Nicky Cook and Kelly Yee set up their stand at Peninsula Country Market. (Black Press Media file photo)

Nicky Cook and Kelly Yee set up their stand at Peninsula Country Market. (Black Press Media file photo)

Peninsula farmers markets ready to welcome back patrons

Both the Peninsula Country Market and North Saanich Farm Market plan to expand offerings in the summer

Both of the peninsula’s farm markets have opened for business, with optimism in full swing as public health restrictions are relaxed throughout the summer.

The Peninsula Country Market at 1528 Stelly’s Cross Rd. is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays until Oct. 9, as well as 4 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays beginning July 7 until Aug. 25. The North Saanich Farm Market at 10990 West Saanich Rd. will be open 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays until Thanksgiving, with a plan to extend their hours as entertainment becomes an option.

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North Saanich Food for the Future president Susan McIntyre said COVID considerations are nearly identical to last year. “So in some ways, it was sort of like business as usual again,” she said. “We weren’t on as steep a learning curve beginning this season.”

Visitors are asked to arrive and remain masked, keep six feet from one another and only handle products they intend to purchase.

Although live music – a farm market staple – isn’t yet a presence at either market, McIntyre and Peninsula Country Market president Marlene Hamer said vendors are as numerous as any year; about 15 at the community hub of North Saanich Farm Market and around 60 at Peninsula Country, the Island’s longest-running market east of Metchosin.

Peninsula Country Market is also featuring several food trucks during their evening hours, Greek on the Street, Indecent Rosoto, Sassy Pie, 4-H Food Truck, Mama Rosie’s Filipino offerings and others.

The market presidents have some advice for those who only have time to visit one market this weekend. The Peninsula Country Market offers incredible variety across its several dozen stalls, said Hamer, which allows shoppers to make grocery or produce runs. They’ll also find leather, wood, pottery, wonderful jewelry and crafts, she said.

What the North Saanich Farm Market lacks in size it makes up for with charm, said McIntyre. “We often tell people that we have a really good vibe, and that our market is very charming. People are friendly,” she said. “We do have really good high-quality crafts, but our primary focus is to support local growers.”

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