BC Association of Farmers’ Markets
With spring just around the corner, the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCAFM) celebrated the best of B.C. with its sixth annual BC Farmers’ Market Awards. The event was held over the weekend at the Kimberley Conference Centre, and celebrated individuals and organizations that made outstanding contributions to the B.C.’s farmers’ market sector in 2018.
“The award winners are perfect examples of the high standards to which farmers’ markets, market vendors, volunteers and managers hold themselves. Each has excelled at product innovation and quality, market citizenship, promoting farmers’ markets in their communities or giving to their communities in some way,” said awards judge, Bruce Fatkin.
A panel of leading professionals in the sector, including Jon Bell, farmer and former BCAFM president; Elizabeth Quinn, former BCAFM executive director; and Bruce Fatkin, former Abbotsford Farm and Craft Market manager and BCAFM board member. The judges selected the following as the best of BC farmers’ markets in 2018, from nominations received throughout the province:
- Farmers’ Market of the Year (Large, 61+ vendors): Esquimalt Farmers Market
- Farmers’ Market of the Year (Medium, 21-60 vendors): Pemberton Farmers’ Market
- Farmers’ Market of the Year (Small, up to 20 vendors): Trail’s IncrEDIBLE Farmer’s Market
- Farmers’ Market Manager of the Year: Miche Warwick (Rossland Mountain Market)
- Farmers’ Market Vendor of the Year (farmer): Forbes Farm (Gord and Steve Forbes, Kelowna and Penticton Farmers’ Markets )
- Farmers’ Market Vendor of the Year (non-farmer): Blackbird Bakehouse (Tanya Molle, Cranbrook, Fernie and Kimberley markets)
- Farmers’ Market Volunteer of the Year: Clarence Selden and Dion Langevin (Cranbrook Farmer’s Market)
- Partner of the Year: Kyle Goulet and Moss Street Market (Victoria)
Now in their sixth year, the BC Farmers’ Market Awards recognize the work of all those involved with making farmers’ markets thrive as venues where communities, farmers and artisans can come together to celebrate locally grown and made items. “When reviewing the candidates for the awards, I was reminded of the enthusiasm and good-will evident among farmers’ markets managers, vendors, customers and volunteers. It’s like a world unto itself that only those that are actively participating in the farmers’ market movement can truly appreciate. I found the process of choosing the winners uplifting,” said Quinn.
The Esquimalt Farmers Market won in the large market category and was recognized for its creative and innovative work, including initiatives to achieve a waste-free farmers’ market and the collection of food donations for community members in need. The market was also praised as a welcoming community gathering space, and a weekly destination for the community of Esquimalt.
Forbes Farm of Oliver was named vendor of the year in the farmer category. Brothers, Gord and Steve Forbes are second generation farmers and have been selling their certified Organic, Naturally Grown and Salmon Safe produce at the Penticton and Kelowna Farmers’ and Crafters’ Markets for over 20 years. The Forbes were noted for their unique connection to their customers, many of whom they know by name, and their wonderful array of fresh fruits, herbs and vegetables, including a basil bar, allowing market-goers to smell six different varieties of basil.
The Farmers’ Market Awards were announced at the 20th annual BC Farmers’ Markets Conference, organized by the BCAFM in partnership with two local farmers’ markets: the Kimberley and the Cranbrook Farmer’s Markets. A list of all of the winners, and photos are available on the BCAFM website.
The BCAFM is a registered society that represents over 145 farmers’ markets across BC. Its mission is to develop, promote and strengthen the capacity of farmers’ markets in all regions of the province. Visit www.bcfarmersmarket.org to learn more or find a farmers’ market near you.
Additional information, specific to Sooke
While neither the Sooke’s Country Market nor the Sooke Night Market are not (yet) on the list, here’s a valuable list of some of BC’s best Farmer’s Markets — some very local, others you may encounter as you travel the province over the summer. With Sooke’s two markets growing a little bit every year, here’s something to aspire to.