Steeve Bouchard

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.

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.