In the summer, Farmer’s Markets are as much a staple in Victoria as fixed gear bicycles and mustaches. Now, every municipality hosts a Market Day, where droves of Birkenstock and Blundstone-shod feet pound the pavement as eager hands appraise produce with tentative squeezes. These markets are an essential slice of the city’s pie - connecting local farmers and artisans with urban populations, and business is booming! But then, the rains and winds come and the tents get packed away to return with the warmer weather. All except one: Moss Street.
In the early days, the Moss Street Market was no more than a few vendors with a handful of stands bearing the fruits of their labor, vying for the attention of the scattered shoppers, most of whom happened upon it by accident. And each Spring, the vendors would return, diligently set up their tents and tables and do it all again – and each year, more and more people would come to that little market ‘just up the road, near the castle’. Now, the Moss Street Market is a Victoria institution. So much so, that this little market runs year round bringing Victorians the best of what each season has to offer.
One of the market’s first vendors was Madoka Yasumura of Umi Nami Farms. The winning combination of Madoka’s passion and positivity has helped drive customers to the Umi Nami stall and they’ve kept coming back. “The questions (I get) are usually intelligent and well thought out and demand honest answers,” she says “Stallholders like it because they get appreciation for their efforts. It is amazing to watch how quickly the rapport is built up with their regular customers.” Vendors like Madoka who’ve been a part of Moss Street Market from the beginning are, perhaps – without knowing it – at the epicenter of something bigger; an entire ideological shift. Welcome to the Locavore Movement.
Today, everyone is thinking local. From the food we eat to the goods we buy, knowing its origin has become paramount. What better way to get information than going to the source and asking? Farmer’s Markets aren’t just quaint weekend affairs. They’re essential cogs in the sustainability movement. And this conscientiousness doesn’t end with the changing of the leaves. Victorians want to be able to access local goods year-round. Where else can you gain access to farmers, artisans and craftspeople in one location, ready and willing to answer your questions? Maybe queries about carrots don’t keep you up at night but if they did, the person with the answers is likely standing right in front of you.
This year, Moss Street will wrap up their regular outdoor market on October 31, ushering in the Winter Market, held every Saturday from 10am until noon in the Garry Oak Room at 1335 Thurlow Street. Here, you can still find local produce, crafts, food and entertainment – enough to sustain you until those white tents are set up outside again, welcoming Spring.