Friday, November 5, 2010

Harvest Fest is Here!

The food is being seasoned, the wine is chilled and the cider mulled. We're putting the final touches on our year-end Harvest Fest celebration happening this Saturday, November 6th at the market building, 6 - 9:30pm. (address is lots 2 -10 Manitoba Street, St. Thomas)

All of our vendors contributed to the success of the market and also contribute to making this event successful. Special Thanks to the following vendors:

RGrow Farms - donation of decorations, sweet potatoes

Berry Hill Fruit Farms - donation of decorations, produce, and time in getting building ready

Green Leaf Gourmet - donation of delectable sweets for the event

Part Time Peasant - donation of coffee and time at the event

Gredig's Orchards & Cider Mill - donation of apple cider

Quai du Vin - contribution of wine and time for the event

Spicers Bakery - donation of cake

Farmgate Markets - donation of use of prep equipment and time for the event

And special Thanks to Patti Kilmer for the on-going photography and the slide presentation for Saturday Evening

Chef Kim Saunders of Windjammer Inn was at the market last weekend filling her basket with bounty from Kosic's tomatoes, Nature's Perfect mushrooms, Palmer's Maple Syrup, squash & onions from Paul Brown Farms, produce from Jenssen's Farms, and meat from Farmgate Markets. I can hardly wait to see what she is preparing!

The evening is intended to be a time of relaxed, social gathering. We have a few events planned including a mini ceremony to recognize the vendors, a contribution from one of our artist vendors for the market building, and introduction of the Board of Management.

If you have not purchased your tickets yet, they are available at Farmgate Markets at their new location at 19 Elgin Street up until the event or by return email to me or at the door.

Look forward to seeing you there!


Tricia Herbert
Market Manager

PS - This is my last post for a while so Happy Holidays and chat with you again in 2011!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Another Successful Market Season!

I read a line recently that stated we had another successful season at the Horton Farmers' Market. What constitutes success at the market? The market is a key connector of many factors; not all of them obvious. Yes, it connects the farmer to the consumer; the community to it's own turf; friends to each other, and many of us to a piece of our past through memories made there.

But what about the vendors who make further business contracts that extend beyond the market season and beyond the borders of our local community? How about the folks who connected with the fund-raiser groups and felt like they participated in the whole process even though they never left home base. And the stories I have been told - I have been brought to tears more than once by the loving memories of parents and grandparents, now passed on, who were an integral part of this very market.

At times I am overwhelmed by the life of the market - it is boisterous and fun and makes me want more. Even I, who sees much of the behind-the-scenes happenings of what it takes to keep the market happening (not always fun and boisterous), continue to be inspired by the 'success' of the market.

I often treat my business work like my children; nuturing it through bumps and hiccups along the way. The market is no different - it is now like my two year old toddler. In the off-season I feel like I send my toddler to boarding school. I am not connected to it on a weekly basis but it is nutured in my mind and heart. I look forward to sharing memories with you at the Harvest Fest on Saturday November 6th - our grand finale for 2010. You can purchase tickets for this event this Saturday at our last market day of the year. ($15 for adults; $10 for kids (6-16yrs)

One of our season vendors, Empire Valley Farms, will be having a Christmas open house at their farm in Wallacetown on November 25, 26 (open until 8pm), & Saturday 27th (open until 4pm). Another opportunity for you to stay connected with the market vendors and purchase some Christmas greenery and preserves.

The other fun thing happening this Saturday, is of course, Halloween at the market. Our resident face painter Isabelle, will be inside the building this week so if you 'forget' to wear your costume to the market, she will happily help you out.

I include a comment here sent to me from last week's customer appreciation draw winner to pass on to all the vendors - another key contributing factor to the success of the market.

" We are still enjoing the wonderful basket won on Saturday October 23rd. We returned home and it felt as though we were a couple of kids on Christmas morning looking through our stockings full of goodies. We would like each of the vendors to know that we are very appreciative and thankful to all of you for it. It was a pleasant surprise not only winning, but also finding all the donations made by you. We both had smiles on our faces the rest of the day because of you. While most of the contents will be enjoyed by us, there were a few items that we will be shipping to our daughter in England. She was a frequent visitor to the market before moving there. I'm sure she'll be overjoyed at receiving them. Many thanks to all of you."

And I also say many thanks to all of you - the reader, the customer, the market fans. See you one more time (well two more if you are attending Harvest Fest) at the market!


Tricia Herbert

Market Manager

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Two more Saturdays to go and I have little left to ponder about. We do have the municipal election coming up on October 25th - I wonder who will form the next board of management for the market. I wonder why folks even bother to say anymore that they don't get involved in politics. If you are living, breathing, participating in any daily activity such as eating, driving, or working, you are involved in politics. It's just that some people like it more than others and are more vocal about their likes. Please take the time to have your say even if it is to just mark a few X's on a piece of paper - it all counts.

In the movie Food Inc one of the marketing tags at the end stated: "You vote every time you eat." Make your votes count. Are you voting for local economy or something processed and mass produced? Do your food dollars contribute to sustainable agricultural practices? Do any of your local politicians understand the depth and magnitude of these questions and how they relate to a food charter for our region? Ask them. You may be surprised by their answers.

You'll get a chance this Saturday as some of the candidates have rented spots at the market - it is a good place to have that conversation and ask those burning questions. You will also still be able to buy your meat, turkey, pizzas, coffee, Christmas decorations, Barb's Brickle, baked goods, preserves, knitted winter wares, and of course, the last of the fall produce. AND if you haven't yet purchased your Harvest Fest Tickets - we will have a booth set up beside the coffee vendor. Tickets are $15 for adults; $10 for children (6-16yrs). That event takes place November 6th at the market from 6-9:30pm.

This year we have a newly established 'Friends of the Market' account that operates separate from the city budget for the market. The account is monitored by the board of management and is designed to help promote the market and market related activities. Anyone can donate to this account including vendors, community fund raisers, etc. The funds are carried forward from season to season and are not applied to the city operating budget of the market. If you would like more information about how to donate to this account, please talk to me or email me direct. Any proceeds that we gain from the Harvest Fest ticket sales (after all expenses are paid) will be deposited to this account.

Lastly for this post, the winner of the customer appreciation draw is Gord Plank. Congratulations - in my mind, you are all winners by shopping at the market - the draw is a bonus!

See you at the market.


Tricia Herbert
Market Manager

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Harvest Fest at the Market!

As the market season winds down, we are gearing up to celebrate! Please plan on attending our year end celebration being held at the market building this year! Harvest Fest is a gathering of all who have been a part of the market happenings and will take place on November 6th from 6-9:30pm. It really is happening at the market this year; all the signatures are on the dotted lines, the safety regulations in place, the plates and napkins ordered and best of all - the food! Appetizers are being prepared by Kim Saunders of the Windjammer Inn using all the vendors fresh products, wine samples from Quai du Vin, coffee from Jay of Part Time Peasant (Fire Roasted Coffee), cider from Gredigs, cake from Spicers Bakery, treats from Kim McCarvell of Green Leaf Gourmet and the list goes on. Add in a picture show and some special guests and you've got a party. Tickets are on sale now - $15 for adults; $10 for kids (6-16yrs). You can pick yours up at the market this Saturday (or the 23rd or 30th), by emailing me, or at Farmgates new location at 19 Elgin Street in St. Thomas. We want to sell out this year so get your tickets early.

Each week in October we have said goodbye for the season to a few more vendors. DeBackeres, McSmiths, RGrow Farms, and En Fleur Lavender are finished this week. The ladies from the PAN Mission trip to Nicaragua will be at the market this weekend to share their experience with you. You can view pictures from their mission, ask questions, and see where your donation dollars went to. They will have information about another mission taking place in March 2011. We will still have approximately 20 vendors selling right to end of season on October 30th - still worth the trip for the breakfast sandwich and good times. Included in this photo are the vendors that make the breakfast sandwich combo happen - Kristen from Frisa Farm Eggs, Jay from Part Time Peasant (coffee), and the team at Farmgate Markets.

I am still in denial about the season really being done in 3 Saturdays. I won't miss the 5am Saturday mornings but you might see me wondering aimlessly downtown Saturday mornings looking for fresh produce, local vendors, and a friendly place to chat. But until then, I will see you at the market.

Tricia Herbert
Market Manager

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Giving Thanks for it NOT being our last market day yet...

The 2010 Market Season ends on Halloween Weekend (Oct 30/10). I once read a quote that was something like: "If you have repeated something a thousand times, take heart, you are halfway there." This weekend is not our last market day but it does tend to be one of our busiest days.
Thanksgiving and the farmers' market go hand-in-hand. We have turkey, potatoes, squash, fresh veggies, baked goods, apple cider, and even sparkling grape juice. Monika from RGrow Farms will have lots of recipes on hand for her sweet potatoes and plenty of treats available are from Spicers Bakery, Green Leaf Gourmet, and Gredigs Orchards. This will be the last week for RGrow Farms so pick up your pumpkins and Halloween decorations while you can. Many of our vendors are staying until the end of season; we will have 25 -30 vendors right up to closing day. And of course, breakfast sandwiches, coffee, and sunny weather to round out another great year. (The picture below to the left is yours truly with market vendor Tammy Gredig of Gredigs Orchards & Cider - Tam & I have been friends for over 25 years and many times we only get to 'catch up' at the market.)
You will notice the pink-ribbon campaigners for Breast Cancer awareness this weekend at the market as well as the St. Joe's Hawks GOBlueGOBald fundraiser for the Make a Wish Foundation. Approximately ten boys from the football team will have their heads shaved to raise funds for the Make a Wish Foundation. If you would like to support their cause, they will be in the North Pavilion at 9am.

Congratulations to Heather Bamford who won the customer appreciation draw. Each week another happy customer takes home the bounty of the market and the number of new suscribers to this newsletter continues to grow. My goal was to have six hundred on the list this year and we are at 593 - only seven to go before the end of the month. I think we'll make it!

Harvest Fest Celebration is happening on November 6th from 6-9:30pm at the market building. Kim Saunders from the Windjammer Inn is preparing appetizers from the vendors produce and hot cider, coffee and wine samples will be available to sip. We will be giving away a few door prizes, watching a slide show of the season, and socializing with the market community. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for kids (6-16yrs). Tickets will be on sale October 16, 23, and 30th at the market and at Farmgate Markets at 19 Elgin St. here in town. I have a sign up list with me if you would like to reserve your tickets now.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone - the weather is supposed to be beautiful so enjoy!

See you at the market!

Tricia Herbert
Market Manager

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Happy October!

We have five remaining market days! REALLY? Only five Saturdays left in the 2010 market season. Thank you to everyone who is a part of this amazing process. There are so many 'behind-the-scenes' folks, the vendors, the customers, and those who don't say a thing but support in so many other ways. We have been building on the foundation that has been laid by many past supporters over many years - I would love to know what the original founders/organizers think now - my how times have changed and yet some things are very much the same.

We are putting the details together for our year end celebration - Harvest Fest. I will have a sign-up sheet starting this Saturday at the market for pre-ticket orders. We are organizing the event very similar to last season - we will be using the market vendors product and will have a sampling of wine and cider to toast the evening. November 6th is the date - 6:00 to 9:30pm. Mark it on your calendars. The night is a true celebration as everyone gets to mingle and chat.

With the winding down of the season and the early crop we had this year, a few more of our vendors are finished selling for this season. Mark Wales Farms and Ralph Troupe Farms are finished. Kim McCarvell of Green Leaf Gourmet will be back this Saturday and she will be taking Christmas baking orders. Gredig's Orchards will have some baked apple treats along with their apples and cider, and the Senior's Centre pies will be back for this weekend. On Thanksgiving weekend (Oct 9th) the St. Joe's Hawks Go Blue Go Bald fundraiser will take place at the market! The boys from the team are raising funds for the Make A Wish Foundation - they are dyeing their hair blue to raise funds and shaving it all off at the market at 9am Oct 9th. They will be in the North Pavilion seating area.

We will also have all our IPM vendors back including Nature's Perfect Mushrooms, Grammie's Creations, and Succulent Wonders. Farmgate Markets will be there making breakfast sandwiches for sure; but likely very little else this weekend as they are in "Moving Mode". Visit them at their new location at 19 Elgin Street, just behind the TD Bank on Talbot Street.
Time to start thinking about your Halloween costumes for October 30th at the market! For many people, Halloween is their favourite time of the year. I still smile when I think about some of the creative costumes of last year.

Look forward to seeing you at the market!


Tricia Herbert
Market Manager

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fall officially arrived on September 21st with the Autumn Equinox. The leaves are starting to proudly display their artistic talents and it is safe to turn the oven on for long periods of time without sweating out the entire day's water intake in 15 minutes. This week I made sweet potato filling (baked 5 large sweet potatoes wrapped in tinfoil @ 400 for 2 hours - the skin just peels off, mash with a fork and freeze in 2 cup portions - made 8 cups) and a huge batch of applesauce. All stored in the freezer.

When winter comes and I am really missing the market, I thaw out a serving of sweet potato and make biscuits, or muffins, or hummus. The applesauce gets warmed and served with vanilla ice cream and I stay connected to the source of my food and my comfort. I miss the weekly social gathering but the memories get me through until next market season.

We are putting plans in place for our annual market Harvest Fest. We are planning for a open-house type gathering for the evening of Saturday November 6th - stay tuned for more details and ticket sales.

This projecting into the near future also brings up another season - Christmas. Crazy as it sounds, it is just two months around the corner. Carol and Gladys and all things Christmas are starting back at the market this weekend with their beautiful miniature trees and decorations. Their display always attracts a crowd - especially the 10 and under crowd. I had mentioned earlier about the International Plowing Match and a few of our vendors being away this weekend. Most have managed to arrange coverage for both the IPM and our market so it is market morning as usual (with the exception of Kim McCarvell of Green Leaf Gourmet will be away this week). I might have mentioned that Farmgate is away this weekend which is NOT the case. They will be at our market as usual - they MIGHT be away next weekend (Oct 2nd) for their big move but I will keep you posted on that. There will be pumpkins by the trailer-full and plenty of squash and root vegetables to stock up on. And if you really are keen about Christmas, don't forget to visit our jewlery, artist, and natural skin care vendors. The perfect way to shop ahead and give gifts with a local flavour.

I have been to the IPM to help out a little with the farmers' market there and it is amazing to say the least. Tomorrow I am taking my kids and attending as a visitor rather than a volunteer. If you can manage the crowds, it is worth the trip. There's a shuttle service from the railway museum on Wellington Street here in town to the site if you want to avoid the parking and wagon ride from the airport.

So far, my favourite exhibits include the farmers' market tent with sample fest (of course), the live animal exhibit in the education tent, the City of St. Thomas' mini replica of the train station complete with concrete floor and bricked walls, and the rodeo corral. I'm looking forward to the tractor square dance and a ride in the hydro bucket to see an ariel view of the entire site but I'll need to convince the kids on that one.

I'm looking forward to seeing you at the market on Saturday - that is one thing that I miss at the IPM Farmers' Market - connecting with you all!

Tricia Herbert
Market Manager
Horton Farmers' Market
2 Manitoba St. (north of the lights at Giant Tiger on Talbot)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Our market customers build community....

We track all sorts of statistics about vendors, revenue, and numbers of customers at the market but how do we put into numbers what happens on the subtler level of connections made and memories shared?
I continue to hear new stories and meet new people every Saturday at the market. I over-hear folks saying: " I haven't seen you in ages, how's the family?" People ask me about the compostable coffee cups after I make one small request in this newsletter. Vendors help each other out by expanding the circles of business outside of the market hours and operations. Partnerships are happening with other community groups just because people care, not because there's something in it for them.
I love when a customer comes to the market and is still excited to discover a new way to cook sweet potato, or when I can tell what time it is just by which customers are purusing the isles. I know that there are several folks that come to the market before an appointment then come back after the appointment because they didn't get their full Saturday morning experience. Then there are customers who will stop at all the new vendors and make an extra purchase, just to help those new vendors along a little.

I like that customers are amused when there are 'traffic jams' rather than annoyed. I like that there are traffic jams - it means people have time to stop and chat, to catch up, to connect.

This weekend at the market you can take in a little history around the story of Jumbo. The library will be decorating their space in circus style and serving up elephant ears made by The Dutch Bakery. These tasty treats go on sale ($3 each) at 10am and will have various toppings for you to choose from. Rumour has it there will be a special guest on hand to enjoy the first serving. Plan to be there around 10am if you can.

Gail McNaughton will be back will her commemorative Jumbo and IPM postcards. The International Plowing Match is less than one week away! Each time I visit the site, I am amazed at all that is happening there. A mini city is about to come alive complete with a daily farmers' market and daily sample fest (noon to 5pm) within the farmers' market. Bring your shopping bags as there will be lots to take home from this major event.

Kim McCarvel of Green Leaf Pastries is back this week with mini-scones perfect for the kids lunch boxes, (I ordered extra!) and Ralph Troupe will be back with apples, pears, and plums. The Seniors' Centre is bringing apple pies and our apprenticing face-painter will be stationed in the North pavilion. I purchased a beautiful fall/winter wreath from RGrow Farms and I am looking forward to my half bushel of apples from Gredig's Orchards - it's applesauce time! Today I simmered soup stalk, baked up sweet potatoes, and made a batch of biscuits.
Don't you just love this time of year?

See you soon at the market!


Tricia Herbert
Market Manager

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Autumn chill already?

It was a chilly day at the market last weekend. A few people mentioned that it was almost as cold as our first market day - well, maybe not that cold. Brisk, fresh, invigorating for sure. It has been a welcome break to the heavy heat of the summer. And it looks like more of the same for this weekend. This is the short time of the season where the temperature is just right inside the building!

A few vendors are away this weekend including Green Leaf Pastries, The Mixing Bowl, Troupe Farms (peaches) and the Mennonite Martin Family produce. And a few vendors returning this weekend such as Gail McNaughton with her new IPM 2010 postcards, En Fleur Lavender In Bloom, and Janis & Mark Harris with flowers.

A smaller version of the farmers' market will be happening everyday at the International Plowing Match happening September 21-25th on Highway #3 just before the St. Thomas Airport. What a site to behold as the mini-city begins to take form. What this means for you is you can access a farmers' market for 5 days, 8:30am to 5pm. It also means that some of our vendors will be working like crazy to cover both that event and our regular market day on September 25th. A few vendors will only be at the plowing match that weekend but we will still have a full house. Farmgate Markets will be away that weekend also for a very exciting new venture they have taken on - they are moving their business location to a much bigger space! Congratulations to Sandy and Ray and the whole Farmgate team as they move shop that weekend and open for business in their new location (Elgin Street behind the TD Canada Trust on Talbot) on October 4th.

The other exciting thing happening at the market occurs on September 18th. The library is helping comemorate the historical events in St. Thomas being the 125th anniversary of Jumbo the elephant's death. They will have a collection of books and historical information regarding Jumbo and there will be special treats that day to sample (more details to follow). There will also be a video display and art work on display. We are looking for donations of the extra large pickle jars if anyone has any they would like to contribute. They can be dropped off in my office at the market (I know you would think I don't have an office as I am never in there - I do stop in there occasionally :-)

I saw lots of folks back at the market this weekend - everyone's back from holidays, settling into Autumn's rhythm. You may not see Amber deJong from Frisa Farms (egg vendor) back to the market yet - she gave birth to a bouncing baby girl. But then you never know, the market babies seem to love it there too! (sorry, I tried to add more pictures but the service is not letting me right now - more photos next week)

A big thank you to all that responded to last week's newsletter - there were plenty of good suggestions and positive comments about the market. Like one of my favourite sayings: It's all good.

Pull out the socks and sweaters and see you bright and early at the market!


Tricia Herbert
Market Manager

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What do you like about the market?

September is officially here! I am excited as it always feels like the new year - the weather seems to change the quickest during this season transition. One day it's summer, the next it's fall. The kids go back to school, rountine is a little more settled and comforting, and fall mums and root veggies start filling the stalls at the market.

In the community we are getting ready for the International Plowing Match happening Sept 21-25. There will be a local food tent including a daily farmers' market there. If you are interested in vending your agricultural products there please let me know ASAP. The fees have been supplemented by secured funding so this is a great opportunity to showcase what Elgin County has to offer.

We are continuing to average 40 vendors per market day. Luckily a few vendors are on vacation every week so I can shuffle a few to different tables to keep everyone withnin the pavilions and building.

This weekend, the plan is to make peach jam, red-pepper jelly, and applesauce - pretty keen I know. This is my one way of making the market memories last well into the winter. What about you? Let me know what you think about the market, the hours of operation, what a year-round Saturday market might look like to you. We'd love to hear your ideas, thoughts, suggestions - I do keep track and pass them on to the Board of Management. Send me an email or track me down at the market - much progress has been made in the past four years; let's keep the momentum going.

Yet another bonus to my position as market manager - I often to get to sample the new things vendors are trying. Like the creamcheese and crab dumplings at Lotus Thai, or the freshest multi-grain garlic bread at Spicers. The organic tomatoes at Chris Dancey's booth and the hot peppers from Kosic's Greenhouse are also a big hit. Then there's apple fritters from the Dutch Bakery, thin crust pizza from Uncle Dad's and an assortment of natural soaps from Moonstone Aromatherapy. Have a look around, you never know what you might see that you previously passed by.

Congratulations to Michele Martin who won the customer appreciation draw this week. Always a bonus highlite every Saturday!

Many thanks for your continued involvment in the market's growth and see you at the market!

Tricia Herbert
Market Manager