Thirty-six years and running, the Ponoka Farmer’s Market celebrated the anniversary with free coffee and cake for shoppers Aug. 29.
Manager Donna Merrill stepped into the market 30 years ago. “It’s something that just grew on me.”
She started out with 18 hens selling eggs and then added baking to the mix. The hens are long since gone but Merrill’s cookies and cakes are still served every week. Director Rose Ryan said Merrill offers support to many of the vendors at the market. “She’s like our market mom.”
For Merrill the fun happens with the variety of sellers who come every Wednesday during the summer.
From bakers and woodcrafters, scrapbooking, jewelry makers and of course, fruits and vegetables.
“I enjoy meeting so many vendors from all over Alberta,” explained Merrill.
Some of the vendors such as the Ferrybank Colony have come to the market even before Merrill started.
She also meets many residents who make their way to the market. “I’ve been in Ponoka all my life and still maintain it’s the friendliest town.”
Not only can people come to buy hot peppers for canning, but it is also a meeting place for folks looking to get a cup of coffee and chat about the week’s events. The goal is to work on a bringing more people to the market.
“We’re right now trying to come up with idea to improve attraction to it,” said Merrill.
She would like to see younger families with children come to the market. Merrill herself has assistance from her children and husband setting up tables. “When it comes to the work it’s a family deal – my husband Bud always supports me.”
It does not take much to get a table either; $10 for a 4×8 foot table and $6 for a 2-1/4×6 foot table for $6. “As long as I know by Tuesday night so I can get set up for them.”
Selling produce for the Ferrybank Colony, Martha Wurz, feels their crops are better than last year. “The corn is just outrageous, perfect!”
The market runs Wednesdays from the first week in May until the end of September.