By Jessica Duncan

There was quite a buzz on May 7, with the first James Bay Community Market of the season kicking off at the corner of Menzies and Superior. Many veteran vendors re-appeared with their tents and their wares as though winter had never been, and they were joined by some wonderful new vendors who, by the end of the day, were part of the family. The usually vacant lot was bustling with a crowd of market regulars and folk who just happened to be passing by. Visitors and vendors alike, had to agree, it was a grand start to the 2016 market season!

Market regulars were spotted rushing straight to long-time vendor Maria’s table and walking away with their arms full of glorious potted flowers. Others were obviously thrilled to be able to once again fill their bags with fresh produce from the overflowing tables at the Glanford Greenhouses tent. Suntrio, Wray Creek and a host of other farmers were back offering all organic produce alongside Boughneath Farms selling ethically raised beef. Favourite crafters also returned to sell their jewellery, soaps, tie dyes, artwork, etc. Shoppers were happy to discover new vendors scattered throughout the market. Sun Song Foods arrived with an array of Asian inspired sauces and dips. Bake My Day had a table heaving with sweet and savoury gluten-free baked goods. Those who are not bothered by gluten could indulge in delicious baked goods by new vendor Le Petit Chèvre, or freshly baked challah (Jewish egg bread) and French loaves on offer at the Singing Bowl Granola table.

Should the perfect weather continue, and even if it doesn’t (but it will!), you may want to consider making visits to the James Bay Market a Saturday tradition. Practically on your doorstep, you can find a wide assortment of fresh produce, beautiful flowers, mouth-watering treats, aromatic baked goods and fine crafts. Every Saturday from now till the last Saturday in September, you can enjoy doing your one-stop shopping while listening to the excellent sounds of some of Victoria’s most talented musicians. Of course, James Bay Community Market is not all about shopping. It’s a great place to grab a bite to eat (anything from Salt Spring sprout wraps to freshly made Cornish pasties), or a cup of Mile 0 coffee, find a seat and watch the performers. Sometimes, it’s just nice to mingle with your community.

And community is really what it’s all about. Right in the heart of James Bay, locals get the opportunity to gather with their neighbours and friends while supporting Victoria-based farmers, producers, musicians and artisans. Faces grow familiar and friendships are formed. Smiles and conversation are shared. Every market Saturday is a celebration of all that Victoria has to offer.

In this day and age when there is are worries about food being genetically modified, it feels good to head down to your local farmers’ market and meet the people who produced the contents of your (re-usable) bag. Not only are you supporting local producers, but you are doing your bit for the planet. It makes so much more sense to eat veggies that have traveled from Saanich than from Mexico. They taste better too!

Open 9am-3pm every Saturday, rain or shine. Plenty of parking, and easy access for strollers and walkers. Mark your calendars our sister Market the Breakwater opens June 19. We hope to see you at both Markets.