Mountjoy Farmers Market draws people wanting fresh and local food
Produce, meat and craft producers from Timmins and its surrounding area set-up shop at the Mountjoy Farmers Market for opening day. They will be there every Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. until Thanksgiving weekend. July 4/2020 (Lydia Chubak/CTV News Northern Ontario)
TIMMINS -- On a beautiful summer Saturday morning in Timmins, people enjoy attending the Mountjoy Farmers Market in search of farm fresh food and locally crafted goods.
Even COVID-19 couldn't keep the hundreds of patrons from filtering through booths in the Mountjoy Historical Conservation Area over a three hour period.
"They have very good measures put in place (we) wash our hands; follow the arrows," explained Gabriella Desmarais-Brunet who brought her young daughter with her.
"Buying local and supporting local is so important to us.”
Another shopper said she came to buy cheese.
"It's the first day and it's a little bit small but I'm sure it'll get bigger as we go along," is how Micheline Seaton described the market.
Ten booths were set-up and market-goers can expect to see double that number as twenty vendors have paid to have booths at the market every Saturday morning until October 10th.
"They all have their individual ten-by-ten tents and we separated them by about six feet in between so we are keeping all of our distancing for COVID-19," explains Rock Whissel, president of the Porcupine District Agricultural Society, which oversees the market.
Whissel says this makes for a smaller farmers' market but he says he's just happy to have one.
"So they'll be with us for the fifteen weeks so we'll get to know all twenty vendors and so will the public."
But some producers suggest produce might be difficult to come by this summer due to the pandemic and encourage people not to delay their visits to farmers markets this summer.
"I do know for the vegetable producers, they’re having a struggle with the heat...and then some of the bigger farms are having an issue with not as many workers working on them, so I think people should stock up if they can get fresh vegetables,” said Patsy Schmidt, co-owner of Acres of Dreams farm in Timmins.
"Stock-up and can them or freeze them because you never know what’s going to happen on the other end, so being prepared for yourself would be an advantage."
While the coronavirus has not put an end to the Mountjoy Farmers Market, it has forced officials to put a hold in its plans to construct a permanent market pavilion that could be enjoyed by the entire community.
They say they are looking forward to the day when that dream will eventually come true.