Market Hours Unchanged this Year Due to Christmas Holiday Schedule

Written by: Yvonne Van De Wiele-Cooper

Photography by: Dean Ellis

“Every day is almost like Christmas” at the Brantford Farmer’s Market according to Graham Beam.
“You come here to shop and it becomes an hour, an hour and a half of people greeting each other and chatting with their favourite vendors,” he said.

Beam had been in the food business for decades, spending the last several years operating a chocolate business.
Although he enjoyed the market experience, he was ready for a change and recently purchased “Feeders with a Purpose.”

The business features every type of wooden bird feeder, painted or unpainted along with bat houses, potato bins and other small wooden structures.

Along with crafts like Beam’s the market offers fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, cheeses, pastries and breads, much of it locally grown, sourced and created.

Market Manager Bruce Jacobson says vendors go the extra mile during the holiday season, offering things like turnip that’s conveniently pre-cut and bagged.

“People don’t like to cut up turnip,” he laughs.

Jacobson says he is given instructions by his wife each year to purchase some of the specialties on offer.

And the vendors are ready.

“They know I’m going to be asking and they’ll let me know when they first bring it in,” he said.

Jacobson says many folks also pre-order items to make sure they get exactly what they want.

That’s especially true at “The Turkey Shoppe.”

Owned and operated by the Oegema family of Talbotville in Elgin County, the stall has operated at the Brantford Market for eight years.

Annette Proctor who has worked for the company for 19 years says, she’s grateful to be a valued employee and proud of the product she sells.

She’s even taken up residence in Brantford.

Proctor says when the opportunity came up for a spot at the Brantford Market, she had a chance to move to the city, “so I could just fill that spot for them and it’s worked out great for both of us.”

“The Turkey Shoppe” is constantly creating new products and offers gourmet burgers, about a dozen flavours of turkey sausages, pre-seasoned “heat and slice” turkey breasts, chilies, meat loaf, shepherd’s pie and of course fresh and frozen whole turkeys.

Proctor says the “cook and slice” turkey roasts that come in two to 10 pound sizes, are the most popular this time of year.

“It makes Christmas a little more convenient, with a little less fuss,” she said.
And she advises anyone thinking about purchasing a bird or a roast for Christmas, to order a few weeks ahead of time.

Dan McCutcheon, A.K.A. “Dan the Mushroom Man” has been a Market fixture for 48 years.
He has a long list of mainly repeat customers like Maryanne, who buys for her family including her vegan daughter.

“It’s friendly,” she says of the Market’s shopping experience.

McCutcheon, who sells a variety of fresh produce including his signature mushrooms, says sales always increase at Christmas, by which time he’s down to the basics of mushrooms, potatoes, “gorgeous greens” and honey.

The decades spent manning the stall week after week has been a positive experience for McCutcheon.

“It’s paid huge dividends for myself,” he says.

There are many other vendors from in and around the area who enjoy the Brantford Market experience like, Edward Hunter of “Hunter’s Maple Bush” from Troy.

A recently added feature is the “kid’s table” featuring colouring materials and crayons for the young set.
Parents can leave children at the table under the watchful eye of surrounding vendors, as they go about their shopping.

The Brantford Farmer’s Market at 791 Icomm Drive in Brantford, is open every Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays, from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m.

This year, with Christmas falling on a Monday, hours will be unaffected.

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