Vendors grateful for warm weather

Vendors may have been stung by lousy weather to start the Red Deer Public Market season, but the last couple of months have been sweet.

Jaala Kristinson

Jaala Kristinson

Vendors may have been stung by lousy weather to start the Red Deer Public Market season, but the last couple of months have been sweet.

Bee-Right Natural Honey’s Mark Hobbs said even the bees weren’t impressed by the slow start to summer and production was down.

“Too much rain in the spring, and too much cold,” said Hobbs. “Bees won’t go out in the rain or the cold.”

Sales-wise, his 20th year at the downtown market has been a success.

“We’re continually growing,” he said, as a steady flow of browsers examined the myriad of different honeys he has for sale. Among the most popular are blue and blackberry honeys from hives in B.C. A wildflower honey, which is a dark variety from Rocky Mountain wildflowers and a number of different herbs, is another big seller.

Like everyone at the market on Saturday morning, he was grateful fall has not turned yet. In other years during the third week of September “I’ve been out here in the snow,” he said.

Calgary’s Kyle Chow is a newcomer to the market this year, and he’s already decided he will be coming back.

Chow owns a terrarium business called Plant through which he sells a variety of small plants carefully arranged in large glass bowls and other containers.

“It was really good,” he said of his first season. “There was great feedback. The sales were excellent. Everyone was really receptive to the product.”

Chow discovered his love for horticulture working in a garden centre when was younger. He has now turned his green thumb to the creation of what amounts to living works of art.

Red Deer’s market has a lot going for it, he said. “It’s such an approachable market. That’s why I like to come here.”

Jaala Kristinson, 13, came to the market not to sell, but to entertain, and do some serious fundraising.

All season long she has been treating the crowds to lilting melodies from her harp. In a case at her feet, she has been collecting pocket change from generous passersby. Her goal has been to save enough money to buy her own $2,500 harp.

And with the end of the market season only weeks away, she’s right on track. “It’s going really good,” said Kristinson, who was introduced to the harp by her violin teacher. She has only missed two or three Saturdays all year, when the family went camping, she said.

Dennis Moffat, who has been running the market for more than 40 years, noted it’s been a season of contrasts.

“We had a pretty good year, except for the nine withering bad days,” he said. “Since then, we’ve had nothing but glorious Saturdays.”

New vendors added some additional flavour this year. A pair of wine merchants set up shop for the first time and waffle and crepe makers also debuted their popular products.

— copyright Red Deer Advocate