Janice Mackay and Melissa Fong from Cassidy Farm Market peddle pies and pastries at the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce’s first farmers market of the year Tuesday

Farmers’ markets are in full summer swing

Weekly Farmers' Markets visit downtown Ladysmith every Tuesday from now through September 24.

Last year’s test market went so well that the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce has expanded its Tuesday night market to last the whole summer.

The Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce is hosting the Ladysmith Make It, Bake It, Grow It Farmers Market Tuesdays from 3-7 p.m. from now until Sept. 24. First Avenue is closed from Buller Street to French Street so that local vendors can sell their produce, preserves, flowers and hand-crafted items.

“The first one was a test market for three weeks last year, and it went very well,” says Chamber member Rod MacNeil. “We considered it a success. The produce was good, nice and fresh, and we had a good selection of vendors. It was really, really well-received. Some of the locals were a bit surprised because they didn’t know about it so having the street blocked off was surprising, but the test market was a success.”

MacNeil hopes to build this year’s market up to 20 to 30 vendors by the time it ends Sept. 24.

“We need to grow it a little more and get more diversity,” he said. “But some of the veggie growers aren’t ready yet. What we’re trying to accomplish is to be a service to the locals and be as accommodating as we can to the vendors. The other thing is we have to keep everybody safe on the street.”

The market started last week, and, so far, vendors include The Hat Lady, the Cassidy Market, The Jam Lady and local farmers offering fresh produce.

“What I would like people to know is the produce is always fresh, it’s well made and it doesn’t have chemicals or pesticides,” said MacNeil. “The stuff is made and grown with so much TLC.”

To learn about becoming a vendor, call 250-245-2112 or e-mail admin@ladysmithcofc.com.

The Cedar Farmers Market is also now in full swing.

The market opened May 12, and it runs Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until Oct. 27 in the fields of the Crow and Gate Neighbourhood Pub at 2313 Yellow Point Rd.

With 60-plus vendors, the market features a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, eggs, breads and preserves, along with a wide range of hand-crafted items.

In Chemainus, the Chemainus Wednesday Market opens this week. The market will run Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from May 29 to Sept. 25 at Waterwheel Park.

“It’s a wonderful little market” and “a lovely variety of vendors” are comments heard often from market shoppers, according to the Chemainus and District Chamber of Commerce.

The market features a mix of local farm produce, baking, locally made soaps and body care products, sewing and needlework, jewelry, First Nations carvings and much more.