Amherstburg Farmers Market

Amherstburg Farmers Market to relocate downtown



By Christian Bouchard


After nine years, the Amherstburg Farmers Market will have a new location to call home.

The market has been held at the Malden Community and Cultural Centre – a.k.a. “The Little White Church” – at the end of Howard Avenue and County Road 20 and opened in 2010. It has hosted local vendors every Saturday to sell a wide variety of local produce to baked goods and handmade crafts.

“Mr. D” of Mr. D’s Produce takes cover from the downpour of rain on the last day of the Amherstburg Farmers Market. The final day of the 2018 season was last Saturday.

The 2.5 acre lot, deemed a historical building is currently for sale with an asking price of $184,900, forcing the market and its vendors to find a new home.

“I’ll miss it and people will miss it,” said Hope Bailey, a first-year market vendor. “They’ll drive by and talk about the memories.”

According to market manager Rita Casagrande, the vendors enjoyed the “Little White Church” location as it was a central location attracting people from Windsor off Howard Ave. and the local cottagers as well as people from Kingsville and Leamington. Despite being sad to see the market go, Casagrande is looking forward to the markets new home in downtown Amherstburg.

“Our permanent spot will be where Duffy’s used to be,” said Casagrande.

Due to construction at the new downtown location, the market will likely have to relocate to Toddy Jones Park before making a permanent move to the downtown location at Duffy’s.

Hope Bailey was one of the vendors last Saturday at the Amherstburg Farmers  Market (left) while Amanda Haggert, Chanel Bouchard and Christina Bouchard from Bouchard Gardens were also selling goods during the market’s final day of the season.

The market has had several trial attempts at Toddy Jones Park throughout the years, however it has struggled to attract customers.

Casagrande stated the location at Toddy Jones Park was great but being a Tuesday afternoon with people at work made it difficult to entice customers.

“We just want to thank our customers who did come and supported us. We enjoyed having them and hope they will follow us to our new location,” said Casagrande.

Amherstburg Farmers Market opens for 2018 season

By Jonathan Martin


Bouts with rain, wind and cool temperatures didn’t keep shoppers away from the Amherstburg Farmers’ Market’s opening day.

Saturday’s 2018 season opener “satisfied” Rita Casagrande, one of the organization’s market managers.

Despite often rainy conditions at the opening day of the Amherstburg Farmers Market, people were still in good spirits. (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

“It’s rained every opening day (for the past five years),” she said.  “So, we’re right on schedule there.  I wish it wasn’t raining, but we’re here till October, so we have a lot of sunny days ahead of us.”

Casagrande is also a vendor at the marker.  She sells homemade cookies and cakes.  She said her items were selling despite the increment weather, so she was “happy.”

Steeve Bouchard is another vendor and one of the founding members of the market.  His family business, Bouchard Gardens, deals in both horticulture and agriculture.  He sits on the board, a three-person team, with Casagrande and his wife, Cynthia.  He said at its peak the board boasted a five-person directorship.  The organization is small, but Bouchard said that’s all they need.

“This event pretty much runs itself,” he said.  “Our loyal customers keep us going.  They always have.  We’re grateful to them.”

Christopher Chevalier pets
a rabbit at the Amherstburg Farmers’ Market’s opening day
last Saturday. (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

The market hosts a variety of vendors, ranging from locally-caught fish to hand-crafted jewelry.

The Amherstburg Fort Malden Horticultural Society was also on-site, selling its flowers.  There were pony rides, live music, drinks, foodstuffs, artisanal crafts, produce, baked goods and even a little bunny who liked to be pet.

The Amherstburg Farmers’ Market will run every Saturday from now until Oct. 6, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Malden Community and Cultural Centre, located on County Road 20 at the foot of Howard Ave.

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 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.