Saint-Norbert market thrives despite COVID-19 changes – Winnipeg


A Manitoba farmer’s market has maintained its typically busy summer despite COVID-19 restrictions – and necessary changes to its operations.“It’s been different in many ways and it’s different… from week to week,” said Phil Veldhuis, St. Norbert Farmers’ Market Treasurer and Honey Producer.

“We have queues at the disinfection stations, we have drawn queues at the individual stands where we ask people to maintain a physical distance – for the most part people have been very good and really understanding. .

The large open-air space has allowed the market to let hundreds of people in and out when it is operating – although shoppers are encouraged to come in and out, rather than linger.

“The biggest difference is that we kind of went back to our main business being a food market – in previous years we were kind of a tourist destination, we had live music and a lot of social visits and hanging out. Veldhuis said. “We are now encouraging people to come and get your essentials and leave so there is room for more people.”

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One of Veldhuis’s concerns at the start of the season was to make sure the farmers knew the market would work, despite the restrictions.

“At first my fear was making sure the farmers knew we were going to be here and that we were going to run somehow, so that they would put their crop in the ground – the reason why we have corn on the cob now is someone at the start of May thought they would be able to sell it in August, ”Veldhuis said.

Organic farmer and small pasta maker Hermann Grauer, who was busy selling fresh eggs and dried pasta on Saturday, said demand for his product remained strong despite the economic downtown area caused by the COVID pandemic -19 – his and his wife’s operation, Nature’s Farm outside of Steinbach, sells its produce in Manitoba stores and ships out of the province in addition to selling directly to consumers at farmers’ markets.

Sometimes, he said, their concern was a lack of product rather than a lack of demand.

However, it lost contracts with hoteliers and fine dining restaurants in Winnipeg when the province closed at the start of the pandemic.

“Our economics was very manageable… There are difficulties there, of course, there are accounts that you will never collect,” he says.

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But greater was his concern for restaurants and hotels which had to close.

“These people had to shut down and our hearts go out to them because there is nothing wrong that these people have done – it affected us negatively, not only with the loss of activity, but also the loss of relationships. .

Vendors delighted with the return of the downtown Winnipeg Farmer’s Market

Vendors delighted with the return of the downtown Winnipeg Farmer’s Market

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