There’s a subtle irony in the fact that farmer’s markets are often found in neighbourhoods that are ‘on the move’ – that is, growing with a population that might shop at suburban superstores during the week, but whose affluent, educated residents seek out fresh produce, honey, meat and fish on the weekends. Granville Island Public Market revitalized housing in False Creek in the 80s, and New Westminster Quay did the same thing on the Fraser River in the early 90s.
Most farmers’ markets are considerably smaller in scale and exert powerful influence when it comes to consumer buying habits in any given neighbourhood. Major food trends like ‘buying local’, ‘organic’, ‘hundred mile diet,’ combined with micro-trends like re-useable shopping bags, bicycle parking, and even street musicians can add a special vibe to suburban streetscapes on the weekends.
For 31 years, the Poirier Street Market has introduced Coquitlam residents to a vast array of BC-grown produce. Staffed mostly by volunteers, the Market takes place at the Dogwood pavilion and runs from 9:00am until 1:00pm every Sunday.
There are farmers from as far away as the Okanagan Shuswap, crafters from Vancouver Island, prepared food specialists from the Fraser Valley and even breweries, cideries, distilleries and a winery.
Regular attendees look forward to annual events like the Halloween Spooktacular, Blueberry Pancake Breakfast and the Harvest Festival at Thanksgiving. From November through April, the market moves indoors to the Port Moody Rec Centre for the Port Moody Winter Market. There’s even a Christmas Fair in December. Food trucks and on-site vendors serve up nutritious, easy to handle breakfast and lunch fare.
Throughout the course of a year, the market averages over 50 vendors each week, with two to three thousand locals turning out to sample the fare. There can be a seasonal aspect to what’s available from one week to the next; the Market’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds are there to respond to public requests for the latest information.
The Coquitlam Farmers Market Society is a presence in the community in many other ways. Their board of directors, volunteers and staff are committed to broad policy initiatives which enhance access to nutritious foods throughout the Tri Cities region. The Society is in charge of an extensive community garden located just off and conducts an outreach program for local youth that illustrates the value of growing your own food—or buying locally.
Visit the Poirier Street Farmers Market website for more information.