This year, a record number of vendors will join the Vancouver Farmers Market, which opens this weekend. But unlike in previous years, they’ll likely be able to vend into the winter months.
With more vendors signed up at the downtown market than there were for all three of Vancouver’s markets last year, the market team is making moves to be open year-round.
“As our vendor base is becoming more committed to the market and vendors are really wanting more year-round opportunities, we felt that the time was right to extend our season year-round,” said Stephanie Clark, partnerships and programs manager at the market.
The market has 253 vendors signed up this year, 63 of which are new. That’s 20 more new vendors than the market has seen in previous years, even before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve seen an influx of new vendors applying and some people coming back who didn’t vend in the past couple of years,” Clark said.
Plus, vendors are signing up for more days. Some days even have waiting lists.
“We are projected to be at capacity for vendor spaces for the majority of the season,” Clark said. There are 175 spaces in the market, which is centered around the intersection of Sixth and Esther streets in downtown Vancouver.
Clark attributes the newfound enthusiasm to vendors liking the market staff, how it’s run and Vancouver customers.
This vendor commitment has allowed the market to make its year-round transition, which is still being finalized with the city.
The market will remain closed the last two weeks in December and reopen the first Saturday in January. Like for the fall market, it would be open only on Saturdays and for fewer hours than the summer market.
Just as the farmers market team keeps an eye on the forecast in the summer and fall, so too will they watch the forecast in the winter months.
“If it’s dangerous conditions, we will cancel the market and give vendors and customers alike as much notice as possible,” Clark said.
If there’s just a flurry of snow not sticking, however, and it’s safe to be there, the show will go on.
“We have some really hard-core vendors who will vend in all weather,” Clark said.
The market has some tips and tricks it shares with vendors in the fall months to stay warm.
With good weather expected Saturday, the market team expects turnout to be high this opening weekend.