VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Farmers Markets’ (VFM) will proudly mark the tenth anniversary of its highly successful winter market at Riley Park-Nat Bailey Stadium this Saturday, November 2nd as it kicks off its 2019-20 winter season.
To celebrate a decade on-site at Riley Park, Vancouver’s original winter farmers market is set to open the gates to over 100 farms and producers, making this Saturday its largest ever winter market opening day.
“It’s amazing to see how the winter season has grown since we moved from the WISE Hall to Nat Bailey in 2010,” says Jen Candela, VFM’s Communications Manager and coordinator of the winter market from 2007-2011. “We were just forty-four vendors that first year at the Stadium – now we’ve expanded to both sides of Ontario St. with 100 vendors each week, and run a second winter market at Hastings Park.”
The newly expanded Riley Park Farmers Market will open just a day before its sister market at Hastings Park, itself an increasingly popular destination for foodies on Vancouver’s Eastside.
Alongside a solid roster of returning favorites, both locations will feature a number of new and diverse vendors. Shoppers can expect to find new local farms, craft beverage producers, artisanal food makers, and food and coffee trucks.
“The variety of producers the winter markets attract is a testament to Vancouver’s growing appetite for local food,” says Tara McDonald, VFM’s Executive Director. “You won’t find the selection of BC-grown food our markets have to offer anywhere else in winter, which is why we’ve grown from 1,400 shoppers a week in 2010 to 5,000 in 2019.”
The growth in shoppers has also brought a huge leap in sales to winter market vendors – $2.9 million in total in 2018, up from just $370,000 in 2010. This has been a particular boom to local farmers, who struggle to bring in sources of income during the lean winter months.
“Our farm has been so fortunate to be part of the Vancouver market scene all these years.” says Anna Helmer of Helmers Organic Farm. “The winter markets in particular have been an important part of our business for the last decade and it’s wonderful to be able to bring our potatoes to a vibrant market week after week.”
VFM invites the community to partake in celebratory birthday treats and speeches at 10:30am this Saturday, November 2 on the Riley Park Plaza at 50 E. 30th Avenue. (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)