Duncan’s downtown farmers’ market rebounds during COVID-19

CHEK
WatchDuncan's downtown farmers' market is booming right now as produce pours out of the fields in this wet growing season. As Skye Ryan reports, after months of slow sales crowds are also returning in big numbers as COVID-19 pandemic continues.

A Vancouver Island market was bustling with activity on Saturday.

The Duncan Farmer’s Market was busier than it has been in months, with 83 vendors set up and many of them selling out of merchandise.

“It’s just been non-stop,” said Barbara Moncrieff of Misty Ridge Coffee Roasting.

Demand for fresh produce coming out of the region’s gardens has been high and a bylaw officer was on hand to control the crowd size as people were lined up around the block to get in.

“Obviously people have had enough staying at home,” said Shani Farbout of Fat Chili Farm. “They want to go out more as well of course. And I think they want to support the vendors as well.”

“What it tells me is people are feeling safer I think,” adds Moncrieff.

CHEK News spoke to Barbara Moncrieff and her husband Dave back in late March, when COVID-19 really began to hit British Columbia. Back then, the Port Alberni couple was selling coffee from inside a self-made bubble.

Now the plastic is gone, along with most of the fear.

Among those who are feeling a bit safer is Terry Leporta, who told CHEK she was so excited to finally be out visiting her favourite vendor at the downtown Duncan market.

I love this place,” she said.

The Duncan woman has lung issues and had stayed at home since the outbreak of COVID-19.

“I haven’t been here in at least five months,” said Leporta.

Leporta says being back around crowds again for the first time in months has been an eye-opener and will take time to get used to. She also said with all the people around she will keep her mask and gloves on, and her guard up.

“I feel safer being with gloves and masks on,” said Leporta. “Because seeing how many people [are] not understanding how this is spreading is a little concerning.”

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