Shorter season for Stanhope farmers’ market
By Chad Ingram
Published Jan. 25, 2018
The Haliburton County Farmers’ Market board intends to shorten the season for its market in Stanhope this summer.
Board chairman Jim Stanley and member Elaine Repath visited Algonquin Highlands councillors during their Jan. 18 meeting to talk about the market’s future.
One of three markets operated by the board, last year marked the first for a market in Stanhope. That market had previously been held in Carnarvon but, after the Highway 118 property that had been previously used became unavailable, it was relocated to township property behind the Stanhope Firefighters’ Community Hall along North Shore Road last year.
A consumer survey on the new market yielded 90 responses.
“Overall, people thought the market was a very good thing,” Stanley told councillors.
It showed that 60 per cent of attendees were seasonal residents, a higher percentage of seasonal residents than the Carnarvon market had yielded.
Of those customers, 63 per cent said they lived within a 15-kilometre radius, and 86 per cent attended on a weekly or biweekly basis.
Ninety-eight per cent of respondents indicated they’d return to the market.
Of the vendors who were at the Stanhope market last summer, 67 per cent indicated they would return; 22 per cent said they would not; and 11 per cent responded they were unsure.
The attendance at Stanhope was about 2,000 people fewer than it had been in Carnarvon the year prior.
About 11,400 customers attended the Stanhope market, versus about 13,300 at Carnarvon in 2016. While there were more vendors at Stanhope – 34 compared to 27 – reported earnings were way down; a collective $80,000 versus $180,000.
However, Stanley was careful to point out he didn’t believe all earnings had been accounted for.
“That’s not an accurate number,” he said.
The market board likes the location along North Shore Road and plans to host a market there again this summer.
“It’s a very nice location up here,” Stanley said, adding it was also safer than along Highway 118.
While the market last summer was held in a parking area near the tennis courts, Repath said water pooled there during rainy days. The board requested to set up vendors further back from the road, on the grassy area near the picnic pavilion.
While July and August were very busy, Stanley said attendance dropped significantly following the Labour Day weekend. This year, the plan is to begin June 22, with weekly markets taking place Fridays until the end of August. Stanley said there may also be a Thanksgiving market.
Councillors told Stanley and Repath the township would work with them on their requests.
“Council seems to be supportive,” said Mayor Carol Moffatt. “We want to keep you here, and people seem to like it.”
The board also operates farmers’ markets in Minden and Haliburton Village.