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Farmer’s Market has been a “gem” as vendors see rise in business during COVID times: Come out in your costumes this Saturday

October 29, 2020   ·   0 Comments

It wasn’t the best year for businesses, but for vendors at the Alliston BIA Farmers’ Market, this year was better than others.

“I did better this year, because I found people were more comfortable coming here than the grocery store,” said Stephanie Matthews, owner of My Grandma’s Farm.

The 32-year-old mother of four began this business as a hobby before purchasing it from her grandmother. In her third year at the market, she says her sales have “quadrupled.”

She’s seen a lot of new customers, plenty of new faces in the market than in years past. Patrons have been purchasing a lot of her jams and pickled-products to stock up for the Winter, when normally these would be purchased from grocery chains.

Matthews primary focus is on old recipes, such as wild violet jams, dandelion, and red and black currant jam.

She also accommodates customers who have special requests.  

“I’ve had more people requesting stuff their grandmothers used to make.”

She’s made a raspberry jam for one customer and pickled crab apple for another. She has also sold out of a recipe she made by mistake that people love.

“It happened completely by accident. It’s Raspberry-Jalapeno. I accidently spilt the jalapenos into the raspberry and I thought, okay I’ll just make it. It turned out amazing. I’m sold out of it right now.”

In some cases, you get the best out of the unexpected and owner of Lovin Little Gems, Janita Robbins, can advocate for that. She learned something new this year and applied it to her business.

“I started drilling my own, whereas I had people drilling them before, about two months ago. That’s given me a range where I can have different stuff more so than before,” Robbins said.

She’s been collecting crystals and stones for 35 years and learning how to drill her own stones has been extremely beneficial. She also surprised herself to learn, people love stones as much as she does.

Robbins has gotten her hands-on special stones such as Labradorite, Agate, Rondonite and Dragon’s Blood.

“I’ve got stuff people don’t have,” Robbins said.

“One lady phoned me up and she says, ‘I’m sorry people have found you.’ Because, there’s not a lot of choice left.”

Her new selection has intrigued all the customers who purchase items from her. She will continue to sell out of her home for the Winter season.

This Halloween Saturday will be the final hoorah for the year. The market began with an average of 400 visitors per week at the beginning of the Summer and finished with an average of 587 visitors.

“It gave our community a chance to get out, meet in a safe environment and feel some normalcy,” said ABIA General Manager Linda Spurr.

This Saturday, the market encourages the community to come fully dressed in their Halloween costumes to celebrate.  

The market will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. It’s located at the corner of Centre Street and Victoria Street in downtown Alliston.

By Robert Belardi


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