Organizers with the Goldstream Farmers Market are looking back on a successful season, which saw the return of some sense of normalcy.
Manager Jacqui Anderson said the extended season, which ended on Nov. 27, saw an average of 500 people at the Saturday market. She said those numbers combined with fewer COVID-19 restrictions than in 2020 meant the market felt like a return to form.
”I think it exceeded our expectations,” said Anderson. “We had our very loyal vendors, our customers came back and I think they all felt safe despite COVID. It was better than last season … simply because more restrictions were lifted.”
Each Saturday, more than 25 vendors set up in Langford’s Veterans’ Memorial Park offering everything from fresh produce, prepared food, crafts, clothes and more. Like last year, the market’s season was extended past its usual October end date to ensure residents were able to check out some locally made crafts during the holiday season.
Given how quickly public health guidance and restrictions can change during the pandemic, Anderson said the organizers felt it was important to extend their season once again as there was no guarantee dedicated Christmas craft shows would be allowed to open.
“I think a lot of people missed it last year because they didn’t attend,” she said of the market. “It is a social thing for a lot of people. It’s all about bringing the community together, which has been hard because of COVID.”
While this season may have felt closer to normal, Anderson said it was still a modified market, with COVID restrictions preventing live music from being a part of the experience. She said that likely meant the market didn’t quite bring in as many people and dollars as pre-pandemic seasons.
And while Anderson was unable to say what the season will mean for the non-profit organization’s finances, she said it is “running OK.”
Planning for the next market season starts in January, and Anderson said it is too early to offer any insight into what 2022 might bring for the market, especially as new COVID-19 variants continue to emerge.