Thursday, June 27, 2013

Victoria's Newest Farmer's Market at the Hudson

The Downtown Farmer's Market has moved its permanent home at the Hudson.  The market is organized by the Victoria Downtown Public Market and had been at Market Square over the winter.  It is going to be held at the Hudson every Wednesday from 11 am to 3 pm.

We visited it this week just around noon.   It was mildly busy but not busy enough to really make it worth being at.   People wanted farmers's markets but for a host of reasons the ones in the Victoria area are less than successful in my opinion.

In my work life I have worked with growers who sold at markets in the lower mainland.  I personally did an experiment to see what it takes to make a buck selling at a farmer's market by taking a stall there and selling a friend's produce.   I have a good idea of what a good busy market looks like and what the sort of scale of sales I would should be able to achieve.

Here is what I do not see at Victoria markets:

  • Crowds of people - a busy market has line ups at peak times at every produce vendor, not just at the ones selling food to eat
  • Large volumes of produce - I know what I took to Whistler every week and I have not seen anyone is this region come to a market with the volume I sold.   I was a very small vendor in Whistler.   The area behind my table and under it was loaded with produce at the start of the day.  I see very limited amounts in local markets here.
  • Buyers - people go to the markets as attractions and not as their place to shop.   People that show up just wander up and down the market but are loaded down with goods they have purchased.   During the peak time of 10 am to 2 pm at the Whistler market I would do about 200 to 250 transactions, close to one a minute.
  • Reasonable prices - in Whistler there was a premium people were willing to pay for good local produce, but not as wildly expensive as what produce costs in Victoria markets.   A head of lettuce should be $1.50 or so, not $3.00 as seems to be the Victoria market prices.

I would like to shop at a local farmer's market, but I need to know I can buy what I need when I go there and the prices would be reasonable.  At the moment this is simply not the case with this market.

 Here is a news report on the opening.
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