The Sooke Country Market is slowly returning just in time to mark its 25th year.
Although no particular celebration is planned, market organizers are happy just to stay present in the community after the challenging past couple of months of the coronavirus pandemic.
In previous weeks, customers could only pick up their orders from individual farmers within a specific time frame.
Customers have been able to scroll through the Sooke Country Market website and choose products from a variety of local participating vendors. The website allows shoppers to communicate directly with each vendor to organize ordering, payment and pick up options.
Now, beginning June 6, the market will be hosted in person at its usual site in Sooke.
“It will not be a full market, but we are really excited to be taking the first step toward a normal market season for Sooke” said market manager Teresa Willman, adding she’s excited for farmers to connect with residents again.
“We had big plans for an anniversary celebration this year, but there is not going to be much of anything unfortunately. We are playing it by ear. If things are allowed to open up more, we would love to have a full market and more of a celebration.”
For now the market will only feature a few farmers, as other usual vendors such as crafts, home baking, and brewers are considered non-essential.
Having managed the market for about a decade, Willman said this has been the most challenging year she’s experienced. She said this was likely to be the last year the market would be held at the current site, and that they have been searching for a new place to hold it.
Willman is confident the market will prevail, regardless of challenges, as vendor participation is strong and the market is a staple in the Sooke community.
“It’s gone through many phases, some years having mainly crafters, or others mainly farmers. Some years there have been only a few vendors and it looked like a garage sale. But it’s grown, and it is really an achievement to pass through the community and keep it going for so long. It takes a lot of volunteers and a lot of effort,” said Willman.
“We have amazing vendors and supporters, and I think the market creates a solid community. It brings connection, and is a great outlet for people to showcase their talents in Sooke.”
As the market slowly transitions back to its usual form, customers will still be able to order online and pick up from the site at 9:30 a.m., before the market opens. The market will be held from from 10 a.m. to noon at Otter Point and Eustace roads.
“It will be a very well controlled situation, with safety protocols in place at the entrance and exit to the market” Willman, assures customers. “A limited number of people will be allowed into the market space and they will be reminded to stay 6 feet from each other and the farmers.”
For more information on the Sooke Country Market, please go online to www.sookecountrymarket.com.