‘I was so blown away’: Crowds turn out in record numbers to buy local at Island farmers market


Jerry Bodie and Bonnie Inglis took a leap of faith in themselves and their homemade Hornby Island Hot Sauce on the May long weekend.

They launched their new hot sauce at both Hornby and Cedar Farmers Markets after Bodie’s health dealt them a curveball a year ago.

“At 50 years of age, I got MS, and I couldn’t do the physical labour I was doing and thought how about making a hot sauce because no one on Hornby Island was making it,” Bodie, a Hornby Island resident, told CHEK News on Sunday.

“It’s kind of making your own way and hustling in the summer,” said Inglis, Bodie’s wife.

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The hot sauce hit the Cedar Farmers Market when attendance was at its hottest on record. The first market of 2024, on Mother’s Day, doubled previous attendance numbers from 2023, with 3,500 visitors, and set records for impact on the local economy.

“The economic impact on the local region was $200,000 just from that one day of sales,” said Kate Poirier, executive director of the Cedar Farmers Market.

According to Poirier, at first, she didn’t believe the numbers she tallied.

“I did it three times just to be sure because I was so blown away, and I know the math, I worked on the economic study for a year. But I spent about an hour looking at the results before it really sunk in. I think it’s absolutely astounding,” said Poirier, who is also a Nanaimo area farmer.

Courtesy of customers like 27-year-old Janelle McLeod, who told CHEK News she has made the market a weekly staple and plans to raise her family with a focus on supporting local.

“Yes, local. Local’s the way to go,” said McLeod.

“Last weekend was our biggest weekend ever,” said Isabelle Morris, a vendor with the Farmship Growers Cooperative.

“It’s great to see it staying in the community, which is where it needs to be,” said Tia Hill, co-owner of The Drift Meat & Seafood.

So, the Hornby Island couple plan to keep coming back to the Cedar Farmers Market with their Hornby Island hot sauce, which celebrates the place they’re from and their commitment to facing what life throws at them together.

Jerry Bodie and Bonnie Inglis are pictured.

Skye Ryan

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