When we heard that first ever farmers market in BC started in Armstrong BC, we decided to
investigate. Armstrong, known for delicious cheese, fruit stands and farmlands galore, is indeed site to the first Farmers Market on record in our province. Here, we catch up with the lovely Cat Majors, President of the Armstrong Farmers’ Market, to get the 411.
BLEN: Cat, can you tell us a bit about how the Armstrong Market first began?
CM: The Armstrong Farmers’ Market began in 1973. It started thanks to a handful of concerned farmers who wanted to sell their produce to the local citizens while at the same time provide a livelihood for themselves from the fruits of their labours. Among the pioneers were the Jong family, Raymond Hitt of Valley Vista Farm, as well as Mildred Inglis and Margaret Andres. Amazingly, the Jong family and Raymond Hitt continue to provide their healthy local vegetables to the Armstrong Farmers’ Market to this day, carrying on the tradition of the small family farm as sustainable agriculture. Soon, more local crafters added to the mix, making the Armstrong Farmers’ Market the oldest continuously running market in BC!
BLEN: Do you think Armstrong has a culture that is especially supportive of eating local?
CM: I would say the secret of our success is that our customers are our neighbours, and they
really do care about the freshness and the taste of our local produce, as well as the importance
of being environmentally responsible. One can’t put a price on trust- or the exquisite flavour
and variety of heirloom fruits and vegetables that are grown in our area. The City of Armstrong is situated in the “Heart of Country” by its geographical location in the middle of the beautiful Township of Spallumcheen, the largest agricultural municipality in BC. Rolling farmland interwoven with country roads make the ambience spectacular in a magical storybook kind of a way. The air is filled with enchantment and the bluebirds of happiness actually do thrive here!
BLEN: Patriotism, we love it! And we do agree that Armstrong is a beautiful town. Can you tell us about a couple of your favourite local foods?
CM: The Armstrong Farmers’ Market is known for its fresh asparagus, which heralds the first
taste of springtime in late April. This is followed by a cornucopia of natures’ bounty including all of the lovely luscious greens, lettuces and baby carrots. Tomatoes and cherries and berries are celebrated in the third week of July with The Very Berry Cherry Fiesta, a colourful gala occasion which includes festive local musical entertainment.
Thanks Cat! And now we want to visit the Armstrong Farmers’ Market!