By Kevin Werner, News Staff
Ancaster residents can now raise a toast to the success of their famers’ market this year.
The market, scheduled to open Wednesday, June 11, a week before Heritage Days, will be featuring three wineries this season, featuring VQA wines.
Karen Wilkins, an Ancaster Heritage Village BIA member who is overseeing the start-up of this season’s market after market manager Tyler Ferguson recently resigned, said they have confirmed that Vineland-based Tawse Winery will be one of the shops selling wine.
“We are extremely happy to have the three wineries,” said Wilkins. “We are looking to confirm the other two wineries soon.”
The Ancaster Farmers’ Market, marking its sixth season, is taking advantage of a new pilot program introduced by the Ontario government late last year that allows wineries to sell Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) wines at markets. VQA wines are made from Ontario-grown grapes.
The wineries are expected to put the finishing touches on a season that will have something for everyone’s tastes, said Wilkins.
The number of vendors has jumped from 30 to 36 and will feature such new businesses as Field Farms Limited, New Leaf Farm, Honest Fields Farm and Mortar and Pestal. Another interesting vendor is Goats in Motion will be offering goat products.
Wilkins said there will also be vendors selling hot sauces and dog-related products. Returning vendors include Bread Bar, Cranston Farms, Berry Fresh Farms, Scotscraig and Jerries Berries.
“This has been a stable market over the years,” said Wilkins. “Most of our vendors are returning. But we wanted to bring other vendors to fill in with goods that have not been represented in the past.”
During the 19 weeks the market will operate – Wednesdays from 3-7 p.m. – a variety of events will be held, including a pie-baking contest, cooking demonstrations, a kids tent educational corner, pickling and jam-making classes.
Cavallo Nero will return to provide meals made from vendors’ produce, such as Teals meats and Fenwood chicken.
At the end of the season, scheduled for Oct. 15, there will be a pumpkin-carving event for children. Throughout the season, said Wilkins, entertainment will also be provided, as customers stroll along the idyllic green space behind St. John’s Anglican Church at 272 Wilson St.
For opening day on June 11 the church will be offering strawberry short cake to the public.
“This is such a nice area,” said Wilkins. “I think that is what makes the market so successful. People can come here, it’s a nice area within the village core, and people have access to their local food producers.”
The market is also partnering with the Ancaster Village Church and Ancaster Community Services to assist the less fortunate in the community.
Rev. Aaron Gerrard, who is also a BIA member, said people who bring a grocery bag of non-perishable food items or toiletries will receive a $5 voucher that will be redeemable at all the vendors.
Gerrard said the ACS and church will be at the market each week to welcome the donations.
“I hope it makes a difference,” said Gerrard. “It’s something that nobody has done before. It’s a win-win.”
The church has a budget of about $5,000 for the imitative and Gerrard hopes it is used up during the season to show the project has been beneficial to the community.
“It’s a really nice opportunity to do something for people,” said Wilkins. “By donating goods, they will be helping ACS.”