First winter market crops up at Surrey City Hall

SURREY – Smells of organic patchouli soaps, fresh baked (gluten-free) goods and gourmet mac and cheese waft through the air at the Surrey Urban Farmers Market in the summer months. Shoppers pick through colourful, local fruits and veggies, perhaps putting a carton of free-range eggs in their basket while sipping on a sample of organic lemonade. From April to September, the city’s farmers market provides a veritable smorgasbord for the senses.


But why should that end during the cold months of winter?


Emily Atkinson, manager of Surrey Urban Farmers Market, doesn’t think it should.


That’s why she was at the inaugural winter farmers market at Surrey’s City Hall atrium and plaza on Wednesday (Oct. 29), where dozens of vendors hawked their goods and kicked off a new season for the market.


"We wanted to do a winter market last year but it didn’t pan out because of location problems," Atkinson said.


The city’s new city hall, atrium and plaza recently wrapped up construction.


"For a couple years now, customers have been asking if the market continues in the


winter months," she said.


"We’ve had interest from vendors, so we’re really happy to be able to do it this year."


Atkinson, who began managing the Urban Farmers Market in April, said the event will take place every second Wednesday in the city hall atrium and plaza.


Those who forget to bring cash can purchase "market bucks" with their debit card and use them at vendors and food trucks as cash. The "bucks" never expire, so people can bring back their bucks for subsequent markets.


Some of the vendors at Wednesday’s winter kick off included Solodko, selling homemade, Ukrainian sweets; Russian Spoon, baking up savoury and sweet goods; and Marie’s guiltfree bakery, packaging up vegan treats. "It’s always an experiment in terms of where people set up but it’s worked well," Atkinson said.


In all, the market has a "good mix" of vendors. She said that roughly 10 vendors will be constant through the season, with another five to 10 rotating.


All food trucks will stay outside in the plaza, rain or shine.


"It’s great to support farmers throughout the winter as well," she noted.


"They’re still growing things so why not take advantage of getting fresh fruit and vegetables over the winter, too?"

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