After living in Los Angeles for 12 years, Anne Janzen wanted to continue a Sunday morning ritual once she returned home.
The Vancouver native and current Surrey resident fell in love with the California organic farmers’ market culture while working as a chef, caterer and event planner.
She loved talking to farmers, the taste of organic produce, olive oil, fresh oven-baked bread, and the communal Sunday dinners that resulted – even though she was away from her family at the time.
Back in the Lower Mainland, she wanted more.
“What I wanted was somewhere to shop and get to know the neighbours,” she says.
Not just a place to buy food, but to browse, enjoy the smells of fresh-made fare, and mingle – and to really get a feel of what the farmers thought about what they were selling.
She searched for a location in the area for months, and one day in February, Janzen drove by an old red building on 84 Avenue in North Delta.
She had a “wow” moment.
The Firehall Centre for the Arts had character, space for vendors, and parking at the North Delta Recreation Centre.
All that was left to do was use her limitless energy throughout the spring to get things rolling.
On June 30, the Firehall Farmers’ Market opened for the first time, and now runs every second Sunday until Sept. 15.
By the second Sunday, the market was bustling, with lots of foot traffic and more than 20 vendors and artisans.
Janzen can hardly contain her excitement about the feel of the place.
“It feeds my soul.”
She’s done her best to bring in only farmers who are passionate about their organic products, and has taken tours of the farms to make sure things fit the nature of the market.
There are no wholesalers.
“If you’re selling it, you’re the one growing it,” she declares, adding she’s taken lessons to heart from the Surrey Urban Farmers’ Market, which she headed last year. (That market runs each Wednesday from June 12 to Oct. 9 from 1-6 p.m. at the North Surrey Recreation Centre).
“I can honestly stand behind everything that’s sold at the (Delta) market, and that feels good.”
The next Firehall Farmers’ Market events take place on Aug. 4 and 18, and Sept. 1 and 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Firehall Centre for the Arts, 11489 84 Ave. For more information, call 778-688-3663, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.facebook.com/FirehallFarmersMarket