Market spirit thrives in Sooke

Sooke Country Market seeks more vendors for weekiy market

Joan Hanneson displaying her organic produce at the first Sooke Country Market in 1995.

Sooke has a few imaginative and determined souls to thank for the establishment of the Sooke Country Market.

As the market prepares to celebrate its 21st season, two Sooke seniors, Carol Harding and Joan Hanneson, shared their collective memories with me over tea at the Reading Room.

A small group of local growers began meeting in each other’s living rooms in 1995.

Intrigued by the success of the Moss Street Market in Victoria they began to explore the possibility of developing a local market in Sooke. Organizers and dreamers is how Hanneson described this merry band.

Mary Alice Johnson, owner of ALM Organic Farm and Full Circle Seeds, was involved in the development of the Moss Street Market and provided advice and assistance to the Sooke group.

In 1995, the Sooke Country Market was incorporated as a non-profit society. Holger Busch, Kim and Norm Collins, Bernadette Huys, Marty Smith and Laura Stockridge, along with Hanneson, made up the first board of directors.

Busch developed the market logo and he and his partner Susa created the country market banner, which still guides folks to the market every Saturday during market season.

The first Sooke Country Market was located in the front yard at Mugford House, the stately, historic house behind the Chevron Station on Church and Sooke Road.

From 1996 to 1999, the market flourished on the Sooke elementary school grounds.

“This was a very successful place and I remember it as a booming market,” said Hanneson.

During this time, vendor membership increased to 25. Although local produce and plants were the main features, honey, bread, chocolates, jams, knitted crafts and art were also offered for sale.  Special activities, such as prize draws, clowns, Zucchini Day and the occasional musician kept the market spirit fresh and lively.

The market also became a popular gathering place where people met to visit in a relaxed, family atmosphere. The board met almost every month and had potlucks to celebrate the beginning and ending of the market season.When Sooke Elementary began using its green space and parking area on Saturdays, the market moved to Edward Milne Community School for one season, but the location was not appropriate for a market.  Then when another senior, Martha Moore, suggested the empty lot next to the Sooke New and Used as a possible site – the market had found a home.

Through the market’s evolution, the “make it, bake it, grow it” theme continues to attract keen and hardworking vendors and “buy local” supporters.

The market also provides a valuable economic contribution to our community and a family friendly meeting place for committed citizens to chat about how to change the world.

The Sooke Country Market season starts May 7 and is accepting new vendors.  For information and application process, sookecountrymarket.com.

•••

 

Sheila Wallace writes for the Sooke Country Market.

 

 

Just Posted

CRD commission votes against alternate Malahat route through watershed

Commission voted unanimously after several speakers at meeting

Geography among factors behind Saanich’s place on worst intersection list

Site of McKenzie Interchange Project ranks as worst intersection on Vancouver Island

Victoria Police looking for rightful owner of abandoned toolbox

VicPD found a toolbox full of tools on the side of a downtown Victoria street

Live like a tourist but save like a local this weekend in Greater Victoria

Be A Tourist in Your Own Hometown event is back Feb. 22 to 24 and March 1 to 3

Wife remembers B.C. man killed in possible case of mistaken identity

Rex Gill was in Kamloops working to support his family after oilfield job dried up

Early morning shooting in Courtenay

Reporter at taped-off scene outside apartment complex

One dead, two seriously injured in Hwy 4 crash west of Port Alberni

A man has died following a single-vehicle collision west of Port Alberni… Continue reading

New report calls for regulated heroin sales to curb B.C.’s overdose problem

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Millennial men least likely to have a family doctor: Statistics Canada

Report found more women have primary care physicians, compared with men

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

70% of Canadians agree with mandatory vaccines for children: poll

The debate for pro and anti vaccinations has heated up after a measles outbreak in Vancouver

Vancouver Island petition to decriminalize all drugs continues to collect signatures

A Courtenay couple is collecting signatures for their petition to decriminalize drugs in Canada

Most Read