This is the first part in a series covering the variety of summer markets on the Saanich Peninsula
The Peninsula Country Market is the oldest open air market on Southern Vancouver Island.
“This all started 24 years ago with a bunch of farmers coming in, dropping their tailgates and selling their produce,” said the Market’s president, Jim Townley. “Since then it has just continued to grow but we’ve really kept it geared toward the agricultural side of things which we’re really proud of.”
Townley said the market, which happens Saturday mornings at the Saanich Fairground, abides by the B.C. Farmers Market Association Guidelines which drives the type of vendors.
“We’re run by a board and the membership and we’re a not-for-profit society. Our mandate as a group is really to support local growers and crafters,” he explained.
“We don’t focus on third party sellers and we want farmers, growers and crafters to be selling directly. It’s definitely a unique environment and a different environment than some of the other markets out there.
“You won’t find products from China, you won’t find things from the mainland, everything at the market is from here or the southern Island.”
Townley said the market features live music and organizers hope to bring out more and more young families to the weekly event.
“We’re featuring a program called Growing Families at the Market which encourages healthy eating and eating locally. We see a lot of families come every week because they can get their produce, fish, beef and bread all in one place. You can do an entire week’s worth of grocery shopping in one spot and it’s all local.”
The Peninsula Country Market has 56 to 58 vendors a week and sees about 40,000 come through the gates each year. With recent changes to liquor laws, the market is now also allowed to feature product from local wineries, breweries and cideries.
“I don’t think you can ever beat farm direct fresh produce and other local food items. Freshness never goes out of style,” he said.
The Peninsula Country Market runs Saturday mornings until Oct. 11 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Saanich Fairground.
For more information on weekly musical guests or other events like the upcoming Family Day on Aug. 16, visit peninsulacountrymarket.ca.
Pick up a copy of the next edition of the PNR for a feature on one of the other weekly markets on the Saanich Peninsula.
MARKETS ON THE SAANICH PENINSULA:
What: Sidney Street Market
When: Thursday evenings until Aug. 28 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Beacon Avenue in Sidney
What: North Saanich Farm Market
When: Saturdays until October from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Where: St. John’s United Church (10990 West Saanich Rd.)
What: Peninsula Country Market
When: Saturdays until October from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Saanich Fairground, 1528 Stelly’s X Rd.
What: Sidney Summer Market
When: Sundays until October from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Mary Winspear Centre field, 2243 Beacon Avenue
What: Brentwood Bay Community Market
When: Sundays until Aug. 24 from 1 to 4 p.m.
Where: Pioneer Park in Brentwood Bay, 1209 Clarke Rd.