SUDBURY -- The number of visitors to Sudbury's farmers market almost doubled last year, despite the onset of the pandemic.

According to a report headed to the city's community services committee May 17, the Thursday market attracted 17,589 visitors between June and October last year, compared to 9,112 in 2019 and 8,808 in 2018. And the Saturday market drew 23,125 people, compared to 9.093 in 2019 and 8,818 in 2018.

While some vendors were hard hit by the effects of the pandemic, the ones who were able to keep operating did very well.

"Vendors, especially farmers and bakers, sold out of goods on a regular basis," the report said. "Seeing as how many stores could not stock their shelves and couldn’t provide residents with fresh and healthy options, Sudbury folk turned to the market. Attendance for the market has been at its highest since we began tracking numbers."

The market is now run by Greater Sudbury Market Association (GSMA), an independent non-profit group that receives an annual $20,000 grant from the city.

A lot of love for York Street

"These funds have an unparalleled aide in the market operations," the report said. "It helps pay the salary for the market manager, cover pandemic supplies, rent, and so much more."

The report said there was a lot of "love" for the York Street market, from both vendors and customers. Plans for this year include operating only from the York location until the Elgin Street site is deemed safe.

"(The) majority of vendors prefer operating from the York Street location due to multiple reasons including more space, higher traffic count, more public visibility and safety concerns," the report said.

"The GSMA plan to use the York Street location for summer 2021 as it is the site approved by (the health unit) for safe pandemic operations. As soon as the Elgin Street location is deemed safe for use again, the Board of Directors will explore options for returning Downtown."

Read the full report here.