Crowds spilled out from George Little Park on Saturday for the first Skeena Valley Farmers Market of the season.
With 72 vendors, the market came close to booking its 80-booth capacity and a new market manager, Margo Peill, strolled through the crowd getting a feel for the scene she’ll oversee this summer.
This is the first year that the Terrace market has hired a market manager. Previously the board of directors and gatekeeper Maxine Smallwood did the set up and organization.
Market president Norm Frank says the decision to hire the manager was prompted by recognition of the market’s size, Smallwood’s retirement and the need for new energy.
“All the markets our size have a market manager,” said Frank, adding Terrace has the largest market north of Kelowna.
|Terrace's first farmers market on Saturday had a number of spring plants for sale, including tulips from Ofelia Santos. (Jackie Lieuwen photo)
New manager Margo Peill applied last fall and was hired to organize market set up, deal with conflicts and coordinate with vendors.
“She’s young, and we’re hoping that she comes up with some new ideas,” said Frank.
In her late 20s, Peill moved to Terrace just over three years ago and has a Bachelor of Science degree in health promotion, a preventative health program at Dalhousie University.
“It just seemed like a natural fit,” she said, explaining how her degree focused on community development, food security, and empowering people to know more about their food and make healthy choices.
“And I have a pretty strong personal interest as well,” she said. “We have our own garden at home, I do a kitchen garden for one of the fishing lodges out here as well, and I will hopefully one day become a farmer myself.”
She says she looks forward to building connections and enjoying the social atmosphere on Saturdays.
She’s planning to set up an info booth at the market this summer geared at informing people about markets and food origins.
Two new vendors, Exposition Coffee and Cordial Carpentry, have also signed up for the summer, and various other new booths are expected to drop-in week to week.
The market also continues to run its coupon programs. There are two different types of coupons used at the market: one is for lower income families (called the BC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program) but the other is similar to gift certificates, where people can give “market bucks” to their friends as gifts, which can then be used to buy goods from vendors.