The Barns Market Turns 10
The Stop’s Farmer’s Market is celebrating 10 years at the Artscape Wychwood Barns on Nov 25. Yes folks, that’s a whole 261 times that the market (managed by the indomitable Cookie Roscoe) has opened the Big Barn doors to welcome us all in. In that decade, some things have stayed the same, but there have also been a lot of big changes. When the market first opened, there were no storage vegetables in Ontario because it was cheaper to ship from the US than to grow and store vegetables locally. The market was one of the first in Toronto to decide it would not carry any US or “hot house” vegetables in the winter market. Instead, they only carried local storage vegetables and passively heated greenhouse produce. This was considered crazy at the time, and the Market organizer was told “it’s impossible to eat from Ontario all year round”, but boy how wrong that was! As many of you know the winter market at the Barns is lush with all sorts of stored produce, like sprouts and greens and other farm items like honey, cheese, jam, and preserves.
Another thing that’s really changed is how old our farmers are. While some of us are 10 years older, the average farmer is getting younger. About 10 years ago, the average farmer was 61 years old. I hope that’s a sign that more and more young people are taking up farming because they are realizing it’s a really good, healthy way to live.
Now what’s stayed the same, is the amount of work that goes into every market. Every week there are people planting, working tractors in the rain, weeding, taking care of animals, measuring, weighing, washing, packing and lifting so many heavy things to ensure delicious food gets to our plates. There’s so much work that goes into producing food, and so many ads out there to direct us to only think of food cheaply. Cheap food is plentiful and does little to feed our health or help the planet. That is why I am grateful that our market is still a place you can go, where you know people are doing their best to ensure that the vendors are really who they say they are, and that the food comes to you with dignity and care. Cookie Roscoe, the Market Manager, said it best. She said, “There’s a pessimist in me that keeps expecting me to fall out of love with food, but it hasn’t happened yet, I just keep falling in love over and over again.”
So a big thanks to all the special people who have supported the Market in so many different ways and have created a vibrant, warm and bustling space for all. This market is a gem in our community thanks to Cookie, the farmers, the vendors, and the shoppers!
I invite you all to join me as I ring the bell on November 25 at 8 am in celebration of the Barns Market’s 10th anniversary! Find details about this and other upcoming events here.