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  • Taura Roberts

How Northern Ontario Farmers Market Vendors are Coping with COVID_19


This past Saturday, June 6th many farmers markets around Northern Ontario opened up for the public. With COVID-19 being a concern to many, farmers markets have adapted and created new ways to allow vendors to sell their goods. One such place is the Riverside Farmers’ Market in New Liskeard. This market season will be different, in that it will be open to essential food producers only, and the Ontario Farmers’ Market has initiated public safety protocols in response to COVID-19 across the province.

The fresh-baked good stands have expressed issues in accessing necessary ingredients due to purchasing limits in place on items such as eggs and milk. Fresh produce stands are seeing a positive outcome with an increase in sales. Due to many consumers wanting to start their own gardens, many vendors have seen an increase in live plant sales. For example, Solomon Housser from Shalom Farms has experienced this, while preparing his market garden for the 2020 season. Typically, for some varieties of fruits and vegetables, plants are ordered to be transplanted into the garden to help meet that season’s demands. Fortunately for Solomon, he was able to find what was needed for the 2020 growing season before the Ontario COVID-19 shutdown, allowing him to experience a smooth growing season this year.

Vendors with meat products have seen an increase in bulk sales. However, these producers are facing an shift in demand caused from restaurant closures. One vendor, Rocky Ridge Bison, mentioned that 50% of all bison sales are made directly to the restaurant industry. This makes it challenging to gain new customers, and with less demand they are having to keep the bison on-farm for longer than normal. This increase in the herd size has resulted in more feed requirements for the animals, bringing up the overall cost of production.

While most vendors have been experiencing a positive growing season, there are still many challenges yet to come. The opening day at the Riverside Farmers’ Market was a success, with a steady flow of customers, but with a different feel than the typical farmers’ market visits of previous seasons. The outlook for the overall market season is still unknown, with many factors brought on by COVID-19 still playing out (i.e. shift in consumer demands), but vendors are happy to be back to provide local products to local consumers. Other farmers’ markets across Northern Ontario also have opened to the public as well. Below is a list of all farmers’ markets across Northern Ontario. Visit a market close to you and support local food producers!


Ontario Farmers Market COVID-19 public safety protocol

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ALGOMA

● The Mill Market Visit Website

● Algoma Farmers Market Visit Website

● Johnson Farmers Market Desbarats Visit Website

● Huron Shores Farmers Market Visit Website


TIMMINS/COCHRANE/KAPUSKASING/HEART/

MOONBEAM

● Mount Joy Farmers Market, Timmins Visit Website

● Urban Park Market, Timmins Visit Website

● Cochrane Farmers Market Follow on Facebook

● Kapuskasing Farmers’ Market Learn More


NEW LISKEARD/TEMISKAMING

● Riverside Farmers Market Visit Website


MANITOULIN/LACOCHE

● Gore Bay Farmers’ Market Follow on Facebook

● Kagawong Market Learn More

● Espanola Eat Local Farmers Market Follow on Facebook

● Mindemoya Market Follow on Facebook

● NEMI Market Learn More

SUDBURY AND AREA

● Sudbury Farmers Market Learn More

● Sudbury East Farmers and Artisans Market Follow on Facebook


NORTH BAY

● North Bay Farmers Market Visit Website


MUSKOKA/PARRY SOUND

● Rosseau Farmers’ Market Visit Website

● Bala Farmers’ Market Visit Website

● Port Carling Farmers’ Market Visit Website

● Dwight Farmers’ Market Visit Website

● Baysville Farmers’ Market Visit Website

● Bracebridge Farmers’ Market Visit Website

● Gravenhurst Farmers’ Market Visit Website

● Huntsville 100k Farmers’ Market Follow on Facebook

● Powassan Farmers’ Market Follow on Facebook

● Parry Sound Summer Market Learn More

THUNDER BAY

Thunder Bay Country Market

Visit Website


KENORA

Matiowski Farmers’ Market

Visit Website


FARM TO TABLE NORTHERN ONTARIO

Follow on Facebook



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