The Rossland Mountain Market is gearing up for a third year running, and market co-ordinator Rachael Roussin was visibly amped: “This is where it’s going to be at, the best market ever!”
Roussin has nailed down a set of excellent vendors, some new and some returning, and the door is wide open for Rosslanders who have something to sell, whether that’s food, art, crafts or clothing. The door is also open for buskers at the weekly market — musicians, actors, or anybody with “anything to share,” Roussin said.
The Rossland Mountain Market is coordinated by Rossland REAL Food to support local entrepreneurs selling their homemade and homegrown goods, but also strive to work with the local business community.
“We welcome their ideas and suggestions for the 2011 market season,” Roussin said.
Calling the market a “unique opportunity for Rosslanders to connect with local growers,” she said this year a couple of “solid veggie vendors” have committed to regular sales, both from within a 100 kilometre radius of Rossland — Mad Dog organic farm from just outside Castlegar, and Centre Road Farm out of Grand Forks.
“We really wanted to find some local farmers,” Roussin said. “We want them to profit and, hopefully having [just] these two, the town of Rossland can support them. It’s a long way to travel.”
Mad Dog organic farm is well-known among the region’s foodies as the farm owned and operated by Nette and Jeremy Lack, the force behind the Kootenay Local Agriculture Society. These diverse organic farmers produce everything from honey to carrots to eggs and are a wealth of information besides being a wealth of healthy food.
It turns out, however, that this is the first farmers’ market that Mad Dog has done.
“What really appeals to them about the Rossland market is the time,” Roussin said about the Thursday afternoon slot designed to appeal to outdoorsy Rosslanders who tend to be camping, climbing, or canoeing on any given weekend. It also appeals to the pair of farmers who do most of their work in the mornings.
Centre Road Farms is “not organic, but they do a lot of different things,” Roussin said, from berries to a lot of greenhouse produce.
Mobetta farms, the main veggie vendor last year, was unable to return.
“They had a really excellent experience last year, did really well, and said they loved Rossland,” Roussin said, “but they don’t have the produce this year.”
Other vendors will include Roussin herself, selling her clean and crunchy Happy Valley Greens, and Rebecca Gilhula’s cupcakes from the Sweet Dreams Cakery will likely still be sold out every week before the market even opens.
New vendors include a gentleman from Genelle who has been a baker his whole life and will be bringing his fresh Swiss bread to market.
Interested vendors should note that health and safety regulations for “low risk food” have been changed “so it’s actually easier for people to sell low risk food items legally at farmers’ markets,” Roussin explained.
Before, these items needed a “stamp of approval,” but now they don’t. A meeting with the health inspector has been set for June 15, 5 p.m., at the library, to help people navigate the line between low and high risk, and to prepare food safely and legally.
“This is an excellent opportunity to come talk one-on-one with the inspector and find out the rules and regs around selling prepared foods,” Roussin said. “Rossland Mountain Market wants to have a really good relationship with the health inspector and the city of Rossland.”
Prospective merchants should also note that Rosslanders receive a cut rate for market space, $5 instead of $8 for a four-by-four-foot table, and $10 instead of $15 for a tent. Merchants committed to the whole season of 14 weeks, from June 30 to Sept. 29, can receive one week free by opting for the annual rate.
Like last year, the market runs from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. every Thursday in downtown Rossland. Interested vendors should visit www.rosslandfood.com or contact Roussin at 362-5452.
Buskers of all kinds should call 521-2500 to reserve spots.