Moving outdoors bit by bit

Popular Qualicum Beach Farmers' Market indoor season will include 10 booths just outside the doors next week

Brian Cormie of Cormie Farms is one of the producers who has made a point of having early produce ready to go for the weekly spring market.

The Qualicum Beach Farmers Market doesn’t officially move outdoors for another month, but Qualicum Beach residents will see more of an outside presence from the market starting this week.

Market manager Mimi Shewchuk said this past Saturday’s event was the fifth for this year’s spring indoor market and the buy-in from both the public and farmers has been encouraging.

“It has been fantastic,” she said. “This year is busier than last year already and as far as vendors go, we have a waiting list to get in.”

The indoor venue at the Qualicum Beach Community Hall only has space for 24 vendors, but Shewchuk said the Town of Qualicum Beach this week approved a proposal for overflow businesses to move outdoors, starting next week. Currently there are two booths outdoors, but they are confined to the area by the entrance to the hall.

“We will have 10 vendors outside next week, as well as the 24 inside,” she said. “We move outside May 4.”

This is the second year for the spring market and Shewchuk said the agricultural community has begun to make changes to take advantage of the opportunity.

“Even our farmers know we have a spring and winter market and we have farmers who have purchased greenhouses so they will have produce to bring,” she said. “It’s pretty early right now to be gardening outside. For instance, Gemini Farms has greenhouses he just purchased for tomatoes and green peppers.”

The coming market season promises to be an active one, Shewchuk said, with at least one special event slated every month.

“This year we are going to have lots of events,” she said. “We’ll have some tasting events such as a tomato tasting and another garlic event. As well this year we are going do a baking tasting. Most events are based around the vendors and giving people access to what they actually make.”

She stressed the Qualicum Beach Farmers Market is geared primarily towards agricultural producers and because of this there is a strict limit of 30 per cent for craft booths.

The next major event will be held May 4 with the official opening of the outdoor market.

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