Saturday, August 21, 2010

Blown away in North York

It is now mid-August.
We've been doing farmers' markets for 3 months already this season - another 2 months to go. Today was market #51 of the year.
Sure it's still fun - but we're all getting tired, weary even. Four markets a week to organize, plan, pick, pack, and prepare for. Loading, unloading, set up, take down ... good markets, poor markets, great markets! Driving - QEW, 407, 403, 401 ...
East York, North York, Georgetown, Grimsby... Coxwell, Yonge, Main, Ontario ...
Sometimes it can all become a blur.

And then there was this past Thursday - North York Farmers' Market - Mel Lastman Square - North York - just after 1:00pm.

Each market has it's own character, it's own personality, it's own atmosphere.
North York market is a city market right on Yonge Street a few blocks north of the 401. This makes it a noisy market - the constant traffic with all the accompanying horns, sirens, loud vehicles. There is a water fountain at the street and a concrete "ditch" flowing right through the middle of the market, with a waterfall at the end. Our customers are a good mix of office workers, local residents, and seniors from a nearby apartment. It's a small market with only a dozen vendors or so, but a good selection of quality products including fruit, vegetables, honey, cheese, soaps, fruit smoothies, baking, preserves, and meat.
Mel Lastman Square is a beautiful location with flowers, grass, water, trees and wind. The market seems to be in a wind tunnel - which brings us to this past Thursday.
It was shaping up to be a great market. We were on our way to selling out of almost everything. The lunch crowd was still thick when the breezes picked up. The breeze turned into a wind and strong gusts of wind. I put extra weights on our canopy and also tied it to the truck. It was not enough. With 1 hand we served customers and with the other we clung to our canopy. Baskets & containers started blowing. Several vendors had their canopies blow away, always a scary thing with so many people around. A couple of canopies were ruined but fortunately no one was injured. Then came the rain along with the wind. Some customers pitched in helping hold down the fort & running after blowing baskets. We began packing up and throwing stuff into the truck before it was all ruined by wind or rain. And then it was all over - the rain & wind - and the sun came out. Of course we were almost cleaned up and no customers were in sight. A quick end to a wild market - North York, never a dull moment!

Here are a few pictures of the market. (Keep in mind that we only have time to take pictures when there are no customers around at the start of the day).

-facing North York Civic Centre
-looking towards Yonge Street
-our market stall a few weeks ago
-in front of the civic centre looking up towards the market
-the sidewalk on Yonge Street

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