History of the Wolfville Farmers' Market
The Wolfville Farmers' Market began in the summer when 3 vendors sold produce, plants, and prepared food in the parking lot beside the Robie Tufts Park.
The Market moved into the Robie Tufts Park, with vendors arranged under the Chimney Swifts Pavilion between Victoria Day and Thanksgiving.
Functioning as a Not-for-Profit Organization, the Market hired a summer student from Acadia to co-ordinate Saturday mornings, collect fees from a dozen regular vendors, and attract buskers to offer entertainment.
The first Vendors ventured back out from the shelter of the Robie Tufts Pavilion and set up canopies on the lawn.
There were 4 Fruit and Vegetable Producers, 2 Plant and Flower Sellers, 3 Bakers, 2 Meat Vendors, 3 Crafts People, 1 Person Selling Health Products, and the always popular Coffee Servers.
The Market Board was formed, and Kelly Marie was hired to Co-ordinate the 17 vendors. Working only 9 hours each week, she collected fees from the vendors, increased the presence of the market with signs and advertising, hired musicians to play on Saturdays, and nurtured the growing “vision” of the Wolfville Market.
A Strategic Planning Exercise was undertaken. The Market articulated its Vision, Goals,
and Core Values. One of these goals was the development of a permanent, year- round space.
During the late fall the Market was hosted in a barn in Lower Wolfville.
The Market found its new fall home at Acadia's Student Union Building and extended
the season until December.
2004 to 2006
The Wolfville Market attracts the attention (and attendance) of three Vegetable Vendors who also attend the Halifax Farmers' Market, increasing the variety and quantity of produce available as well as the Wolfville Market's capacity to host Prepared Food Vendors and Craftspeople.
The Market Board became a Policy Board, and the Coordinator became a
The first year-round season took place.
The first Tastes of the Valley was a delicious success. Co-ordinating this huge task was
shouldered by vendor volunteers.
To compliment and continue the excitement of Tastes of the Valley in July the market launched Pumpkin Palooza in October, and Get Un-Scrooged in December.
With an invitation from the Town of Kentville, the Wolfville Market and its vendors started a mid-week Kentville Market, which ran from early July through early October.
Monthly Events and Activities were held, in which vendors featured seasonal products,
customers were offered samples, children of all ages made crafts, and lucky entrants won market goodies. The Market inaugerated a Seedy Saturday event in March to celebrate gardening.
2007 to 2008
The Market Manager was joined by a staff team comprising a Website and Graphics Coordinator, an Events Coordinator, an Info Booth Coordinator, and a Videographer.
The Market started an Info Booth and a Video Profile Series.
An average of 50 vendors attended the market each Saturday, all year round.
From the Info Booth, a Tasting Series, Preserving the Harvest Demonstration Series were delivered and the Market offered frequent Children's Crafts and Activities.
Wolfville Farmers' Market was voted Best Farmers' Market in Kings County (Eastern Kings Chamber of Commerce Best of Kings Contest)
With support from Select Nova Scotia, the Buy Local Challenge supported market goers who set commitments for themselves to overcome their barriers to buying local.
March's Seedy Saturday featured workshops, seed catalogs and over a dozen seed related vendors.
Wine lovers flocked to the first Valley Vineyards in September to savor, sample, purchase, and win product from seven of the Annapolis Valley's wine and cider makers.
The Market grew to accommodate more than 60 vendors each Saturday.
Market signed a 20 year lease with Acadia University for the DeWolfe building to become the Market's new home.
Market managed a $825,000 renovation project to transform the gravity defying DeWolfe into its new Market home.
The Market started a $200,000 community fundraising campaign called Growing our Market which ended in January 2011 after raising 89% of their community fundraising goal. The Market also raised $525,000 from Government ($250, 000 from ACOA, $250,000 from the Dept of Agriculture, $25,000 from the Municipality of the County of Kings)
Pier 101 did the conceptual designs, ROSCOE construction managed the construction project and the renovation and expansion which began in November 2010 was ready on budget and on time in May 2011.
The Market opened in its new home on May 21, 2011 and in addition to the Saturday Market started a mid-day Market on June 1, 2011.
The Market also began renting out the Community Room which doubles as part of the market space on Market Days, and a community rental space the rest of the week. The Community Room has been used for yoga, belly dancing, meetings, workshops, special events and more.