From farm to table: A day at the Revelstoke Local Food Initiative Farmers Market

The farmers market season is in full bloom. We checked in at the Revelstoke LFI market to find out more about local food producers and their offerings for 2021.

Jesse Johnston-Hill of First Light Farm. Photo: Bailey Gingras-Hamilton

This article first appeared in print in Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine’s July 2021 issue. Read the entire e-edition here:

Saying that the Revelstoke Local Food Initiative (LFI) Farmers Market happens rain or shine is an understatement. As wind rips through the field at Centennial Park, vendors secure their tents with weights and sandbags in a nonchalant fashion. No one bats an eye at the windstorm that reminded this southern Albertan of home. After all, it is just another day at the LFI Farmers Market.

Every Saturday, while most of us are still asleep, vendors wake up early to prepare their stand. They carefully place each item under the safety of their tent, protecting their hard work from the unpredictable Revelstoke weather. Whether it is fresh produce, baked goods, handcrafted accessories, or pre-made meals, everything is created locally with love.

The air fills with chatter, coffee, and a hint of herbs. People browse the market, filling their reusable tote bags as they go. However, this event is more than an opportunity to restock your fridge. A chorus of excited greetings rings through the air. Dogs eagerly sniff every new friend that walks by. Even if you are not buying anything, you feel welcome. The LFI Farmers Market is a place for connection in a COVID-conscious environment.

If you are curious about vending at the LFI Farmers Market, a new program is making the market more accessible to new sellers. Hatch and Hype is a new program launching in mid-July. According to Isabel Kessi, the LFI Market Manager, Hatch and Hype will provide new vendors with a tent, stall, and marketing tools. To stay updated on program announcements, check out the Revelstoke Local Food Initiative’s official website.

Q&A with our featured vendors at the LFI Farmers Market:

Jesse Johnston-Hill of First Light Farm. Photo: Bailey Gingras-Hamilton

First Light Farms

Q: How long have you been vending in Revelstoke for?

A: One year.

Q: What is the best part of vending at the farmers market?

A: How many locals go out of their way to make a small purchase from each grower!

Q: What are some challenges that are unique to vending at the farmers market?

A: We as vendors are all at the mercy of the weather, and our profits are directly influenced.

Q: Do you do something else in the winter?

A: Yes, we both work in the ski industry in the winter.

Q: If you could only recommend one product of yours to a customer, what would it be?

A: Our Monashee mustard greens.

Sara Stonehouse of Stonehouse Farm. Photo: Bailey Gingras-Hamilton

Stonehouse Farm

Q: How long have you been vending in Revelstoke for?

A: Two years.

Q: What is the best part of vending at the farmers market?

A: It is cool to see farmers expanding to meet the needs of the community, and creating new products.

Q: What are some challenges that are unique to vending at the farmers market?

A: We are very exposed to the elements at the present location. It is a challenge.

Q: Do you do something else in the winter?

A: I used to manage a Heliski Lodge in the winter. Now, I am raising two young boys.

Q: If you could only recommend one product of yours to a customer, what would it be?

A: Flowers!

Summit City Artisanal Foods. Photo: Bailey Gingras-Hamilton

Summit City Artisanal Foods

Q: How long have you been vending in Revelstoke for?

A: Two years.

Q: What is the best part of vending at the farmers market?

A: We love seeing the community celebrating the local growers and makers! Plus, all the dogs are a perk.

Q: What are some challenges that are unique to vending at the farmers market?

A: At Centennial Park, the setting will blow you away. Sometimes more literally. The wind is a pain!

Q: Do you do something else in the winter?

A: We only sell at markets during the summer. We both work other full-time jobs year round.

Q: If you could only recommend one product of yours to a customer, what would it be?

A: Canales de Monashee! You will not find anything like them anywhere else.

Kristina Metzlaff of Bird Tree Urban Farm. Photo: Bailey Gingras-Hamilton

Bird Tree Urban Farm

Q: How long have you been vending in Revelstoke for?

A: Since 2015, so about seven years.

Q: What is the best part of vending at the farmers market?

A: In general, all the people there are super interesting!

Q: What are some challenges that are unique to vending at the farmers market?

A: Variable weather is one. Meeting the demand, consistently and with high quality every week, is also challenging.

Q: Do you do something else in the winter?

A: I work in the winter as well, but ski guiding instead.

Q: If you could only recommend one product of yours to a customer, what would it be?

A: The market bouquet!

Kristina Geidt of Tum Tum Farms. Photo: Bailey Gingras-Hamilton

Tum Tum Farms

Q: How long have you been vending in Revelstoke for?

A: This is our first year at the market, but our third year farming.

Q: What is the best part of vending at the farmers market?

A: I’ve found and fallen in love with the gluten free bakery Alkeme. They have delicious sourdough!

Q: What are some challenges that are unique to vending at the farmers market?

A: Moving freezers and hundreds of pounds of frozen meat every week is about as much fun as it sounds.

Q: How do you maintain a sustainable business model year-round? Do you do something else in the winter?

A: Like all modern-day farmers, one of us has an off-farm job that pays the bills year round.

Q: If you could only recommend one product of yours to a customer, what would it be?

A: Anything pork. It is delicious.

The welcome sign at the entrance of the Local Food Initiative farmers market holds up against the wind and rain. Photo: Bailey Gingras-Hamilton
Bailey Gingras-Hamilton is a recent graduate of the Mount Royal University Journalism program, where she developed an interest in current events and social issues. As a chronically curious individual, she enjoys exploring new places, cuisines, and cultures.