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Guelph Farmers' Markets

Trib file photo

The Guelph Farmers’ Market will run from 3-7 p.m. on Wednesdays between June 4 and Aug. 27, and the Downtown Guelph Business Association will operate an outdoor market in St. George’s Square on the same dates from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Two Wednesday farmers’ markets start in June

The happy sounds and sights of farmers’ markets in the downtown on Wednesdays is returning this summer – in stereo.
The Guelph Farmers’ Market will run from 3-7 p.m. on Wednesdays between June 4 and Aug. 27, and the Downtown Guelph Business Association will operate an outdoor market in St. George’s Square on the same dates from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
“We are trying to catch the lunch-time office crowd,” Marty Williams, the association’s executive director, said in an interview.
The two Wednesday markets will be “complementary,” he said. “We don’t do what they do at the Guelph Farmers’ Market,” which has the refrigeration and other equipment needed to sell things like meat and cheese.
The Guelph Farmers’ Market tested a Wednesday market in the summer of 2012. But it didn’t have one last summer when the market moved to Exhibition Arena to allow renovations to be done to the downtown market.  The Downtown Guelph Business Association filled the downtown gap last summer by starting a Wednesday market from 3-7 p.m. in St. George’s Square. This market ended up running until the end of October.
Since the end of January, there has been a “mini-market” inside Old Quebec Street from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays that included organic vegetable vendors, and they found those hours worked well, Williams said Friday.
“They discovered they got a good crowd over the lunch hour, so we thought let’s continue with that.”
An outdoor farmers’ market in the summer “just brings colour to the street and to St. George’s Square,” he said.
Because the Guelph Farmers’ Market has a waiting list, some people are shut out of it, Williams said, and people “can test being a vendor” at his association’s Wednesday market.
The downtown association will also continue an arrangement it had last summer with the Guelph-Wellington Business Enterprise Centre to have some young entrepreneurs use the association’s Wednesday market to try selling their products, he said.
The association’s Wednesday market will be in the square’s activity court, and it could “spill over” into the area in front of Old Quebec Street, he said.
In announcing Friday that a Wednesday afternoon market will resume at the Guelph Farmers’ Market, city hall said the eight-week pilot project of a Wednesday market in 2012 was considered a success by vendors and customers.
The Wednesday afternoon Guelph Farmers’ Market that starts this June 4 will be funded through revenues obtained by selling space to vendors, so it will have no impact on the city’s 2014 budget, says a staff report.
City staff “will closely monitor the weekly performance metrics” of the Wednesday afternoon market this summer, “including net operating loss/revenue, vendor participation and customer activity,” the report says.
“If the results are less than indicative of a successful market, staff will make a joint decision with the Guelph Farmers’ Market Vendor Executive on whether or not to continue,” it says.

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