Farmers Markets are so unique, shopping at them is an experience unlike any other. Not only are they unique from other places you shop, but they also vary greatly from each other. Farmers Markets are made up of locally raised foods and hand crafted items unique to the geographic areas they are in. You will find items that reflect the local culture and spirit of the surrounding communities. Farmers Markets offer face to face interaction, lowers the carbon footprint and there’s a direct and transparent supply chain. These are just a couple of the reasons among many that illustrates why people shop at Farmers Markets. While you can certainly just go to the Market, there are ways that you can ensure you get the most out of your Market experience.
As someone who organizes the Market each week, it’s easy for us on the Market side to just assume that you know all these intricacies but alas, you know what they say about assuming! That being said I thought it might be handy to give you a bit of an inside look at how things work and that might help you get the very best out of your Market trips. I’m going to call it Market Shopping 101…I hope you find these things useful.
Make a list of all the things you really need at the Market and the things you want to check out a little closer. Once at the Market, you will want to take your time to look around and see everything there is to see, but you don’t want to forget what you came for. Nothing is more frustrating than getting home to find out you forgot your lettuce.
The best way to plan ahead is to know who is coming to Market. Each week we post a poster that lists all the causal vendors that come to the Market for the coming Saturday. These are the ones who aren’t with us every week and we do it so that you know who is new and you can see if this is the week that a certain vendor is with us. You will also find that starting on about Wednesday and Thursday, we really start posting all the interesting items you will find on Saturday to social media. Pay attention to these posts and then if you see anything that catches your eye, write it on the “Check it Out” section of your list. If you aren’t seeing these posts in your social media feed, make a point of going to our page to take a look for yourself…Facebook only shows you so much.
**keep in mind that the Market is home to more than 70 individual business owners, so there may be last minute changes. That may mean we weren’t able to advertise a vendor due to a last minute addition or they aren’t at Market as advertised to to an unexpected absence.
2. COME PREPARED
Bring your reusable bags and try to bring some smaller bills and change with you. Keep in mind that while vendors are advised to keep a supply of change on hand, when they get several $20 bills in a row, especially on small items first thing in the morning, it makes it very difficult for them to make change. It might seem like a little thing but they will be very grateful for your thoughtfulness.
If you are coming for awhile or maybe going somewhere else after the Market, bring a cooler with you to store your meat and veggies. This will save you the disappointment of spoilage due to a hot car later on.
3. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE WELCOME TABLE
Not the most imaginative name, but we are welcoming, so that’s a thing. Have a question or need some general information? We are here to help. We do move the table from time to time due to space availability, but we are always there. We can answer questions, help you if you’re looking for a certain item or vendor and we have 50/50 tickets for sale as well as Market swag. If you need help with something out to your car, one of our volunteers can help!
4. GO AHEAD, MAKE IT A DAY
We work hard at making the Market a place you want to be and hang out at on a Saturday morning and we hope that you make it part of your weekly routine. We know that you likely have other things to do, but if you can possibly swing it, set the time aside and make a point to spend time at the Market and really look around. Have a bite to eat…come for breakfast and stay for lunch and shop in between. We’re not rushing you, we want you to spend time with us!
As an organizer we sometimes have to move vendors around so you may find that your vendor isn’t always in the same spot. This is usually out of organizational necessity or requirement, but it also keeps you looking and you might find something new that you haven’t seen before.
The great thing about small producers and artisans is that they have the flexibility to change items, so really look at their tables and see what’s new. Don’t be afraid to stop, they’re happy to see you!
We have lots of local music at the Market. They come to play for you out of passion for what they do and out of their appreciation for the Market. They will have an open case, show them your appreciation!
Make two full laps around the Market. On your first pass, stop and look at everything, remember that list? Use it to write things down and remember where you found them. On your second pass, go back to those things and purchase them!
Stop and talk to your friends and neighbors and make it a social day out, just be sure that your conversation isn’t blocking other patrons from reaching a vendors table. It makes it hard for vendors to earn their livelihood if customers can’t get to them!
5. ENGAGE! ENQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW
Vendors are at the Market because they are passionate about what they do and you as a consumer have the unique opportunity to talk to the very person that grew, made or baked the item you are considering purchasing. Find out about their processes, more about their farm, what makes them tick. Your farmers and artisans are proud of what they have produced and they would love to share it with you. Don’t be afraid to take an interest!
6. VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE
Try something new. Every time. Pick up at least one new thing every time you come to the Market. We have so many interesting items. And if you’re not sure what to do with them, ask your producer. They are usually armed with tried and true recipes and new uses for those awesome things.
7. BUY IN SEASON
Remember, everything is locally grown. If you are looking for fresh picked strawberries in December, you are going to be disappointed. Know what’s in season and when it’s coming up. We have info about that at the Welcome table we mentioned above.
At the same time, when something is in season, buy lots of it and preserve it by freezing, canning etc. That way, you can still have local strawberries in December.
8. DON’T SEE IT? ASK ABOUT IT.
When you are shopping with a vendor and you see an item that isn’t exactly the colour or size you wanted or they don’t have the item you were looking for, ask! Yes, you can do that! Some vendors may be willing or able to custom make an item for you or may have one in stock at home that they just didn’t bring with them. Remember, it never hurts to ask!
9. SHARE WITH US
Show or tell vendors how you are using their products. It will make them feel great and perhaps even give them a new idea on how to utilize their product.
Share your market finds with us. Post your photos to our facebook page or share on Instagram @ngfarmmarket with the hashtag #myngfmfinds We may share it but it shows others how clever you are with your Market finds. We also love recipes using our vendors products or seeing how that art piece looks in your home….just sayin’
10. SPREAD THE WORD
Ask friends and neighbours if they have been to the market before. Tell them, show them or feed them the amazing items you found at the Market. Bring your visitors for a unique morning out. Farmers Markets have a large and positive local economic impact in their communities. When you shop with our vendors, your money is going directly to them and their families. When they have to make, bake or grow more, they have to buy more. They register their kids in community programs, shop at other local businesses, all from money earned at the Market. They are spending and re-investing that money in the community.
The smell of spring is in the air. We dream of warm, lazy summer days on the beach and enjoying all the farm fresh bounty that our fields have to offer. The smell of fresh baked breads, unique creations by our talented artisans and cultural culinary delights that tingle the taste buds are plentiful. Local music, laughter and friendship are always in abundance at the Market. Here, everyone is family.
As you plan your Maritime vacation or staycation, be sure to add the New Glasgow Farmers Market to your trip. It’s the perfect start to any weekend! After your trip to the Market, be sure to visit our surrounding communities on the Northumberland Shore to take advantage of the beauty, talent and experiences our region has to offer.
Our farmers, food producers, artisans and musicians are ready to welcome you!
We celebrated the grand opening of our new, heated building and held our first ever Winter Market! The Town of New Glasgow held their 2nd annual Chill Out event at the Market and we are very happy to be the location of the 2017 Chill Out event again this year on January 14th, 2017!
Because of our new winter home, we were able to provide a marketplace for more than 30+ vendors including farmers, food producers and artisans to sell their wares for the winter and early spring months who would otherwise have not had a local place to sell their goods. This earned them money and of course when you buy, they have to re-stock and that means shopping here at home. We saw record breaking attendance at the opening in January. We continued to welcome roughly 700 shoppers every Saturday through the winter months, great for our first time open in the winter! This gave our community another place to shop for local goods through these months.
We grew into two buildings when we re-opened the dome in late April. Because of this, we were able to increase our vendor capacity by more than 100%, making our Market home to more than 70 vendors through the peak season!
This year we saw our attendance increase by 60% and on occasion, we more than doubled attendance over last year, showing that we had many new visitors joining us throughout the season. That means more people supporting local and putting money into our local economy!
As you may (or may not know) the New Glasgow Farmers Market is an independent non-profit organization. We are run by a board of volunteers and we are a co-operative, meaning that all the vendors are also expected to participate in the successful functioning of the Market, and we have one staff member, the Market Manager. All the money required for operating comes solely from weekly table fees paid by vendors and fundraising. We do also apply for grants as well when possible.
Fundraising includes our gift baskets and weekly 50/50 draw. They also include occasional events that the community can come out and enjoy.
We decided to change our approach with fundraising this year and try some new events. As with all grand plans, some of the ideas were great, others not so much. But it was all worth a shot, you never know until you try!
We held two fabulous main events last year. Our first was our From Market to Main Street event. It was a magnificent farm to table event designed to highlight the integral relationship between urban and rural communities. The event brought the community together in so many ways, more than we ever could have hoped for. That’s what the market is about, great local food and bringing people together!
On August 27, 2016 160 people dined in the middle of Provost Street in historic downtown New Glasgow. They came together for an unprecedented night of fun and friendship. We made the table in one long row on purpose, because people would need to sit near someone new, introducing them to someone they hadn’t met before. They enjoyed local food and music and sipped on local wine and craft beer. And in the end, friendships were made and fun was had by all. It really was a magical evening!
In addition to our amazing contributions from vendors, we had local partners that made it all possible and without them, we could not have pulled it all off. The Town of New Glasgow provided logistical support and approval to use the beautiful and historic Provost St. as the backdrop. Our food partner for this event was local chef Jason Conway from J Conway Catering. We gave him the challenge of preparing a meal from as many locally grown foods sourced from the Market as possible. He kindly donated his time and talents for this event!
We partnered with Glasgow Square Theatre who lined up local talent. Guests listened to the talents of market favourites Heather Cameron , Amelia Parker and Ray Stewart and of course Pat Spaulding! Pictou County Pop Classics brought down the house with a preview of their 70’s show which was a sold out event after their appearance at the Market to Main event.
The decor and consulting that provided the most beautiful and elegant setting was provided by local business Rocklin Parties. All the details, like flowers and hay came from Market vendors and many of the servers were vendors from the Market too!
We had 3 hours to turn a busy and bustling downtown into a beautiful and elegant dining room. Weather was not on our side at the beginning, causing rain delays and maybe a little gray hair for organizers and musicians. A wonderful thing happened when it rained though…guests huddled together under the awnings of local businesses to keep dry. They mingled and got to know people that maybe they hadn’t met before. The rain added to the intricacy of it all. In the end, the night cleared up and the meal was top notch … people were dancing in the streets!
Here are more photos from the event, courtesy of Wonderland Photography and Kimberly Dickson from the Town of New Glasgow, please click on the photo:
The event garnered attention, not only province wide, but we even had Markets from the country contact us asking how they could do it in their communities!
In fact, the night was so amazing, that we are going to do it again! We have a couple of twists up our sleeve and can’t reveal much more just yet, but you should mark August 19, 2017 on your calendar. Keep an eye out on our website and Facebook page for an announcement on 2017 tickets!
Our other big event for the year was Roktoberfest. Held on September 17th, the goal of this night was to put a focus on our many wonderful distilleries and local music. It was to be a casual and fun environment filled with music and food. We once again partnered with J Conway catering for a simple, yet delicious German inspired meal. Our partner, Rocklin Parties took good care of us too!
The night was a great success! We have a similar evening planned, but again with a twist in store, so for this one, mark October 28th on your calendar… and while we’re keeping it secret, we can tell you it will be a Boo-tiful evening and you’ll have a Monsterous-ly good time!
We also held our first ever weeknight Market in December. More than 2700 people came out and shopped with us! It gave those who may not normally have the opportunity to visit us on a Saturday a chance to come and see what we have to offer. It was so successful, we’ll be holding a couple more in 2017!
All in all, it was a very successful fundraising year for us. We raised more than $15, 000! In addition to operating costs, the more funds we raise, allows us to tackle some of the goals on our wishlist. And when we accomplish those goals and put on events, we strive to use local companies and businesses so the monies raised goes right back into our community. This year as we accomplished our goals and held our events, we also spent more than $20, 000 in our community along the way. That doesn’t even include all the supplies we had to purchase to stock the new building and more!
With some of the funds raised this year, we installed our Market Kitchen which is used on market days by Big Willie’s Brunch, but it is also utilized by some of our food vendors who require the use of an approved kitchen in order to sell at the Market. Without the kitchen, they would be unable to sell with us and offer their amazing food to you. We would like to thank Alain Bosse, the Kilted Chef for consulting with us and helping us with our vision. We purchased flooring materials from McLean’s Flooring, and Lyon’s Brook Piping and Welding, did a fabulous job fabricating our beautiful stainless countertops and Happy Harry’s Pictou County found us just the right cabinets. We purchased our stove from Chediac’s . Of course we cannot forget to thank St. Joseph’s Academy for generously donating the beautiful triple sink and tap in our kitchen! Big thanks goes to Colin from Knotty Acres who constructed, painted and built the kitchen and installed the kitchen floor and tile backsplashes in the Market. Lumber and other materials came from various shops within our county.
We also purchased heaters for the dome and while it definitely was not a tropical destination, they did take the edge off. They enabled us to keep both buildings open, offering you more variety of local goods and more vendors had a holiday Marketplace. We purchased them from Terry and his team at Graybar .
We thank you all for your support and we have some fabulous things happening at Market in 2017! We have a special project or two that we will get to cross off our wish list that will better our community. And of course we will have some more great events that you will not want to miss. Stay tuned and keep in the know, you will not want to miss it!
We look forward to starting our 2017 season with you on January 14 at 9am!
We are continuing to be Local, Fresh and Flourishing!
Another in our series of posts that is aimed at guiding you to find just the right gift for everyone on your list. We have something for everyone and in every budget!
Remember, all items at the Market are hand made, baked or grown locally, they are not imported.
The beauty of it is that you are giving a very special gift that was handcrafted with love, thought and care to give to someone special and the people on your list deserve nothing less.
A reminder that we do have new vendors that come time to time or are new and may not be showcased here and there’s many more items than we have space to show, so that’s why it is important to come to the Market every week, you never know what hidden gem you’ll find!
Soap Company of Nova Scotia can be found every week in the Dome. Leigh has a fabulous line of men’s products. They make an excellent gift and/or stocking stuffer. Buy a few and take them to the gift wrapping centre to have them put in a basket!
Unique and beautiful jewelry from Little Acorns
Gem Creations makes beautiful jewellery from sea glass that is collected from beached around the world. Visit her on December 7th and 10th!
Le Soap has a collection of soaps, bath bombs and salts that anyonw would love to use in the bath! Talk to them about what might be right for you!
Natalie Higgs has beautiful infinity scarves in a variety of fabrics! Find one that is just right!
It’s a glass Act has beautifully handcrafted jewelry! Find her Wednesday December 7th and every Saturday through December 17th!
Conny has lots of supplements, bath and body care products perfect for everyone!
Le Soap has a collection of soaps, bath bombs and salts that anyone would love to use in the bath! Talk to them about what might be right for you!
For the cider and wine lover, check out Petite Riviere Winery for a great selection. Christine will be able to help you pick just the right bottle for the lucky recipient!
macD’s Bees has lots of bath and body products and of course, honey!
For the coffee lover. Fair trade, hand roasted coffee. Buy the bag and have it ground or give the whole bean. We also think someone should buy these and coat them with Chapel Cove Chocolate!
Beautiful jewellery from Art by Dionne!
Lee Bezanson Jewellry handcrafts beautiful tree of life jewellery. Alls shapes and sizes on semi precious stones!
Handcrafted by Melissa offers beautiful scarves!
Gem Creations makes beautiful jewellery from sea glass that is collected from beached around the world. Visit her on December 7th and 10th!
Do you have an elf that needs help with suggestions on just the right thing? Well, we have a solution! Introducing our new Help Your Elf program!
Use this list to write down things that you see at Market that you think would make a great gift for you or someone else. Once it’s filled out, hand it in at the welcome table and we will e-mail your elf with your gift suggestions before the next Market! Lists will be accepted until December 10th!
Ask your vendor for a Help Your Elf form and there will also be a few located at the Welcome table!
Forget vacuums and neck ties, get something unique this Holiday season and support local!
Help Your Elf!
Just another way we’re helping you shop local this Christmas!