The Newmarket Farmers' Market is opening Saturday, May 6 for the 2023 season.
The weekly market has been a staple of downtown Newmarket since 1999, welcoming an average of 1,000 shoppers each Saturday and hosting more than 40 area vendors.
It overcame the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and has adapted over the years.
Katy Bennett, who is entering her third season as manager of the market, said it is like a family.
"You get to know each other over the years and then every Saturday, we look forward to seeing each other. We share ideas, we share suggestions," she said.
It started as an idea that might draw residents to Newmarket’s flagging Main Street in 1999, and it has become the largest farmers market in York Region.
Residents — many of whom live within walking distance and come with babies, children and dogs in tow — have come to rely on the downtown Saturday morning mainstay for fresh local vegetables, flowers and products like honey, as well as the chance to socialize.
For the vendors, Bennett said they are there for a shared purpose of selling their local goods and putting on this event for the community.
Bennett is a self-described famers' market junkie.
"If I were to move into a new town, one of the first things I'd be doing is looking at a farmers market," she said.
As popular as the market is, there are some residents who are not aware it exists, according to Bennett, and this year she and her team are working to get the word out there and attract even more customers.
This year will see a number of new vendors, including Wildridge Wagyu, a cattle farm in Innisfil, and many returning favourites.
Market customers will be able to visit booths from Crepes Etc., Strappy Lassy, Newmarket Group of Artists, Brooks Farms, Banjo Cider, CJ's Surf 'n' Turf, NB Bakery, Square Spoon, and RM83 Designs, among many others.
Mulberry's Oven will also be back with its iconic mascot, Mully, who is also a regular market favourite.
The opening of the market is just over one week away but Bennett said planning has been underway since January and there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes.
She also acknowledged there are a lot of volunteers, typically high school students working on their community volunteer hours, who help get everything set up and make sure the weekends run smoothly. She said she is excited to meet all the new student volunteers for this season.
The Newmarket Farmers' Market runs every Saturday from May to October at Riverwalk Commons on Doug Duncan Drive from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., beginning Saturday, May 6.