The 13th Whistler Farmers’ Markets gets cooking Sunday, June 18 with new hands-on activities, including a guided-chef’s tour with an on-site cooking demonstration.
"The chef will guide people through the market picking up different ingredients and then cook something at the end of it," explained Nicole Ronayne, market manager.
"Using different produce, as well as dressings and preserves from the market, will come into play when cooking on site."
Ronayne hopes to get enough cooks interested to rotate the teachers every second week.
There will also be a new kids station for little ones to keep their hands busy. Kerry McLeod of the Whistler Kids’ Activity Book, will host a Kids’ Craft Area, engaging kids in inexpensive crafts to take home with them.
"There is more stuff to do and people are getting to learn something from the farmers, chefs and artists who are really passionate about what they do," Ronayne said.
These two new activities add to hours of browsing fun and live music entertainment showcased every Sunday in the Upper Village from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Oct. 8.
With anywhere from 60 to 80 market vendors involved, there is plenty to look at. Stalls stock everything from organic produce and seasonal berries to baked goods, preserves and breads, all from the Sea to Sky corridor. The market lives by the mandate "100 per cent, make, bake or grow."
The artisans add colour to the market with jewelry, hats, paintings, photography and scarves – basically anything your heart could ever desire, all within the equivalent of the walking distance of a city block.
Many markets set up in a parking lot. However, Whistler’s market is anything but regular. The site is picturesquely situated at the bottom of Blackcomb Mountain in the Upper Village, between the Fairmont Chateau Whistler and the Glacier Lodge.
"The beautiful location really makes ours unique," Ronayne said.
"There is a bit of a tradition with the market. It gives Whistler a little taste of the real world… I think what draws people is that personal aspect to it. Buying something from someone who grew or made it and they are right there. You get first-hand knowledge about that product and get to see the passion behind what they are creating."
Anyone who has braved the crowds on a sunny Sunday afternoon in July and August knows that shopping is only one component of the market. The market is also about socializing.
"It was created to involve locals, small businesses and artistsans and getting them together and then getting them to interact with the community at large," Ronayne said.
Shoppers no longer need to lug around those 15-pound bags of Pemberton potatoes. The market carries on with last year’s veggie valet, allowing shoppers to pick up their purchases from the roadside after all their shopping and fun and games are done rather than lugging heavy packages to the parking lots.
A market host, Steven McKegney, is a new addition this year. The Fairmont Chateau employee will help direct traffic as well as take photos of the food and craft celebration.
There are still ways to get involved in the market.
There are a few open spaces left for the community booth. Local non-profit groups can rent the space for the price of a market membership fee ($20). From the Whistler Writers Group’s used-books sales to Search and Rescue Fundraiser ticket sales, more and more community groups are signing on.
Market organizers are still looking for local musicians who will perform from noon to 3 p.m.
Ronayne thanks the Resort Municipality of Whistler for providing $3,500 from the Community Enrichment Program to purchase a much-needed hand-washing station at the market.
For more information, visit whistlerfarmersmarket.org or call 604-932-5998.
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