Farmer’s Market returns to Picton Town Hall grounds this Sunday

Picton Town Hall. (Jason Parks/Gazette staff)
“Downstairs was the meat-market on scrubbed tables…all kinds of freshly butchered meats: pork, beef, veal, mutton, lamb and poultry… smoked hams, bacon and great rounds of cheddar cheese. The upstairs tables were filled with rows of market baskets, lined with spotless towels…fat rolls of butter, colour varied with this eason and variety of breed of cattle.”
-Memories of the farmer’s market at the corner of Ross and King Streets from the early 1900’s as detailed in the pages of the Picton Gazette.

 

For the first time this century, the historic site of Picton’s busy farmer’s market will feature the hustle and bustle of people in search of fresh produce and goods and local producers eager to sell their wares.

On Sunday, Oct. 4 and Sunday, Oct. 11 on the original Market Lot site, the sounds and sites of a farmer’s market returns to Picton.

MP Walter Ross donated the land on which the Picton Town Hall sits today. (Submitted Photo)

“There’s lots of interest in holding a market  next to Picton Town Hall, on the land donated to the community in 1866 by Lt. Col. Walter Ross who was our MP at the time,” said Sarah Moran, Picton Town Hall Board of Management communications person. “It’s not surprising there’s enthusiasm for it; after all, farmers’ markets are fun to shop and offer excellent quality. They’re good for food security and good for local growers and makers. Businesses on Main St. too are looking forward to having a market close by because they know that farmers’ markets bring people into downtown.”

Best of all, farmers’ markets have always been great community gathering places. Going to market is a social outing as well as a trip for provisions. Because community benefit is at the heart of the vision for Picton Town Hall, the Board of Management is committed to organizing these two fall farmers’ markets.

“We are very excited to bring together County growers and makers at Picton Town Hall. Markets and gatherings are the two main purposes the land was bequeathed to the County in the first place,” Elis Ziegler, the chair of the Town Hall Management Board said.

The two fall farmers’ markets are from 10 a.m. to 4 pm on Sunday October 4th and 11th. There’ll be local growers, producers and artisans to buy from, with lots of goodies for Thanksgiving. There’s a chance to win a sampling of produce in a Picton Town Hall Farmer’s Market basket. Some community tables are setting up too. Free lantern-making kits can be picked up from the Department of Illumination stall and there’ll be information about Picton Town Hall and user groups at their stall. No community celebration would be complete without Mayor Steve Ferguson; he is going to be there to honour this historic occasion on October 4 at 11 a.m.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, looking after everyone’s health is top priority for the organizers. They’ve been careful to comply with all public health requirements and are approved to hold the market. Thanks to a solid group of volunteers, measures are in place to make shopping at the Picton Town Hall Farmers’ Market safe. It’s open air only, all COVID safety protocols will be in place, and a one-way system is being created around stalls set up at the required distance apart. Shoppers in the market area will be managed to a limited number at any one time. Lots of sanitiser will be available and everyone is asked to wear masks. 

There had been a plan for a season-long, not-for-profit Picton farmers’ market however the pandemic foiled that endeavour.

“These two fall markets celebrate our growing and making community and all their care and passion. These Fall farmers’ markets are also a demonstration of the work going on to return the Picton Town Hall to a thriving public space and to deliver on the vision the community imagines for it, truly a “Hall for All”,” Moran explained.  “Many user groups are keen to be back in the upstairs space.  As soon as COVID restrictions allow, the Board of Management wants to make this possible. Downstairs the hall continues to be used by Food Depot for food distribution every other Friday.”

Both the Board and the ROC are very optimistic about finalising terms that enable the ROC to take up the ground floor in the longer term as new premises for the Youth Outreach Centre, turning that into a busy and beneficial space again.

As Marilyn Taylor, Treasurer of the Picton Town Hall Board of Management put it, the board and volunteers are hard at it “repotting old roots for future growth.”

-Staff