The Pugwash Farmers’ Market got a financial boost recently from the federal government in support of the construction of three permanent kiosks. The market cooperative limited fundraised a portion of the total cost, and the Municipality of Cumberland County also provided funding. From left, Bill Casey, Member of Parliament for Cumberland-Colchester; Louise Haycocks, MC of the federal funding announcement; Jennifer Houghtaling, president of the Pugwash Farmers Market board of directors; Deputy Warden Joe van Vulpen; and Charlie Gould, chairman of the Village of Pugwash Commission. Submitted photo

Vendors and visitors to the Pugwash Farmers’ Market will be a little more sheltered this upcoming season when three permanent kiosks are constructed.

Jennifer Houghtaling, the president of the board of directors for the Pugwash Farmers Market Cooperative Limited, said landscaping has already started on the three structures.

“We’re just in the process of ordering the lumber and getting our building permit,” said Houghtaling. “The plan is to have them constructed for the first market, which is May 19.”
The kiosks have been in the works for the past three years after a discussion with their members.

“We’re right on the harbour and are mostly an outdoor market,” Houghtaling said. “We’d been using pop-up tents before, and every so often the wind will come along and lift the tents.”

There was a building available for use, however over the years it has deteriorated to the point where it hasn’t been useable.

The kiosks will give vendors more shelter from wind and other elements, and Houghtaling said the total project is about $117,000. The Government of Canada recently invested $59,000 to the project through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). The Municipality of Cumberland County has provided $38,616, and the market cooperative limited raised $20,000 over the past three years.

“The Village of Pugwash didn’t provide any funding, however they do provide the location for us. They’ve been very supportive,” noted Houghtaling.

With the market being seasonal, their number of vendors fluctuates, however Houghtaling said at the top of last year’s season, 45 vendors were on site.

“Most would be local, but we do have vendors from places such as Massachusetts and Ontario that summer here, so they are able to sell their items,” she said.

The three structures will feature two different sizes – one at 120 feet long, featuring 12 10×10 spaces, and the other two at 30 feet by 30 feet, with eight 10×10 spaces on the outside edges, and space in the centre for storage. Houghtaling said at maximum, about 35 vendors will be able to fit under the structures, depending on vendor size.

“The structures will be post and beam style, of local hemlock and tin covering. There will be a back wall – 120 feet long – that will help with the wind,” she said.

The farmers’ market was established in 2006. A study in 2013 by Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia noted the Pugwash market attracted nearly 1,400 visitors in a single day, spending a total of about $17,000 at the market and $19,000 more in local businesses.

In a press release issued with the announcement of the ACOA funding, Houghtaling is quoted as saying the project will give members a sense of pride and permanence, allowing them to focus on growing their businesses.

“I believe the benefits will spearhead another level of growth for the market and the community,” the release reads.

Houghtaling said projects such as this are the cornerstone to healthy communities, and that the market is a stepping stone for tourism, economy, and sustainability to grow.

“We are a gathering place of young entrepreneurs, new ideas and community engagement. It is a place to connect with others, which makes for stronger community spirit.”

The market is open from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday, from May 19 to Thanksgiving weekend.