The Annapolis Royal Farmers and Traders Market opened its door May 18 for its 43rd season, and despite the overcast skies and sprinkles of rain, the people came.
The popular weekly event hosts more than one hundred vendors and draws in hundreds of shoppers into Nova Scotia’s smallest town each Saturday morning in a social and shopping experience that has become tradition.
Town Crier Peter Davies declared the market open at 10 a.m. and the local musical experience The 3 of THeM – with Theresa Porter on vocals -- performed throughout the morning.
Manager Corinne Warner said the usual vendors are back, but those who attend can expect to see some new faces manning tables of authentic Thai food, Amuse Artisan Catery, pressed glass, gluten-free baking, Primes Farm Meats, locally made chocolate bars, soaps, and Russian cakes.
She described the atmosphere as fun, friendly, and casual.
“The idea of the market was first envisioned in 1976 by a handful of local farmers with a surplus of crops -- due to declining sales at their farm roadside stands -- deciding to band together one Saturday morning, in a parking lot near town, with the goal of making their goods more accessible to the local community rather than asking the community to travel to each farm individually,” she said. “One farmer decided to also provide fresh coffee and from there the Annapolis Royal Farmers and Traders Market was born.”
Since then those who embrace the market each week can expect farm-fresh produce, fresh-baked breads and other baked goods, jams and jellies, locally produced beer, wine, spirits, locally roasted fair-trade coffee, an array of prepared foods to tempt your taste buds as you shop, fresh cut flowers and plants, handcrafted soaps and other personal body products.
And there’s pottery, wood working, and many other hand-made crafts, clothing – both vintage and original designs, bicycle repair, custom-made shoes, woodcarvings, jewellery, original artwork, and the list goes on, said Warner.
“We have vendors from Liverpool, Halifax, and from all across the Valley area,” she said. As for the customers, the Saturday morning outing is a big part of their weekly shopping – especially for groceries with tables heaped with in-season produce. Even market vendors do their shopping there.
The social atmosphere makes the market a spot for coffee and conversation and there’s plenty of ready-to-eat food and even complete meals.
“We have Dubravco's Sausages, D'Aubins barbecue sausages, Thai, sushi, Indian curry, artisan sandwiches, Syrian food -- something for everyone,” she said.
And then there’s the weekly entertainment.
“The music is the glue to our market, we book local performers who provide us with top quality entertainment,” Warner said. “You will usually see folks dancing and interacting with the musicians, its great.
The market runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays at Market Square across from King’s Theatre on St. George Street.
The Wednesday market starts on July 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and runs until Aug. 28.