Amy Vincent and Andrew Engqvist from Silver Rill Berry Farm help a customer pick out some locally grown produce at the Goldstream Farmers Market at Veterans Memorial Park in Langford. James MacKenzie/BLACK PRESS

B.C. Farmers’ Market Trail a one-stop virtual guide to the goods

New website assembles, profiles 145+ farmers’ markets throughout B.C.

Delicious fruit, locally produced goods like honey and craft beer, even arts and music are just some of the treasures to be found at your local farmers’ markets and now, the BC Farmers’ Market Trail, a newly launched website, will help you hit up as many as you possibly can.

RELATED: Esquimalt Farmers Market named top in B.C.

The site has collected more than 145 authentic farmers’ markets from Vancouver Island to the Okanagan, from Northern B.C. to Metro Vancouver, in an effort to make it easier for residents and visitors alike to find others who share a commitment to B.C. grown and made food and goods.

“The Trail will make it easy for locals and visitors in B.C. to find the freshest, local, in-season food,” said Wylie Bystedt, president of the B.C. Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCAFM). “It showcases the rich experience of farmers’ markets in our province and the phenomenal local farms and food throughout the regions.

Each market is profiled with everything you need to know – location, date and time, how to get there, where to park, what kind of vendors will be on site, even where the closest ATM is.

RELATED: B.C. farmers’ market coupon program to get $750,000 boost

Farmers’ markets come in all sizes, but the one thing they have in common is that they can be kind of “hidden,” said Kyle Goulet, executive director of the Moss Street Market, now in its 29th year.

“So many people, and I’m one of them, when I travel in B.C. I always think of farmers’ markets first – what day of the week is it running and how can I get there?”

In the last five years farmers’ markets have really taken off again after a lapse in the ’80s and ’90s, Goulet said, adding the Trail “really helps put them all on the map.”

“Farmers’ markets don’t have big marketing budgets so they can be hard to find for those who don’t know their communities well or maybe just moved to a community,” he added.

Vancouver Island is home to 28 farmers’ markets, the largest region for markets in the province. In B.C. farmers’ markets contribute more than $150 million to the provincial economy each year. That number is growing because the number of people seeking healthy, local, in-season products is rising, according to BCAFM.

“The drive is definitely coming from the community,” Goulet said. “Our market has over 100 vendors. You can really do all your grocery shopping with us.”

RELATED: Artisans carve out a niche at Saanich Sunday Farmers’ Market

The Trail is poised to grow too, as each unique region of B.C. will be highlighted on the site with a special focus starting with the Kootenays.

The B.C. Farmers’ Market Trail was created by BC Association of Farmers’ Markets, a non-profit that works to develop and strengthen markets across the province, with support from Destination BC’s co-op marketing program, the Columbia Basin Trust and Kootenay-Rockies Tourism.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

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