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Farmers market staying put, Mill Market to proceed

Friday, April 11, 2014   by: Darren Taylor

Vendors from the Algoma Farmers Market will not be a part of the new, soon-to-open Mill Market, says Algoma Farmers Market President Susan Wilding.

In February, officials with Mill Square announced the Mill Market will open in June at the former Municipal Fish Hatchery site at 35 Canal Drive, as an interim step before the anticipated, eventual opening of a permanent, year-round farmers market at Mill Square’s Pulp Tower building.

After meeting with Mill Square officials, Wilding said vendors from the Algoma Farmers Market formed a committee to explore the possibility of becoming part of the Mill Market facility at the old Fish Hatchery site.

The committee voted against the idea Thursday, Wilding told SooToday.com.

Wilding said the Algoma Farmers Market chose to remain under the umbrella of Farmers Markets Ontario, as opposed to joining a for-profit entity such as the Mill Market.

Location and a long tradition played a huge role in the Algoma Farmers Market decision, Wilding said.

The Algoma Farmers Market, with about 25 vendors, currently has a summer location under a small tent near the Roberta Bondar Pavilion, and a winter location at Wellington Square Mall.

“We want to keep our growing customer base and if we moved (to the Mill Market facility), it would take a little while for people to realize we had moved, and we might have lost some customers,” Wilding said.

“We wanted to stay as a group because our heritage, our history is important…we’ve been in Sault Ste. Marie since 1901, and many families have been involved in the Algoma Farmers Market for that long.”

The Algoma Farmers Market, Wilding said, is gearing up for the beginning of its summer season, beginning June 7.

The group will be at its tent near the Roberta Bondar Pavilion Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., and, beginning in July, also on Wednesdays from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The group begins its winter run after Thanksgiving at Wellington Square Mall, every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Justus Veldman, Riversedge Developments CEO and the driving force behind the Mill Market project, said the Algoma Farmers Market decision doesn’t worry him, neither does it put a dent in his company’s plans.

“We still have over 25 vendors registered (for the Mill Market) so I’m not worried at all, as a matter of fact it releases some of our pressure for space.”

“It would be nice to have everybody in one area downtown but the Algoma Farmers Market decided against that and we have to respect that,” Veldman said.

“Our door is always open to any and all vendors, including the vendors of the Algoma Farmers Market, to join us.”

“Just because someone is a member of the Algoma Farmers Market doesn’t mean they can’t be a member of the Mill Market…our door is open to anybody who grows, produces, bakes and creates their own food and crafts,” Veldman said.

The 2014 farmers market season at the Mill Market, located in the old Fish Hatchery building, will begin June 4 and is expected to run through to October.

Hours of operation will be every Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Stalls for vendors will be located both inside and outside the building, with a layout provided to confirmed vendors prior to the market.  

To read earlier SooToday.com coverage of Mill Square’s plans for a farmers market facility, click here

(SooToday.com file photo by Carol Martin shows the Farmers Market in the parking lot of the Bondar Pavilion in 2012.)

Comments
13
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of SooToday.com. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
methos 4/11/2014 8:39:21 PM Report

There are way too many rules and it's too expensive to join the mill market. Whom ever made the rules for the Mill market doesn't have a clue about farming.
ThinkAgain 4/11/2014 8:51:19 PM Report

Someone just put some sand in the vaseline
2 Cor 5:17 4/11/2014 9:33:34 PM Report

The larger issue is that the Farmers Market members will not compete with each other. Their prices for the same goods are identical. They appear to be afraid to have a lower price than the stall next to them. I'm confident the Mill Market vendors will have better prices to compete against the non-competitive Farmers Market.
Rockin 4/12/2014 5:04:02 AM Report

As quoted, "Their prices for the same goods are identical".

In other words too many apples in the bushel!

In a perfect market such as that then each booth would have something completely different thus an equal friendly service...no feeling oh oh I'm going to get a foot in my face.

Well I sure know that if I were to sell local here I couldn't have the face to sell the exact item next to the person I'm going to know forever (after all it's not like Southern O where you can pack up and move to another market) and happily sing "Do what you want with my body by Gaga". That's just not me.

So sounds like total market fail in your opinion.
Asuna 4/12/2014 9:08:05 AM Report

I have always found the prices to be completely fair , at the farmers market. and ive always enjoyed going
2 Cor 5:17 4/12/2014 9:17:49 AM Report

Another issue I have with the Farmer's Market is that they don't post the "price per pound" of their goods. I get the sense that if they did, consumers would see that they're paying a significantly large premium vs the local grocery store on a price per pound basis. It may be a small price to pay for some who think they're getting better produce and satisfying some altruistic sense of helping local producers.
michael 4/12/2014 9:54:50 AM Report

I believe Sault Ste Marie is missing the boat on a great idea of having the market at the mill and developing a large green house complex using the heat from Essar steel to heat the greenhouse, water from the river and have fresh vegetables locally and reducing our carbon footprint. It would employ many people and have fresh produce different times of the year when prices are high
michael 4/12/2014 9:54:50 AM Report

I believe Sault Ste Marie is missing the boat on a great idea of having the market at the mill and developing a large green house complex using the heat from Essar steel to heat the greenhouse, water from the river and have fresh vegetables locally and reducing our carbon footprint. It would employ many people and have fresh produce different times of the year when prices are high
LAWL 4/12/2014 12:25:16 PM Report

How the hell are you going to get the heat from Essar steel?
osirisptah 4/12/2014 1:10:36 PM Report

I don't think it has anything to do with the price of the food. The people that shop there could choose to buy from the grocery store but don't because they want fresh, locally grown produce.

I'm not as worried about the price of the tomato per pound when the ones from the store are flavorless shells of a fruit compared to the quintessential variety offered by our local community farmers.

Maybe it is cheaper at one of the box stores, maybe not. But I would be willing to bet that what you're getting out of a locally grown product will be a lot more in terms of flavour, nutrition and overall satisfaction.
SAPHIRE 4/12/2014 1:29:20 PM Report

It would be great to have a year around market at one location. I believe that an indoor space would encourage more artists and vendors to be involved. What are the issues that are stopping the Committee from agreeing to move?
Trvlr 4/14/2014 7:01:50 AM Report

An opportunity missed. The cost for registration at Mill market is peanuts folks. This is a great initiative to promote local farmers and their produce at an excellent venue.
Cranmer 4/15/2014 10:00:42 PM Report

It's really too bad that the Algoma Farmers' Market can't see the potential of an all year market with more to offer for the general public in one location. Disappointing really. As a family relatively new to town who have faithfully gone to the market every Saturday, it will be sad to bike right by on the way to the Mill Market. I fear that many will do the same and the producers at the Bondar will lose out this year. There is a wonderful vision being cast at the Mill Square and it has the potential to revitalize this town and folks are catching on to it. This could have been a win-win. Oh well.
Comments
13
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of SooToday.com. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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