Nelson’s famous Downtown Farmers’ Market opens for the season tomorrow.

The West Kootenay EcoSociety presents the weekly downtown market every Wednesday at the Hall Street Plaza and the 600 block of Baker Street. EcoSociety’s markets strive to connect local farmers and their fresh local produce to visitors and Nelson residents.

“The Downtown market is busy. It hosts over 60 vendors, including farmers selling produce from around the region and draws more people to Nelson’s downtown. It brings that vibrancy that only a farmers’ market can bring to part of downtown each week,” says Craig Mullin, EcoSociety’s markets coordinator.

This year’s Downtown Farmers’ Market includes many returning vendors that customers have come to know as well several new vendors that will add to the diversity of offerings. More than 20 of the vendors are farmers. Local singer/songwriter Earl Hamilton will be providing the musical entertainment for the first downtown market of the season.

The EcoSociety’s markets attract over 35,000 visitors each year, generate just under $1 million in revenue for the local vendors and an additional almost half-million dollars for other businesses in the city.

“A survey of visitors to Nelson a couple of years ago showed the high percentage of people who would stay an extra couple of days in the area just to attend one of the markets. That’s a huge economic impact for so many businesses in the community considering visitors would spend hundreds of dollars on accommodation, food and entertainment during those extra days,” Mullin adds.

EcoSociety’s farmers’ markets continue to connect low income people and seniors with healthy local produce through the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets coupon program. Last year, over $20,000 of local produce went to people in need and supported local farmers.

“We’re trying to make sure local food is even more available and accessible in Nelson to lower our collective environmental footprint and our carbon pollution, and support the local economy and build community,” says Mullin.

The Downtown Farmers’ Market is open 9:30 am until 3:00 pm and runs every Wednesday from June 12 to September 25.

The EcoSociety manages the markets in Nelson, including GardenFest, the Cottonwood Farmers’ Market on Saturdays, the Downtown Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays, and MarketFest night markets on July 26 and August 23.