The Kamloops Regional Farmers' Market held its first market day of the season on Saturday, drawing about 75 vendors and crowds of people to the 200-block of St. Paul Street.
Berry Sweet Garden’s Emma Molina was selling jams, baked goods, eggs and seedlings from a tent set up on St. Paul Street.
Molina said she was very excited to see people come out to support local farmers. She said the best things about being back for another season were the opportunity to sell her product and to see her customers.
“It’s nice to have the interaction, it’s a good feeling," she said. "It’s lovely to see all the vendors also, with a lot of enthusiasm, and eager to be here."
Pam Simpson of Curlew Flower Farm said she was enjoying reconnecting with all her old customers on the first market day, while Leslie Albert, from Not Your Momma’s Bakery, said she was “super excited” to kick off the season.
“The energy is great,” Albert said, while helping customers at her booth.
Greg Unger, farmers’ market manager, pointed out the first Saturday market of the year fell fittingly on Earth Day, adding he couldn’t be happier about the large turnout.
“It’s going to be a really fun year,” Unger said.
“We're kicking it off on Earth Day, but we've already got events planned basically every Saturday, right to the end of May already.”
The regional market draws a diverse group of vendors selling baked goods, meats and eggs, plants, pottery and other handmade creations.
“There's some new faces in the crowd. It's still a little early in the season for produce, but there's already some bedding plants,” Unger said.
“We have a couple new farmers, somebody bringing mushrooms, a couple new micro-green growers. There's going to be some organic stone fruit coming from the South Okanagan later in the season.”
Along with the vendors, some special events are planned at the market. A children’s choir is set to perform on April 29, and the annual Walk for Peace, Social Justice and Environment will bring music and speakers to the Kamloops Farmers’ Market on May 6.
Following that, the market will host the annual pollinator festival.
New this year is a bike valet service, which will run in the southeast corner of the Stuart Wood school yard. The goal is to encourage more residents to cycle to the market.
The Kamloops Cycling Coalition and the City of Kamloops are working together to operate the free service each Saturday. A group of young people from the Youth Climate Corps will be helping to operate the valet.
Unger said organizers are at a point where they might have to consider approaching the City of Kamloops about expanding the market space, noting they are now filling up the Stuart Wood school yard.
"I'm very happy that the market is growing every year,” he said.
The Saturday market will run each weekend from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. until Oct. 29.
The Wednesday market, held weekly on Victoria Street, will start for the season on May 3.