She encourages Saturday shoppers who need to drive and park close to check out the Kerrisdale market. "It has a really great selection of vendors and not as many lineups," LaQuaglia said. "And there's a reasonable amount of parking."

The Kerrisdale market runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until Oct. 6 on East Boulevard between West 37th and 41st avenues, near Kerrisdale arena.

For more information, see Twitter: @Cheryl_Rossi

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