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Farmers’ markets highlight food security

Pat Swan of Stonefield Farms has fresh eggs for sale at the Nanaimo Downtown Farmers’ Market. - KARL YU/The News Bulletin
Pat Swan of Stonefield Farms has fresh eggs for sale at the Nanaimo Downtown Farmers’ Market.
— image credit: KARL YU/The News Bulletin

Farmers’ markets offer disciples of the 100-mile diet and buy-local movements an opportunity to satisfy their lifestyles.

Ilan Goldenblatt, Bowen Road Farmers’ Market manager, points to natural disasters, including the 2011 Japan tsunami, as reasons local food is so important.

“Even developed countries with good infrastructure can be hit with unforeseen consequences that cause disruptions in transportation and food supplies, so food security should be a real big issue for everybody,” he said.

George Benson, market manager for the Cedar Farmers’ Market, has similar views.

“The nutritional value of food at the farmers’ markets is much higher quality then you would find in a store where it’s [brought in] from California or Mexico. It’s fresh, it’s local and when you support local business, that money stays in the community. For every dollar you spend, it’s worth $6 in return,” he said.

Nanaimo Downtown Farmers’ Market

The Nanaimo Downtown Farmers’ Market has been operating for close to 18 years, located at Pioneer Waterfront Plaza, behind the Bastion, running from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until Oct. 10, according to treasurer Ann Smith.

Smith said organizers started a registered non-profit society four years after the market’s inception and if there is money left over at the end of the season from vendor dues, the society donates to local charities.

With currently 42 vendors, five of which are farmers, the market offers baked goods, eggs, meat, dairy and all manner of crafts.

Bowen Road Farmers’ Market

The market takes place at the Vancouver Island Exhibition fairgrounds at Beban Park (2300 Bowen Rd.) and runs on Wednesdays from 4 to 6:30 p.m. until mid-October.

Goldenblatt said the market has been around seven years and it is unique in the area as it almost exclusively sells food products, with meat, bread, local produce, cheese and preserves amongst the offerings, and there is even a soft drink maker that makes naturally fermented probiotic soda.

Cedar Farmers’ Market

Benson said the Cedar market, which is located at 2313 Yellow Point Rd., on the field next to the Crow and Gate Pub, was started about 19 years ago.

The market is open for business on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., running until Oct. 26.

On top of the usual produce and baked goods, there is meat, including bison.

Lantzville Farmers’ Market

People who live north of Nanaimo don’t have head down the highway to get fresh food and produce.

The market is going into its third season and is located at the St. Philip by the Sea Anglican Church parking lot (7113 Lantzville Rd.).

Raw chocolate and ice cream are amongst the items for sale, said Louise Negrave, Lantzville Farmers’ Market Society treasurer. It runs on Sundays between 1:30 and 4 p.m. until Oct. 26.

Nanaimo Friday Evening Market

The new kid on the block, the Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association’s recently launched Nanaimo Friday Evening Market, runs on Fridays between 4 and 8 p.m.

Manager Dale Letourneau said the market is eight weeks old but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a good variety. Situated at Diana Krall Plaza, it offers people a chance to unwind and shop after the work week.

Salad greens, sausages, meatballs, raw chocolate, farm fresh eggs, organic cosmetics and herbal tea are just some of the things on sale.

Gabriola Farmers’ Market

The Gabriola Island farmers’ market takes place Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Agi Hall, 465 South Rd., and will run until Thanksgiving weekend. Fresh produce and baked goods are among offerings.

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