Hope you didnt want any fresh peas from last weeks farmers market. If you meandered from booth to booth looking for same, only to find they were all out, you might have later spied the culprit and given him the evil eye. "Ive got every pea in the place!" he cried out gleefully to his buddy, lugging two huge garbage-sized bags through the crowd.
Whether its fresh peas in the pod or hand-woven necklaces with seed pearls, the sight of silly white geese in diapers, or the idea of keeping local dollars in local pockets and supporting farmers who leave a softer footprint on the land, there are about ten gazillion reasons to support farmers markets, at Whistler and every other place you can find one. Sure, fresh is truly beautiful, both in the hand and on the dinner plate. And small has always been beautiful when it comes to globalization and scary industrialized food sources. But the more meaningful bottom line is that a lively, jostling, here-try-a-strawberry farmers market is just plain fun.
Now in its 11 th year, the Whistler Farmers Market has grown in all senses: Up to 80 stalls (it started with 12), a nicely evolving mix of food and craft offerings (all handmade, baked or grown), and an increasing social momentum and ambience thats self-perpetuating, and, in the end, irresistible.
"My favourite thing is that it brings us back to the old days. You know, the whole slow food movement you cant have that without a farmers market," says Bernard Casavant, better known as Chef Bernard. He and Rick Clare as well as depending on who you talk to either Dave Roberts or Lee Fink were pretty much the three godfathers of Whistlers market back in 1993.
"It started off in a selfish mode," recalls Clare, who still sits on the markets board of directors. In the early days, he, along with Casavant, did everything from setting up tents to negotiating the $25,000 provincial government grant, which acted as seed money. "We wanted to bring business to the Upper Village because it was so dead. So we thought we could do something unique in Whistler that was colourful."
And colourful it is yet one more reason why it attracts so many people. Then theres the social aspect.
"Ask anybody what they like, or maybe even dont like about it and its that it takes a couple of hours to get through you see everybody," adds Casavant. Which is so reminiscent of the "good old days" at Whistler, or anywhere, when things were smaller, slower, scaled down and you couldnt cross a plaza without running into someone you knew.