New farmers market coming to Halifax

April 22, 2015

Farmers markets are the perfect solution for urbanites looking to get their hands on fresh local produce and for growers to sell the fruits – and vegetables – of their labour directly to buyers. Members of the farming industry in Nova Scotia will get a new opportunity to conduct business in Halifax with the opening of a weekly farmers market at the Halifax Forum, The Chronicle Herald reported.

Farmers Market 1The market at the Forum, which is scheduled to open every Saturday morning beginning the first weekend in May, will by no means be the only gig in town. The Nova Scotia capital city is also home to the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market on Marginal Road, which operates Tuesday through Sunday, and the Historic Farmers Market, held on Saturdays at Lower Water Street in Brewery Square.

Come May, Haligonians looking to buy fresh produce will have several different farmers markets to choose from: the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market, the Historic Farmers Market and the new market opening at the Halifax Forum.

A market for the market?

Given that these options are already available, some people might wonder whether another local venture will be able to attract the necessary traffic. Market operator John Sipos, a Maitland farmer who plans to sell his Shubie River Vineyards products at the Forum, is confident the new undertaking will be a success.

“Small farm operators are looking for more direct-to-consumer retail space in the Halifax area,” said Sipos, as quoted by the Herald. “[They] are looking to sell as much as possible directly to consumers, and this will be another option in the city.”

That said, Sipos does acknowledge the need to ramp up slowly.

“We’ll start small and grow it from there,” he told the media outlet. “Some farmers will want to see how we do before committing, and it may take a while to build up.”

Forum venture garners local support

The Halifax Forum Community Association seemed to agree with Sipos’ optimism, as its board of directors unanimously supported the Maitlander’s proposal. The high expectations for the market are no doubt bolstered by the fact that a Sunday flea market held at the same site attracts huge crowds, as Al Driscoll, general manager of The Forum, pointed out.

“Having a presence at the Forum won’t exclude people from selling their products elsewhere.”

Additionally, having a presence at the Forum won’t exclude people from selling their products at the city’s other markets. In fact, Sipos himself has sold his Shubie River Vineyards products at the Seaport market for years and stated that he plans to continue to do so after his own venture opens at the Forum.

But what about the ever-problematic issue of finding parking?

“There is lots of parking here, but the market will sometimes have to compete for that space with other events underway at the Forum,” Driscoll said.

However, Sipos believes the majority of visitors to the market will walk to The Forum from residential areas located nearby, so the approximately 140 parking spots available should be sufficient.

Local produce, crafts and prepared food on display

Market 2Farmers markets are traditionally associated with fresh produce,  such as locally grown fruits and vegetables, but Sipos expects the Forum’s 50 indoor vendor tables will also be staffed by craftspeople and prepared food specialists from the area as well.

Indeed, the Seaport market’s vendor listings feature artists, photographers, woodworkers, jewelers and makers of soaps and spa products, just to name a few, so chances are good that the Forum market will attract a similarly diverse range of vendors.

Halifax business news brought to you by the Halifax Partnership, the lead economic development organization for Halifax, Nova Scotia.