After a couple years on the move, the Whistler Farmers’ Market (WFM) will return to its pre-pandemic home on the Upper Village stroll this summer.
In a release Friday, April 22, market organizers said the weekly Sunday markets will begin May 22 and end on Oct. 9. Market season will also include several Saturday dates on long weekends, including July 2, July 30, Sept. 3 and Oct. 8. Market hours will be finalized soon.
It’s been several years of upheaval for the bustling summer market. With COVID-19 upending plans in 2020, the board of directors voted against holding the market at its long-time venue at Blackcomb base, land leased by Whistler Blackcomb, as physical distancing protocols would have only permitted 17 vendors, a number the board felt wasn’t financially viable. The board had also applied to the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) to host the market in the day lots behind the Audain Art Museum, but was rejected, with the RMOW citing concerns, among others, around traffic flow and construction work in the area. Then, at the 11th hour, the board secured a home in front of the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre (SLCC), a location that also had limited space available compared to its usual home.
Last year the market went on the move again, this time to the Whistler Racket Club, the first time the market was held outside of the Upper Village.
“The WFM acknowledges and appreciates the support and partnership of the Whistler Racket Club and Beedie Living, for providing a successful location that was enjoyed by many vendors and customers in 2021,” the market said in the release.
The WFM has also seen some turnover in the manager’s role in recent years. Bree Eagles came on in 2020 just as the market was set for its late-season opening at the SLCC, taking over for Rosanne Clamp, who had joined the year prior just weeks before the market was set to begin. Clamp took on the role from long-time manager Chris Quinlan, who stepped down following the 2018 season after tensions arose on the WFM board and reports of in-fighting amongst members.
More than 100 new and returning vendors will rotate throughout the season, with roughly 60 vendors on tap each week. Featured will be a variety of hot and artisan foods, cold drinks, liquor, arts. crafts and farm vendors. For the full list of vendors, the release said to visit whistlerfarmersmarket.org/maps (although it's unclear if the list is up to date: the webpage still references the 2021 market. Pique has requested an interview with Eagles and will update this story when we hear back.)
Whistler Blackcomb has confirmed the return of the Family Adventure Zone at the base of Blackcomb, which offers a range of family-friendly activities and animation.
The WFM will again be partnering with the Whistler Community Services Society on program that are aimed at improving food security in town, including the Whistler Food Bank and the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program, which provides coupons to lower-income families, pregnant people, and seniors that can be used to purchase food from the market.