There’s two very good reason for celebrating for the management, volunteers, vendors and patrons of the Rimbey Farmers’ Market, and if everything goes as planned, the celebrations will last throughout the entire season.
The local organization was recently presented with the Rise and Shine Award from the Alberta Farmers’ Market Association for showing innovation in developing the market on the part of manager Gayle Rondeel.
“Actually, it’s for market manager/sponsor of the year. It’s in recognition of innovation and getting the public involved in the farmers market and basically growing your local market,” said Rondeel of the award. “We were at nine tables in 2007 and last year we were up to an average of 40 tables per market, so it’s done well. Actually, it makes me feel great. We have a really good board behind us and it’s not just myself, but a lot of hard work paid off for a lot of people.”
Not only is the provincial arm impressed with Rondeel’s work, but so is her boss.
“We’re very impressed and we’re impressed with Gayle getting all the new vendors,” added president Elaine Varty. “We’re also very happy that the people in Rimbey really support us.”
In addition to the award, the local market will also be celebrating their 30th consecutive year in operation.
“We’re planning some special events and hope to have an event at every market this year. Once the produce starts coming in towards the middle to end of July, I’d like to have an old time country picnic and barbeque-type of thing with some different local produce, meat, chicken, beef, elk, and there’s a lot of it around,” Rondeel said. “It’s to showcase what we have here and really, that’s what the farmers market is all about – showcasing entrepreneurs who want to start their own businesses.”
As for the market itself, Rondeel said patrons can expect to see much the same as last year in terms of vendors to ensure that each of them are able to turn a profit.
“If we had more customers, we could up the amount of vendors,” she said. “But the thing is you have to have the customer base so the vendors all do well because if they start doing poorly, then they won’t show up. We need a balance.”
Predominantly, Rondeel said the market’s customer base comes from throughout central Alberta but predominantly from Rimbey and areas to the north and west. As a result, the market will be focusing on attracting new customers from Gull Lake and areas to the south and east.
The first market of 2010 will be held on May 1 with the last scheduled for Oct. 9. The market also announced that they would be hosting two Christmas markets on Nov. 13 and Dec. 4 at the Rimbey Seniors Drop-In Centre, which will also serve as the market’s temporary home in the event of inclement weather.