Monthly Farmers’ Market to Warm Up the Winter Months

As the snow surrounds us, sunny summer market days seem far way. Not for long! After a great Christmas Market in December, the Lion’s Head Farmers’ Market has decided to host a winter market once a month to help keep our pantries full of yummy local treats! Helping us get a step closer to local eating and consumption year-round! The winter market will be the third Saturday of the month, so mark January 23, February 20 and March 19 on your calendars. It will be from 10 AM to 1 PM at the Lion’s Head Anglican Parish.

The farmers’ market is also pleased to report on ever-increasing numbers to our summer Saturday market! Our estimated average number of visitors is 500 each week, and 650 in July and August. Our busiest weekend had over 1000 visitors! Each week, we had an average of 21 vendors come out and sell their wares, and a couple more than that in the thick of the summer. Surprisingly our biggest sales day was Thanksgiving, followed by the Civic Holiday weekend. We’re excited to be preparing for our 9th season and hopefully can continue to expand our offerings of local products!

See you on the 23rd!

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A big thank you to all our industrious vendors, dedicated musicians and loyal customers who came out to the Christmas Market at the Rotary Hall on December 12 and made the day a fun & festive success!

 

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Another lively season comes to a close

It was a bittersweet morning on Saturday, October 13 when vendors and patrons alike convened for our final market of the season; while many of us will be glad to wake up a little later on Saturday mornings, we will certainly miss seeing each other and our ever-growing base of supporters from near and far. Mark and Antoinette, Patrick, Molly had an abundant selection of squash, pumpkins and all the fixings for Thanksgiving dinner, and Peter and Lois still had a bounty of beans! Anita and Nicole were keeping us warm with elk chili and saucy maple-pulled lamb, and Cecile with hot coffee. Russell had his annual buy one, get one half off sale, which many took advantage of as they stocked up on their winter supply of maple syrup. Harvest Moon had a cabinet full of pumpkin and fall fruit pies, and Lori and Jeri had their delicious honey in tow. We had a full range of arts, crafts and specialty items – tie dye by Judy, wooden crafts by Laura as well as John and Brenda, jewellery by Heather, soaps by Melanie, Deb and Sue, pottery by Timothy, knits by Suzanne, and my splurge of the day – mittens from recycled sweaters by Joanne. And all the while, Crissy kept busy at her massage table. Thanks to all the vendors for their enduring commitment to the market, even on cold and rainy days, and to our customers for giving us a reason to be there!

Fashioning my new cozy pair of Joanne's mittens, made from recycled sweaters and buttons!

Fashioning my new cozy pair of Joanne’s mittens, made from recycled sweaters and buttons!

This year, for the first time, we made an effort to keep track of our success and our contribution to economic and community development, and our results reaffirmed the the significance of the farmers’ market to the local community. The market welcomed an average of about 600 visitors each week in July and August, with civic holiday weekend being particularly busy with over 1000 visitors. Spring and fall markets had an average of 300 visitors each week. Thank you to Jan Lawrence for volunteering to be our official counter and for warmly greeting customers as they entered the market! On the financial side, a conservative estimate of gross sales at the market totals to over $75,000!

We also thank Rod Layman for cycling down his equipment each week, setting it up and coordinating musical entertainment at the market. And we thank the many musicians that joined him in playing each week. Over the course of the season, they raised $1,655, all donated to the Lion’s Head Daycare.

Thank you to our dedicated vendors and of course to our supportive customers who show up each week, rain or shine! See you next year…or if you’re a year-rounder, at our Christmas Market on Saturday, December 13 at the Lion’s Head Rotary Hall from 10 AM – 2 PM. Catch up with your favourite vendors and do your holiday shopping locally!

Check out this article in Issue #16 of the Bruce Peninsula Press. 

Making the most of a good thing

Saturday the sixth of September was a quieter day at Lion’s Head Market as sometimes happens at the end of the summer holidays. The sun shone and the musicians were at their very best, fresh fair trade coffee and plenty of good food were available, thank you Cecile Myles, Harvest Moon and Anita Dejong, so I was glad I made it. Dejong’s unhomogenized, full cream jersey milk was a delicious addition to the coffee.

John Baker and Stuart Burgess front our musicians line-up in aid of Lion's Head Daycare

John Baker and Stuart Burgess front our musicians line-up in aid of Lion’s Head Daycare

The cooler weather was a reminder of the dwindling opportunities to take advantage of the fresh food and artisan-made goods. With only four more market days by my calculations, there is no time to waste. It is always a little sad at this time of year with the first whiff of fall in the air, although fresh produce is still abundant with tomatoes, peppers, leeks, beets, onions, potatoes and a variety of greens to tempt us. We missed the Rauket family’s organic produce last weekend, but we know that they’ll be back for this Saturday. And a gentle reminder: if you haven’t yet stocked up on winter garlic, time is running short. Apple season is almost upon us with early varieties maturing now. We’ve always known that apples are good for us, but if you want scientific evidence , read the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, Vol. 55, No. 11, May 30, 2007: 4366-4370 and you’ll know why.

In the meantime I have stocked up for winter on Georgian Bay Soapworks’ products and some delightful, hand knitted, pure merino wool items for Christmas and birthdays from Suzanne Carter. Fine wool is very gentle on the skin, so perfect for new babies and Suzanne’s hand knitted and often handspun woollen creations come in some lovely designs and colours. Joanne’s cute aprons and super woollen mittens caught my attention too and I have a long shopping list for the coming Saturdays. I know when I’m on to a good thing.

We look forward to the McMullin family’s return too, with Luke’s extensive range of handmade fishing lures and Melanie’s excellent skin and body care products. Melanie makes all her products at home in Dyer’s Bay and she uses only natural ingredients and essential oils. All her products are made without mineral oil, parabene or SLS and are environmentally friendly. Melanie also mentioned her latest shower gel which she calls Mojito as it contains both lime and mint and her foaming soap with hemp oil to moisturize.

As you can see, there’s lots still to be had at the markets so please don’t miss out. Come and join us on Saturday morning from 9 am until noon at the prettiest market on the Bruce.

Long time friends Ann and Suzanne sporting their beautiful Kind Hands caps at Judy Jasper's stand

Long time friends Ann and Suzanne sporting their beautiful Kind Hands caps at Judy Jasper’s stand

Revived market now a community fixture

The rebirth of the Lion’s Head Farmers’ Market began with a very successful trial run one June Saturday six years ago that I hoped would become a regular summer-long event at the pavilion on the beach.

Happily there were no big hurdles in getting municipal approval for the location, but we needed county health unit okay to operate at all. And a 16-year-old ensuring the safety of food sold at the market? The local health inspector understandably had some concerns about that. But after renting a hand-washing station and ensuring all foods were prepared in an inspected kitchen, we were given the green light.

With support from BPEG’s Tina Chladny, teachers Betsy Burrows and Birch Behmann and municipal clerk Mary Lynn Standen, I was able to navigate the rather vague and tricky regulations around farmers’ markets, and on Aug. 9, 2008, at the scenic beach location, our market began its second incarnation.

The idea to revive the market was originally sparked when I and classmates Brittany Tackaberry, Jenelle Hellyer and Kate Sarnovsky were tasked by our teachers Betsy and Birch with doing some sort of community action project for our environmental class. The four of us decided that we wanted to focus on promoting local food, particularly its production and distribution. So we brainstormed ideas and came up with a community garden at the Golden Dawn Apartments for the production end and a farmers’ market for distribution. The community garden proved to be already large and ambitious enough for the scope of our assignment, yet I was still very interested in doing the farmers’ market, which would affect change at the larger, community level.  That semester, as it turned out, I was taking a world issues class with Betsy and, once again, we were assigned the task of doing some type of community action. I had chosen to focus on globalization/localization for my final paper and the market fit in quite nicely as my community action project. Of course, it became more involved than I originally expected, and pretty quickly it took on a life of its own.

In the first season vendors were few – Mark and Anotinette Rauket, Graham and Tina of Harvest Moon Bakery, Jim and Sally from Orchard Knoll, Brittany Tackaberry, Nancy Strang, Jennifer Roberts, Patrick Lima, and my parents, Gerry and Cecile Myles. But they were dedicated and their products were snapped up.  BPEG not only contributed financially to help get the market running, but its members were among the most supportive customers in the market’s early years.

Originally, we did not have live music, but we soon realized how much it would add to the atmosphere and encourage people to linger. So I contacted local musician and artist Gerry Goldie, and pretty soon he had a growing band of players making music all morning long, every Saturday. They have always raised money for an important cause – first the cancer society, now the daycare centre – a great community‑spirited group!

My mom, Cecile, has taken over the leadership, supported by a core group of vendors. Promoting the production and consumption of local food remains our main goal and our hope is to continue to expand the selection of local food and make it more accessible to the community.

Now in its seventh season and with an overflowing parking lot of vendors and visitors, the Lion’s Head Farmers’ Market has become a permanent fixture in the community. So wander down, catch up with friends and see what your neighbours are growing and making.  It runs until Thanksgiving.

This article was a collaboration between Megan Myles and Donna Dilschneider, and the third article in a series of articles highlighting the accomplishments of the Bruce Peninsula Environment Group, as the group celebrates its 25th anniversary year. Check out the last issue of the Bruce Peninsula Press to learn all about the first Lion’s Head farmers’ market that operated from 1992 – 1999 at the Lion’s Head Arena. 

Wooden wonders

Our stoic vendors have just endured one of the tougher days at Lion’s Head Market. On Saturday the 16th, the heavens opened and drenched shoppers and vendors alike, but the show went on. Thanks to Greg Stewart for sharing his sweet corn with his fellow vendors and to Anita de Jong for roasting them to provide a warming brunch. This is the spirit of generosity which marks our market.

Despite the cool damp weather the crops keep coming and we are now at the peak of the harvest with produce in abundance. Garlic is out as well as leeks and potatoes and the weather conditions have favoured a prolonged life for salad greens and spinach. I have just listened to a news item linking a diet rich in vegetables, especially greens with the prevention of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, obesity and many more, so please eat up.

Among the wide range of handmade and artisan crafts, Lion’s Head Market boasts a range of beautiful timber products from small items to garden furniture. On entering the market, Barney Fetter’s fine garden furniture is certainly eye catching. Barney is happy to talk about his pieces, demonstrate his garden seats which convert in one simple move to a table and benches and to take orders. Barney sources his timber from a local Mennonite mill and builds classic sturdy long life pieces which will last for many seasons.

Barney Fetter with his handsome Cosmic furniture

Barney Fetter with his handsome Cosmic furniture

Next door is Wooden Things which has a wide range of small items such as salt and pepper shakes, spoons, cutting boards and bowls, ideal for gifts if you want to give something small but special. At the end of the market, under the cedar by the pavilion and musicians, John and Brenda Peters have been selling their timber pieces for some years. Each year a new item seems to have joined their hallmark birdhouses. John makes delightful stools, small tables, timber framed mirrors, planter boxes and most recently I noticed bat houses. John’s pieces are sturdily constructed with loving attention to detail for those who care about quality.

Otto Tiessen enjoying the music in front of John and Brenda Peters creations

Otto Tiessen enjoying the music in front of John and Brenda Peters creations

Despite the weather this season, most Saturdays have been fine and 1090 visitors were counted on the August long weekend and there were probably more since shoppers descended on the market from all directions and were hard to count. It was a true celebration of summer with Wendy Roman leading her Nia dancers in a fun display and our musicians in full swing. Summer is not over yet so please come stock up on the best produce and enjoy a morning by the beach from 9 AM to noon.

Peter, Sandra, Timo and Luca Keonig from Switzerland enjoying the markets

Peter, Sandra, Timo and Luca Keonig from Switzerland enjoying the markets

Summer solstice

The longest day has crept up on us and summer is truly here with some cooler days still, but lots of good food at the market and glorious days ahead. Radishes, spring onions and greens are always the first available and hopefully there will still be rhubarb and asparagus for a little longer. Each week we can look forward to new arrivals and an expanding selection of local, organic produce.

Our local farmers’ market harbours some truly gifted artisans as well as our local food producers. Marea Ellis can be found, standing quietly behind her small stand, close to the market entrance, in the lea of a tall shrub. You may not have noticed her as there are no flags or bold signs, but Marea’s work is exquisite. Her miniature felted animals are true works of art, delicately made with a wry sense of humour and extraordinary attention to detail. All Marea’s works are unique, from the crocheted shawls decorating the bush behind her to the knitted and crocheted animals and hats in front and her jewelry.  When you take home one of Marea’s pieces, whether it’s a piece of her fine jewelry, felting or knitting, you know there will never be another one the same.

Marea Ellis demonstartes one of her delicated felted animals to Ann Kirnwan of Cape Chin North

Marea Ellis demonstartes one of her delicated felted animals to Ann Kirnwan of Cape Chin North

Next to Marea are our regular maple syrup vendors, Russell and Abby Miners, although we generally only see Russell at the helm. Russell and Abby have been producing the best quality maple syrup and products for 18 years now and it is their primary farming activity. Beginning a little later this year, in mid March and ending on the Easter weekend, Russell and Abby produced 6,000 litres of maple syrup from approximately 100 acres. They tell me that the depth of snow affected their work more than the late season this year which didn’t diminish the final volume of sap harvested. The sap runs in vacuum tubes to the sugar house and reverse osmosis is used to initially remove moisture which means less boiling. Maple butter has less moisture than syrup and is whipped to a creamy consistency and maple sugar is simply the syrup with all the moisture extracted. Their chipotle maple barbeque sauce is an essential condiment for any summer barbeque.  Russell confirmed that the Lion’s Head Market is the second best market for them after Owen Sound, which is open year round. See, we told you the Lion’s Head Market is good.

Russell Miners with his fine maple syrup products from Kemble

Russell Miners with his fine maple syrup products from Kemble

And that’s not all! The Lion’s Head Market is averaging 20 vendors each week and up to last weekend between 250 and 300 visitors. We know we have something for you, so please join us Saturday morning from 9 am to 12 noon at the beach.