by Stephen Dafoe

It’s been a tough summer for the Morinville Farmers’ Market with less than anticipated customers snapping up local produce and products.

Farmers’ Market Manager Korien Sampson said a late season time change gave an initial bump but did not generate the traffic the market anticipated.

“This year was an extremely slow year for the Farmers’ Market overall,” Sampson said. “We did the drastic time change because our biggest vendors were doing that poorly.”

Sampson went on to say a little social media push from one of the vendors when the market changed its hours to 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. helped initially, but the boost was short-lived.

“Our first few weeks with the new hours brought our customer attendance numbers back up to our normal 300 to 400 customers,” Sampson said. “However, for the entire month of September, the market was dead. We had less than 100 customers come out for the last outdoor market [for the] season.”

It is a situation Sampson finds is discouraging to the vendors who spend days prepping for the weekly market.

With the outdoor market done for another season, she is not sure whether to lay the cause of the poor showing with the weather, the economy, or both.

“I do know that one vendor who had record sales in August also had the poorest sales in five years for the month of September. If the customers don’t use the Farmers Market it will cease to exist,” Sampson said, noting promoting the market is something the market and the vendors regularly do. “Most vendors will post where they are if they’re on Facebook. A lot of them rely on the market to promote the market as a whole, which we do.”

Despite a dismal end to the outdoor market, Sampson is hoping to see an increase this fall and winter.

The indoor market starts Friday, Oct. 7 from 3 to 7 p.m. at the arena and will run every Friday, except Nov. 25th. That week, the market will take place during the Farmers’ Market Christmas Craft Fair, held Nov. 26. The market also does not run the two Fridays of Christmas and New Year’s.

Sampson is encouraging people to come out starting Oct. 7.

“We have 17 vendors booked in to start this week, including fruit and a limited amount of veggies and three brand new vendors that have never been at the Morinville Farmers Market,” she said. “The vendors are quite excited to participate in the indoor market. We just need the customers to come and support it.”

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