Amherstburg Farmers Market

Amherstburg Farmers Market opens for 2017 season

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Farmers Market is open for another season.

The market, located at the Malden Community and Cultural Centre, opened with eight vendors though the small committee now running the market are always open to more. The committee is made up of Steeve and Cynthia Bouchard and Rita Casagrande, with Cynthia stating they are hopeful for the inclusion of some wineries.

Paul and Brenda Jones - a.k.a. “Keeping Up With the Joneses” - perform during the opening day of the Amherstburg Farmers’ Market.

Paul and Brenda Jones – a.k.a. “Keeping Up With the Joneses” – perform during the opening day of the Amherstburg Farmers’ Market.

Steeve said they stepped up to help run the market, noting their farm Bouchard Gardens has been there since the market first started.

“We want to see it do well,” said Steeve.

The Bouchards say they travel to a number of markets in the area to sell their fruits, vegetables and other products.

“This is obviously our favourite,” said Steeve. “It’s right around the corner from us.”

The crowds are “pretty steady,” he said.

“We get our regulars who come out every Saturday,” he said.

Cynthia and Steeve Bouchard are two thirds of the committee running the market this year along with Rita Casagrande.

Cynthia and Steeve Bouchard are two thirds of the committee running the market this year along with Rita Casagrande.

The Amherstburg Farmers Market features fruits, vegetables, baked goods, fish, and even snacks like popcorn. The Amherstburg Fort Malden Horticultural Society held a plant sale there last Saturday with live entertainment on site as well.

“It’s a little bit of everything,” said Steeve. “It’s a good variety of stuff.”

Those interested in becoming a vendor can visit www.amherstburgfarmersmarket.com or call call 519-972-1340 or 519-736-3550. The market runs every Saturday until September from 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. with the Shaanti International Museum of Costume and Dolls also open during those hours inside the Malden Community and Cultural Centre.

Council agrees to waive Amherstburg Farmers Market fees, but for only one year

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Fees have been waived for the Amherstburg Farmers Market, but for only one year.

The market opens this Saturday at the Malden Community & Cultural Centre with Steeve Bouchard representing the market at the most recent meeting of town council. Bouchard outlined the many markets in the area and said those markets pay nothing in fees.

“I’m wondering if we could avoid me having to come back every year and waive the fees for the life of the market?” asked Bouchard.

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale wondered how much the fees amounted to with manager of licensing Nicole Rubli stating that waiving the fees could amount to the town not receiving as much as $3,000 in revenue.

Amherstburg Farmers Market

Councillor Rick Fryer was in favour of waiving the fees for as long as the market was there.

“If we are going to do it one, two or three years, let’s do it as long as the market exists,” said Fryer.

Councillor Diane Pouget disagreed with waiving the fees in perpetuity, believing council doesn’t have the right to do that. She said the financial situation can change every year.

“A new council might feel different about this,” said Pouget.

Councillor Leo Meloche agreed with Pouget, also noting financial conditions can change.

“If the situation changes and we desperately need $3,000, I’m sure the council of the day will find a way to charge residents $3,000,” said Fryer.

CAO John Miceli noted there are many fees that the town charges and that can add up to “significant revenue.” He said every time fees are waived, the town needs to be on top of the situation.

“In my opinion, we need to keep track of this,” said Miceli.

Miceli added that “in perpetuity is a very long time” but added that it is “just a word” that could be changed if the council of the day saw fit.

Councillor Jason Lavigne questioned whether the town should just scrap fees for the farmers’ market if Amherstburg is the only municipality charging them. His motion to waive the fees for one year and get a report back from administration on the subject.

The Amherstburg Farmers Market runs 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. every Saturday from May to September.

First ever Sunday Market Wellness Stroll pleases organizers

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The first of three Sunday Market Wellness Strolls was held Sunday morning with organizers happy with how things went.

Participants got to try their hand at yoga, pilates, belly dancing and other forms of exercise in the Navy Yard Park during the event as well as receiving an opportunity to visit some of the 12 vendors that were set up in the parkette area. It was presented jointly by the Amherstburg Farmers Market and the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce (ACOC).

Ena Monteleone leads people through yoga during the Sunday Market Wellness Stroll.

Ena Monteleone leads people through yoga during the Sunday Market Wellness Stroll.

“It’s getting the community together,” said stroll co-organizer and ACOC board member Gay-anne Ledingham.

Ledingham said it was also a way to bring people to downtown Amherstburg on a Sunday morning and for them to enjoy healthy exercises and products. The dozen vendors that were there featured “all natural, healthy choices,” she stated. Many of the businesses involved donated their time to support the event.

Organizers were “very happy” with the turnout, she added, but there is room for others should they want to come next month.

“We can always use more,” said Ledingham.

Some local businesses in the area also got involved, as Ledingham said Riccardo’s Italian Restaurant donated bocconcini to those who attended.

Heather Vandenham from Seasons leads one of the exercises.

Heather Vandenham from Seasons leads one of the exercises.

Connie Campbell-Dupuis attended Sunday morning’s stroll and enjoyed the yoga aspect of it.

“The setting is perfect. Just doing it by the water is very helpful,” she said. “(Instructor Ena Monteleone’s) voice helps. I have to join yoga.”

Josh Rene from Tasty Traditions Gourmet Treats & Gifts said they turned out to the market because they wanted people to try their products but also out of a love for the town.

“We love Amherstburg and we love bringing our products to Amherstburg,” he said. “We jumped at the opportunity. It’s really good. It’s really exciting.”

Pilates was also part of the Sunday Afternoon Wellness Stroll.

Pilates was also part of the Sunday Afternoon Wellness Stroll.

Ledingham was thankful to everyone who supported the event, including town council for granting permission for the event to be held in Navy Yard Park. The next two strolls are scheduled for July 31 and Aug. 21 from 8 a.m.-12 noon.

For more information, contact Ledingham at 519-736-2771.

Amherstburg Farmers Market open for 2016 season

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Even a light drizzle and cool temperatures for the first part of the day didn’t keep patrons from the Amherstburg Farmers Market on its opening day.

The first day of the 2016 season was last Saturday on the grounds of the Malden Community and Cultural Centre and while weather improved throughout the day, the crowds were decent throughout.

Emma Pillon and Rob Bouchard from Bouchard Gardens were on hand for the opening day of the Amherstburg Farmers Market. The market runs every Saturday through Oct. 8 at the Malden Community and Cultural Centre.

Emma Pillon and Rob Bouchard from Bouchard Gardens were on hand for the opening day of the Amherstburg Farmers Market. The market runs every Saturday through Oct. 8 at the Malden Community and Cultural Centre.

“It’s been surprisingly busy,” said market coordinator Rebecca Mickle.

There are ten vendors thus far, she added, with some new vendors and some returnees from previous years. Some of the vendors have been with the market for many years and Mickle said it was “super exciting” to have them back.

Ten vendors is a “good number,” she added.

“We have a nice variety, which is important.”

There will be additional activities throughout the spring, summer and fall with Mickle stating that local musicians will play at the Saturday markets with children’s activities also being proposed when the weather permits. The market’s Facebook page will be updated with events and happenings throughout the season, Mickle stated.

People were excited to return to the market with Mickle saying she received messages from customers anxious to return. Those who came out also had a chance to tour the Shaanti International Doll Museum inside the Malden Community Centre building.

“It’s really exciting to see how many people keep coming back,” she said. “The regulars like to buy local and know where their food is coming from. It’s nice to see the community supporting the community.”

The Tuesday markets that were held in Toddy Jones Park have been discontinued, she added.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t get enough traffic to do that again,” said Mickle.

Downtown markets will be held during special events, she added, listing the Sunday Market Wellness Stroll, the Canada Day celebrations and the Harvest Festival as opportunities for people to shop in the market in the downtown area of Amherstburg.

Shelley Bolton and her business B’s Goods were at the market for the first time as a vendor last Saturday. She said it was a way to show their product and the turnout was “probably better than we thought.”

“We’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback so that’s good to hear,” said Bolton.

Rita Casagrande and her baked goods returned to the Amherstburg Farmers Market again this year.

Rita Casagrande and her baked goods returned to the Amherstburg Farmers Market again this year.

Rita Casagrande and her baked goods were back for a fourth year. She said she likes the whole idea of an outdoor farmers market so that is why she returns. Bouchard Gardens was back for another year with Rob Bouchard stating the local farm has been affiliated with the Amherstburg Farmers Market from the beginning.

“It’s local,” said Bouchard. “A lot of the same people come week after week.”

Bouchard believed the market to be in a good location.

“It’s at the end of Howard Ave. and easy to get to,” he said.

Bouchard added the atmosphere is nice at the Malden location.

“It’s a nice sense of community,” he said.

The Amherstburg Farmers Market runs every Saturday from 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. through Oct. 8. For more information or to become a vendor, visit www.amherstburgfarmersmarket.com.

Fees waived for Amherstburg Farmers Market

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Town council has waived all fees for the Amherstburg Farmers Market after one of the vendors voiced concerns with the proposal at the most recent town council meeting.

Steeve Bouchard of Bouchard Farms wanted the $3,625 fee proposed for the farmers market waived and council granted his request.

“I think in the seven years we’ve had the market at the ‘Little White Church,’ we’ve not paid any fees,” said Bouchard.

Bouchard told town council vendors do not pay fees in many other local municipalities and the majority of markets don’t have them.

Manager of tourism and culture Anne Rota said the fees were arrived at as a result of council’s user fee bylaw that was adopted earlier this year. Rota said vendors rarely move inside the building and use very little hydro.

CAO John Miceli pointed out that administration’s recommendation was to reduce the fees from $3,625 to $625.

Councillor Rick Fryer said the traffic at the corner of County Road 20 and Howard Ave. during the market season “is fantastic” and said he didn’t see a benefit in charging a fee for the market. Councillor Joan Courtney added her belief that “this group deserves to have the fees waived.”

The 2016 Amherstburg Farmers Market is scheduled to open for the season May 21 and will run every Saturday at the “Little White Church” into the fall.

For more information or to become a vendor, call 519-736-7514 or e-mail www.amherstburgfarmersmarket.com.