The 2022 summer market was the municipality’s first season of inviting farmers and vendors to hawk their wares, food stuffs and fresh produce from across the region. According to Ali Riel, economic development officer with the municipality, the public’s reception of the monthly event was better than expected.
“We started off with just shy of 35 vendors,” said Riel. “The first market out we probably had 100 to 200 through the market at that point in time. Now we are close to between 500 and 700 visitors throughout the day. This was a new adventure for us to try. So, we were quite happy with how it turned out.”
The success of the market assures its return next spring. The city is considering how it will scale the market given its popularity. Currently, the size of the parking lot at Jean-Marc Lalonde Arena is putting a cap on the number of vendors able to participate. Riel and organizers are considering new locations within Clarence-Rockland that would allow the market to expand further.
“We’ve already outgrown what we anticipated,” said Riel. “That’s the biggest challenge, which is a great challenge to have.”
In the next iteration of the market, Riel hopes they can have more fresh produce vendors participating. With all the food being produced in the region, getting more farmers involved is one way the city hopes to improve next year’s offerings.