Parksville now has its own poultry swap and it’s going gangbusters, says Wayne Osborne.
The co-owner of Omega Blue Farm near Horne Lake, Osborne said the location, at the Buckerfields store on Highway 4A has breathed instant life into the new event, held on the first Sunday of the month.
Osborne and wife Dawn had been selling their turkeys and other poultry at the Coombs event, held on that same Sunday, but he said he became dissatisfied at the way it was organized and the lack of traffic at the Coombs fairground site.
“We wanted to do Coombs first. That was our preference,” Osborne said. “However, a lot of vendors were starting to boycott it because they didn’t get to have a say in the rules. As well, the table fees were an issue. There’s not a lot of profit in poultry and most people are selling at a loss. To have to turn around and pay for the right to sell for a loss doesn’t go over well.”
The dissident poultry people held a meeting at the Coombs fairgrounds, Osborne said, and decided to form their own association, the Oceanside Poultry Club, and to run their own event at a space donated by Buckerfelds. It was, he said, a good move.
“The walk-in traffic at Buckerfields has been very beneficial,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed seeing the different mix of customers. In Coombs, the sales were just not there. We weren’t getting the buyers. That’s what Buckerfields has been great for, getting those faces we haven’t seen before.”
Osborne conceded the new event conflicts with the existing Coombs swap, but said he had little choice in the date.
“We attend a poultry swap every Sunday somewhere on the Island,” he said. “The first Sunday is Parksville. The second Sunday is in Qualicum Bay at the Lighthouse Community Centre in conjunction with their pancake breakfast. The third one is in Courtenay, at Share Kare and the fourth Sunday is down in Duncan. We always think of the first Sunday sales, second Sunday sales and so on.”
Although he said he and the 11 other vendors at the Parksville event had expected business to be slow until word eventually trickled out, they were surprised at the strong response.
“This first Sunday sale was my best sale of the year, even though it’s supposed to be on the downswing,” he said. “The hot months are April, May and maybe June, but after that it usually dips off. We thought this would be a down time. We thought we would get it started, get the word out, and maybe get it really going for next year. But it has been going really well.”