The May Two Four weekend has come and gone, so it is now time to start thinking about summer plans, despite the fact that the gateway long weekend to summer started with sunshine, but ended feeling more like a bridge to winter.
The Squamish Farmer's Market season kicked off this past long weekend and the Whistler Farmer's Market will start operating every Sunday from June 17. The Wednesday night market in Pemberton will follow with its opening market set for June 20.
Back in 2005, Cliff Miller decided Squamish needed a farmer's market so he made a few calls and brought together a few vendors.
The District of Squamish was an early supporter of the market and continues to back it. The current organizers, led by Caroline Morris, receive sponsorship money from Squamish Savings.
The financial institution supports the market's coupon program. The funding from the Squamish Savings gives 55 Squamish families access to cooking classes and coupons that they can redeem at the market.
Back in October, the vendors voted on a bunch of "best of" awards. When you drop by the market, say hello to Peggy Speir, voted the friendliest vendor. Honey seller Phil Ellis polled second. Purebread was voted the most valuable vendor.
There's a long list of vendors that participate in the market in Squamish. Farmers, bakers, preserve makers, meat sellers, food wagon vendors, artists and musicians gather to offer their goods and services.
To learn more about the market in Squamish check out squamishfarmersmarket.com or simply drop by the market on Saturday at the south end of Cleveland Avenue any time between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. The market in the downtown area of Squamish operates through to Oct. 27.
The Whistler Farmer's Market gets a later start to the season with opening day scheduled for Father's Day on Sunday, June 17. Chris Quinlan heads up the registered non-profit society that operates the market in Whistler's Upper Village.
The market in Whistler is dedicated to promoting locally produced foods and crafts and it has been doing it for a few more years than the Squamish market. The Whistler market debuted in 1993 and it now hosts about 80 vendors selling everything from fresh fruit and produce to crafts and food products.
Wednesday evenings this season there will be a Farmer's Market in Whistler between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. from July 4 to Sept. 5. While the Wednesday evening markets wrap up in the first week in September the Sunday markets continue until Oct. 8.
All the information one could want about the market in Whistler can be found at whistlerfarmersmarket.org.
Last but certainly not least is the Pemberton Farmer's Market, which starts operations Wednesday, June 20 at 4 p.m. The weekly evening market in Pemberton closes at 7 p.m. and will operate through to early October.
The market organizers rave about the home-baked pies and breads available for purchase, along with local produce, crafts and flowers.
The vendors will be found each Wednesday in the parking lot next to the Pemberton Valley Supermarket. Pemberton's market will operate each week until early in October.
The markets in Squamish and Whistler both have application forms on their websites for those who want to get in on the vendor action. Becoming a vendor starts with filling out the form and submitting it to the market organizers for consideration.
These markets are very popular with those who support the 100-mile diet concept and believe food security is a very real issue.
The products sold at the markets are generally produced here or very close by. The markets support local entrepreneurs, help to keep the regional economy propped up and provide customers with fresh, healthy food.
According to the Whistler 2020 document, our support for and connection to local farmland, farmers and food processors has eroded.
The document says that: "In 2020, a co-operative and collaborative community-supported bioregional food system improves the health of communities, the environment and individuals over time, involving a shared effort to build a locally based, self-reliant, secure food system and economy."
It is interesting to note that Whistler 2020 was written in 2005, the same year the Squamish Farmers Market launched.
So, let's meet at the market and feel good about being there knowing we're supporting the economy in our community, providing employment for our neighbours, reducing our carbon footprint, helping to protect food security and creating a social gathering space.