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.)