So You Think You Can Shop- Farmers Market Edition

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Insider Tips and Tricks from a Market Manager

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.

  1. PLAN AHEADNGFM List
  • 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 DAYmeals-master

  • 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, surprise-me-weekly-coffee-subscription-coffeexperts-ESX8fy-clipartmade 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 SEASONcanstockphoto1455452

  • 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’ngfmfinds

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.

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Music at the Market- Caroline Boulter

New to the Market this week, May 27, 2017 is another talented young musician, Caroline Boulter.

Caroline is a Grade 7 student at New Glasgow Academy.  She has been playing the violin since she was three years old. She just moved to New Glasgow from Lethbridge Alberta in 2016.  Caroline BoulterShe continues to study the violin with Christy Hodder at the Maritime Conservatory in Halifax.  Through the Maritime Conservatory, she joined the Nova Scotia Youth Ambassadors. Under the direction of Christy Hodder, this group of young violinists travels around Nova Scotia and Canada performing both traditional fiddle music and classical repertoire.  Caroline has been the recipient of many awards both since coming to Nova Scotia and in Lethbridge. She has travelled over from Alberta to New England to Halifax as part of her music education. Caroline is busking today to help raise money for the NSYA as they plan to travel to the Tavistock Fiddle Festival in Ontario and the end of June.

 

Music at the Market- Dixie Rovers

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The Dixie Rovers are a group of 7 local musicians who enjoy playing traditional Dixieland jazz.  In existence for only 2 full years, they have performed at such events as the Antigonish Art Fair, Highland Games Street Fair, Olde Stumpe Frolic, and at the Antigonish Farmer’s Market.

Based in Antigonish, but with some members also hailing from Pictou County, this year the Rovers will be playing several local events including at the Pictou Lobster Carnival, Trenton Antique Car Show, and for New Glasgow’s pre-Canada Day celebrations on the riverfront on June 30.  Our 7-piece group includes trumpet, clarinet, tenor sax, trombone, tuba, tenor banjo, and percussion.

Come on out  and listen to  some fine traditional Dixieland jazz with the Dixie Rovers! Performance begins at 9:30am.

 

Music at the Market- Niki V

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This week we are excited to welcome yet another very talented musician to the Market!

Niki V is a singer/songwriter from Pictou County. She is a multi-instrumentalist and has been performing at various venues throughout the county for the past few years.

Her passion for performing is obvious and her energy is contagious. She has written several originals, along with performing many of the classics we all know and love. Niki lives for her music, and is grateful to come from such a supportive and caring community.

Find her on facebook: www.facebook.com/nikivmusic

Music At The Market- Glen Jackson

As we begin our new season, it’s time to bring back our Music at the Market segment!

We are very fortunate to have a very large pool of talented local musicians in our County…and beyond! They come to the Market each week and provide you with live, local music while you eat, shop and visit with your friends and neighbours. They are a very important part of the whole Market experience and a large part of what makes the Market so special and unique.

Every time we welcome a new musician or group to play for us, we like to introduce you to them. Our buskers are not paid, but they come to the Market for the joy of sharing their music and artistry with you. They play open case and often have their music available for purchase, so please don’t be shy to show your appreciation for them.

Now that we have expanded, we are very happy to be able to showcase two fantastic musicians every week!

This week, May 28, 2016 we are happy to have Glen Jackson playing with us.

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Glen Jackson is a singer/songwriter from Pictou, NS.

 Although it had always been within him, it was only when Glen moved to Pictou, Nova Scotia in 2004 that he found his home and true passion in music.  Over the past six years he has been writing and performing including his original material and entertaining crowds near home.

 In April of this year he released Revisionist History, which his debut EP comprised of four songs he wrote and recorded over the course of 2014-15.  You can find Revisionist History on iTunes, cdbaby.com, Spotify, Google Play and more!

Two of the songs found on Revisionist History were entered into CBC’s Searchlight contest in past years, Nothing’s Harder Than Goodbye and Fall.

Grab a bite to eat or a drink and then sit and enjoy the entertainment!  It’s all part of your Saturday morning destination.

 

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Market Events 2016

We’re putting the FUN in Fundraising!

As a non-profit organization, the New Glasgow Farmers Market relies solely on table fees, membership fees, grants and funds raised to operate. Operating year round also means expenses now carry on accordingly. We also have some set up fees related to having two buildings…such as having to buy all new tables to fill the expanded space, we have a new kitchen to supply and will need new tents and more! Up until this past year, our main goal was to be year round and to have a heated facility and now that we achieved that goal, we can focus on our many new dreams and goals. Some of these are included on the site plans which have been posted but also a community garden, youth programs and so many more wonderful ideas….like anything else though it takes money to go along with all the vision and hard work.

All of this being said, we have come up with several unique experiences, all of which will help us raise funds that will not only benefit the Market, but will ultimately help us bring more positive change to our community.

Here is a list of what you can expect to see and participate in this year. We hope that not only will you share these events but that you attend them and if you have any visitors coming this summer, be sure to bring them as they will offer a true reflection of everything that is unique to our area and Nova Scotia in general. We are all about local and it’s a flavour you can’t get anywhere else!

This year, we’ve also made it easier for you and your guests from away to attend. The tickets for all of these events will be available to purchase online, not to worry though, you can still pick them up at the Market too! Be sure to follow us on Facebook, find the events and check back here often to find out when tickets go on sale!

 

AUGUST 27        FROM MARKET TO MAIN STREET

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You don’t want to miss this one! A very special event,  in fact the first of its kind in the country as far as we can tell!

Join us for a unique farm to table dining experience located in the heart of downtown New Glasgow, Nova Scotia!

Picture a warm summer’s night, a light breeze and the smell of fresh flowers in the air. Music glides down the street as friends and neighbours come together over an elegant meal made of fresh, local foods and fine wine produced by some of the finest producers in the area.

On this night, tables will line Provost Street, a main street of New Glasgow and guests will enjoy a cocktail/tapas hour, followed by a three course meal, connecting the farmer and food producer with their community in the most literal sense. Chef Jason Conway of J Conway Catering, will create a menu consisting of ingredients sourced from local producers and vendors found at the New Glasgow Farmers Market. Entertainment will be provided by just some of the talented musicians in our area and will be announced soon.

Tickets are only $55 per person for this unique experience, vegetarian options are available.

PURCHASE TICKETS ONLINE NOW!   

This is a fundraising initiative and proceeds will go towards future projects and programs at the Market.

We would like to thank our partners, the Town of New Glasgow, J Conway Catering, Glasgow SquarePetite Riviere Winery and Rocklin Parties for making this event possible.

Join the Facebook event to stay updated!

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         SEPTEMBER 17       OKTOBERFEST- MARKET STYLE

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Come out and enjoy a mouth-watering meal that pays homage to the German tradition of Oktoberfest. But in true market style, it’s all about local too! Your meal will consist of items found at the Market and will be fully catered by chef Jason Conway of J Conway Catering. You will be able to enjoy local spirits and ales while listening to the some of the best musical talents that our area has to offer.

Mainstage will be Next Exit, Leah & Kyle and Mike and the MacPhersons.

Stay tuned for more information!

NOVEMBER 17      HOLIDAY DINNER

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Celebrate a fantastic year and take a moment to relax before the holiday season ramps up and enjoy a gourmet meal with local market ingredients! Meal catered by J Conway Catering.   Live music and great food, more details to come soon!

 

Cooking up Opportunity

We are often approached by groups who are looking to raise funds. We can help! We have a unique opportunity that might interest you.

Our Market Kitchen is available on Market Saturdays. For a nominal fee you can rent our kitchen, create a simple menu and sell a hot meal to Market goers. This opportunity is open to restaurants, chefs as well as non-profit organizations (this includes school groups too) looking to raise funds. With 900-1100 visitors to the market every week,  this is a unique way to get the word out about a new menu item at your restaurant, your catering service or to raise funds for your organization through your kitchen sales.

If you are interested in finding out more about this opportunity, please contact us at ngfarmmarket@gmail.com for all the details.

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