The Estevan's Farmers' Market will see its first Saturday indoor sales of 2021 inside the Estevan Market Mall.
New and familiar vendors will have their products in the same retail space as during the Christmas sales, with spring markets April 17, 24 and May 1, from 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Marilyn Simons, the manager of the farmers' market, said that if they so choose, the vendors can stay longer after 2 p.m.
"All the vendors are welcome to stay open as long as the mall is open. Because we say 2 o'clock, that doesn't mean that the market is shut down. People are still more than welcome to come in, shop and check it out, because there may be some vendors that are still able to stay longer," Simons said.
She added that they had 11 new vendors joining indoor sales this year.
The indoor sales will follow the same COVID-19 safety measures as they had over the Christmas season. They will have a designated entrance and exit and the number of people in the room at a time will be limited. People are also asked to wear masks and stay distanced.
"We do ask that people bring only one member per family. I know that's tough because a farmers' market is so geared towards families," Simons said, adding that if people see a line they shouldn't get discouraged as it goes quickly.
The best time to come is around 11 a.m., she said.
Prior to every sale, the farmers' market publishes a list of vendors participating on their Facebook page. Most of them have their own pages, where people can view and pre-order their products to ensure that they get what they want, no matter what time they come.
Starting May 8, the market will move outside and will be located at the Estevan Market Mall's parking lot. The times will be 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
"That worked well last year for vendors and customers, so we're continuing with that," Simons said.
At the time of the interview, they already had six new vendors joining the farmers' market family for the season, which brings the weekly average to 30, and the hope is that this number will keep growing. Simons said the interest is generally high this year, which is good for customers as it creates a broader variety.
This year’s indoor farmers' market will offer the community a variety of fashion, jewellery, Tupperware, homemade dog treats and other cat and dog products, music and artwork books, cookies, dream catchers, frozen berries, soups and perogies, bath bombs, custom gift baskets, wallets, handmade resin and clay jewellery, wood garden steaks, knitted dish clothes, jeans, candles, wax melts, handmade vintage baby items, quilting fabric and supplies, baking, frozen empanadas, fried bread, bannock and bannock dry mix, smudge kit and much more.
"Many different vendors and a variety of products. They'll definitely catch the eye of a customer looking for something for Mother's Day or just some spring treats for themselves or somebody else," Simons said.
The outdoor market participants will also have a variety of plants and fresh produce when the time comes.
The market also hopes to have food trucks joining them on the days of the sales, but unless COVID-19 restrictions change, people will still have to take their food to go.
Simons said that at some point the mall will be doing construction at the parking lot, and at that time vendors may be moved to a different spot of the parking area.
"If that is an issue, obviously we take safety at the utmost for us and for our customers, so we may be shuffled around in the parking lot a little bit to make sure that we are kept safe."
It's preferred that the vendors commit to the full season, however, Simons said that they always look for new members and will do their best to accommodate the needs of people willing to participate and also to keep the market profitable and full.
"We want to work with each vendor to make sure that they're happy and that we're happy. We would love anybody that's interested to give us an email shout-out because we are willing to fill some holes. If some of the current vendors can't make it, we would definitely try to fill in some spots."
If anyone is interested in joining the farmers' market, they can contact the manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"We're very excited to start the new year. We're very excited to be allowed to have new vendors on the inside. With COVID we are still taking safety at the utmost priority, but we know that this is what the customers want and we'll make sure that we have a full roster for them to come shop. And thank you to all the customers for shopping local, because without the customers, we wouldn't be able to exist," Simons said.