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'Uplifting': Burnaby Farmers Market season returns with new opening hours

Get ready to experience the sights and sounds of a classic farmers market, opening this weekend in Burnaby.
The Burnaby Farmers Market is opening this May with earlier hours. Photo: Jennifer Gauthier

Get ready for the lively, convivial experience of a local farmers market, as the weather heats up and market season begins.

The Burnaby Farmers Market season opener – in partnership with the Burnaby Blooms festival – will be held Saturday, May 13 and Sunday, May 14 outside the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts by Deer Lake from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The season opener will include an art festival hosted by the city intertwined with the farmers market.

The farmers market will return to its regular location at Burnaby City Hall’s parking lot at 4949 Canada Way on Saturdays from May 20 to Oct. 28. The farmers market is returning to its original hours from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., opening an hour earlier than last year.

Last season was a thriving venture, Burnaby Farmers Market manager Jennifer Winning said, and this year the market hopes to build on that success.

She described the atmosphere of the farmers market as “uplifting.”

“There’s always something for the community to do,” she said, “whether it’s kids’ activations, kids’ crafts, whether there’s a community tent you can learn about a local organization, there’s always something to do at a farmers market.”

“If you just want to grab a bite to eat and sit and listen to the musicians … It’s just a really positive environment, and it’s really all about connecting the community.”

This year will host the second annual Kids’ Fest celebration and the second Vanity Fur event for dogs, along with a wide variety of local food trucks, vendors and community groups.

The dates of the events will be available on the market’s Instagram.

Burnaby Community Action Team will also be attending the farmers markets once a month to offer free Naloxone training and kits. Winning said last year many people came out to the market specifically for the trainings.

Winning said her favourite part of the market was learning the vendors’ stories of how they started their businesses.

“Whether it’s a product their grandmother used to make, and now they’re trying to bring it here from a different country – I think it’s really cool to learn where all of these ideas came from.”

Local business perspective

One Burnaby resident and business owner is a market favourite.

Natasha Acuba of Telly’s Manila Kitchen said she loved working with the Burnaby Farmers Market, where she started last year.

She sells adobo flakes, which Acuba described as a Filipino specialty that is “the love child between jerky and a pork floss.”

“It’s always cooked in celebration, so it was a special dish that my grandma and my mom would always serve,” Acuba said, adding “It’s a hot commodity during parties because it takes about six hours to make it for one batch.”

She makes it the way her mom taught her through video calls during the pandemic out of Burnaby-based commissary kitchen YVR Prep.

Acuba started at farmers markets in 2022, when she left her career at Sephora.

“The moment I got my business licence from the City of Burnaby, I started applying to all the farmers markets that I could – but I wanted it to be local as well,” she said. “I’m like, I’m going to shoot my shot and see how this works.”

She took advice from colleagues at YVR Prep and beyond.

“The first day of the market – it was amazing. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I want to do this over and over again’ – it was just so fun.”

Acuba compared the feeling of farmers markets to the bustling opening scene of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, where everyone is cheerful and lively.

She said the markets are a chance to connect with customers and show them her product firsthand. From Acuba’s start in farmers markets, she was able to get her products into local grocery stores.

“Most of the time, the connotation of a farmers market, it’s just going to be veggies and fruits, but no, there’s so much more. There’s so many vendors that are a part of it,” she said.

“It’s kind of like your one-stop shop to shop local.”

Burnaby Farmers Market Opener

When: Saturday, May 13 and Sunday, May 14 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Shadbolt Centre for the Arts/Deer Lake Park (6430 Deer Lake Ave.)
Cost: Free admission

Burnaby Farmers Market Regular Season

When: Saturdays from May 20 to Oct. 28 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: Burnaby City Hall parking lot (4949 Canada Way)
Cost: Free admission