photo by Carole Elliot


By Jessica Duncan

Make no bones about it  ̶  life here on the island is pretty pricey, getting more so every month. Unless you grow your own, there’s no getting food for cheap anymore. Even the supermarket flyer “deals” are, more often than not, substantially more expensive than last year’s prices. Today’s harsh reality is that if you want to eat, you’re going to have to spend a lot of cash. Knowing full well that buying groceries is going to lighten your pocketbook, you will definitely want to get the best value for your dollar, which you can find at your local farmers’ market.

As the cost of everything has been creeping up over the past few years, the quality and quantity of mass-produced products has been steadily dropping to keep profits up. Not so at the farmers’ market. Farmers, food producers, and artisans take pride in what they sell. They get to know their customers and friendships develop. Market vendors like to be accountable for their produce and wares. They know that their customers are looking for the highest quality products and they aim to consistently meet these expectations.

When you buy vegetables at the farmers’ market, you are getting the freshest produce that has traveled no further than from Saanich. You are getting seasonal produce. As you speak with the farmer, you can learn about the veggies you are purchasing, find out if they were sprayed, what crop is coming next, and which tomatoes are the sweetest. James Bay Community Market has been home to Glanford Greenhouses, Wray Creek Farm, Suntrio Organic Farm, Saanich Organics, Salt Spring Island Sprouts, and many other farmers for years. Locals have grown to trust these farmers to provide them with the finest, freshest, most nutrient-rich food money can buy.

We so often forget to put a value on the story behind our food, or soap, or jewelry, and yet, everything we buy has come from somewhere. Knowing where your food comes from, talking to the very people who grew, made, or baked it, makes it taste better, and increases its value tenfold.

When you buy food at the farmers’ market, you are not buying some mass-produced items that may have been sprayed, or traveled thousands of miles. You are buying food from friends who take pride in their farms and care about you, the customer. You are supporting your neighbours and contributing to your local economy. You are participating in your community.

The 2016 season for the James Bay Community Market is well under way now and is proving a hot destination for locals as well as tourists. Scattered in amongst all of your favourite, long-time vendors, are a wonderful collection of newcomers, such as Enerchi Kombucha, the Divine Sprout, and Cards by Jenni. Whether you are buying carrots or Kombucha, kale or a piece of handcrafted jewelry, the James Bay Community Market gives you the opportunity to get more bang for your buck.

Be sure to come down to the corner of Menzies and Superior every Saturday, 9am to 3 pm this summer. Enjoy some good conversations, great music, and the finest products money can buy.