Farm and Market looking to grow rural NL

Interested vendors gather for information session in Clarenville

Published on February 21, 2017

There was hardly any room for the multitude of interested vendors at the Clarenville Inn Monday, who were looking to learn more about Farm and Market Clarenville.

CLARENVILLE — When Keith Pardy, Farm and Market in Clarenville’s (FMIC) chairman of the board and owner of Clarenville Inn, first discussed the idea of a farmers market, it started as simply as a single carrot.

When he was talking to Steve Cardoulis, who runs the Stellar Kitchen, Cardoulis said his produce prices are very high.

Keith Pardy, chairman of the board of volunteers for the Farm and Market.
Jonathan Parsons/TC Media

“I picked up a carrot,” said Pardy, “I (asked), ‘Where does this carrot come from?’

“He said, ‘It comes from Brazil.’”

Pardy says, from there, they knew there was something to be done about making locally grown vegetables available to the public and to restaurants.

The initial plan was to use the site of FMIC as farmland itself. It grew into a farm and market system, which uses vendors to sell locally grown crops, in addition to crafts, and other food.

“This is probably the most exciting thing I’ve ever done in my life,” said Pardy.

There was hardly any room at the Clarenville Inn on Monday as the non-profit FMIC held its information session for vendors — a sign that must have been very encouraging.

For those who came out to hear about the details of FMIC, they were given intricately detailed information on policies and regulations for the farmers, craftspeople and food operators who may become vendors at the location.

Pardy says much of the guidelines were taken from the St. John’s Farmers Market, which was a great help in establishing FMIC thus far.

Karen Durfey of Ripple Trail Farm in Markland is one of the potential vendors who attended the session.

She sells at the Farmers Market in St. John’s and says this could mean another avenue for her to sell her crops.

“The more product that we can sell directly to the consumer, the better for our business,” said Durfey.

Ward George is another potential vendor who sells sea salt “straight from Trinity Bay.”

His business, Pure Sea Salt based out of New Harbour, represents some of variety, which could be seen at FMIC.

“I’m looking for a market to try and get to the tourist trade,” George told TC Media. “I think this could be a gateway down to the Bonavista Peninsula. It’s an ideal opportunity and location for me to expand production and get my product out there.”

Market manager Krista Chatman will handle much of the duties pertaining to the vendors and stressed the importance of community.

She also outlined the online registration process and answered questions on the market’s rules and guidelines.

“Together, we’ll make it work,” said Chatman.

The market is scheduled to open on June 24, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and continue every Saturday until Dec. 16.

FMIC vice-chairwoman Kathryn Small says they hope vendors have a better understanding of what to expect going forward.

Her and Lori Hann, of Ability Employment and chief financial officer for FMIC, told TC Media the session was the result of plenty of work, hammering out the details in preparation.

She was pleased with the large turnout.

“The real success for it is to have the vendors interested,” said Small. “So we wanted to generate some interest.”

And in the meantime, organizers are still looking for more volunteers and “entrepreneurial” people who could use their talents to provide unique goods and services at the market.

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Twitter: @jejparsons