For the third season, community farmers markets and cafés are being held at the Black River Community Hall. The first was held on April 9 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The events will continue on the second and fourth Sundays of the month until mid December.
Organizer Roswitha Spinney said the two events used to be held separately but were later combined. It’s a great way for people to support “very local” growers and vendors. There’s a strong sense of community and camaraderie and many people enjoy the social aspect.
“The socializing here is absolutely fantastic,” Spinney said. “It gives an absolutely wonderful excuse to come down, you never know what vendors are going to be here.”
Spinney said she often sees people who she hasn’t had a chance to speak with in a while. The farmers markets and cafés are among the best-attended events held at the busy community hall.
A large table costs $5 to rent or $2.50 for a small table. Spinney said they want to maintain the feel of a farmers market but they have one table designated for businesses to rent, one for flea market vendors and one for Scouts and Girl Guides to use free of charge for fundraising. Five-year-old Eliza Godfrey of Gaspereau – a member of the Sparks - was selling Girl Guide cookies at the table on April 9.
It costs $5 to eat at the café with the meal usually consisting of soup and a sandwich or roll, tea or coffee and a desert. During the warmer months, it’s often a salad with other sides. Volunteers from the community prepare and serve the food.
The idea for a community farmers market in Black River came from Lorax Woodlands co-owners Jane Kenny and Thomas Krausse. They used to be involved with an annual small-scale agricultural festival called The New Farmers Gathering and they run an incubator farm for people interested in trying farming risk-free.
“We became part of a real community in this part of the Valley that really promotes small-scale, sustainable, organic agriculture primarily,” Kenny said. “We really started seeing the value in it and how important it is to support that.”
After the community hall burned down and was rebuilt, they saw an opportunity to promote this style of farming on a hyper-local level within Black River. The farmers markets gave them and others involved with the incubator farm a chance to market their produce.
“We were really trying to create community space initially and we're using the farmers market as a vehicle to do that,” Kenny said.