By Tammy Schneider
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The snow is gone, days are warmer and market season is right around the corner. In Kincardine, the new market manager, Susie Stoeckli, is getting ready for what everyone hopes will be a bumper season.
Stoeckli has been a market vendor for six or seven years, selling her teas and herbs. She said former market manager Janice McKean had run the market for about 15 years, and was ready to pass the gauntlet on to someone else and Stoeckli agreed to take on the role. She sees the market as having an important role in the community.
“The Kincardine Saturday Farmers’Market has been operating since 2006,” said Stoeckli. “The purpose of the market is to promote local food and local producers and make connections between customers and producers in our area and provide local food to all the visitors in Kincardine.”
She is excited about what the market will offer this season, including new vendors offering a variety of products. Shoppers can expect to find seasonal vegetables, fruits and berries, baked goods, meats, eggs, cheese, teas, honey and preserves. Non-consumable products available will include salves, soaps and a wide variety of plants and flowers.
Stoeckli points out there are many benefits to the consumer when shopping at a farmer’s market. Products are flavourful, and very fresh because they travel such a short distance from field or kitchen to market. Purchasing local products also supports the local farming economy, which depends on the revenue generated at markets.
As part of Farmers’ Market Ontario, the Kincardine Market must adhere to certain rules. Seventy-five per cent of the products sold must be produced within a 75 kilometre range and 50 per cent of vendors must be farmers.
“All our vendors are proud to produce quality, healthy local food and to take the time to chat and educate customers about their products or even to give gardening advice for those who want to grow some of their own food,” said Stoeckli.
The market serves as more than a place to purchase food and goods, said Stoeckli. It is a hub, a place where shoppers can meet the people who grow or bake the food they eat, have a coffee, make and meet friends. This year’s market will have picnic tables set up so shoppers have the space to visit with other shoppers.
Stoeckli says the strict restrictions put in place during the pandemic will be reduced this year, and the market will be “more open, with fewer barriers.” Masks will be optional.
The market will continue at its previous location at Connaught Park, running every Saturday from 9 a.m. – noon, from May 21 to Oct. 8. There is no admission charge and lots of free parking available. Potential vendors are asked to contact Stoeckli via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.