What a beautiful autumn we’re having! Snapshots of the Penticton downtown market the first weekend of October. Around 10 am, and already about 20 C. Lovely sunny South Okanagan in British Columbia. Oh by the way–northern BC got about 18 cm of snow the same day, I’m told 🙂
Posts tagged ‘markets’
7 July 2012
Summer has finally arrived in the sunny South Okanagan. The thermometer is pushing well past 30 C every day, and the Penticton Saturday Downtown Market has become so popular that it now fills four full blocks! Check it out!
June 30, 2012
— or as some remarked rather cynically, “Junuary 30th!” What a day! One minute pouring rain, the next sun doing its best to pour through, rain battling back, sun peering out again. It seemed early in the day that it might be a “lost cause” market-wise, as the only folks on the street at Penticton’s downtown market were the vendors. But the amazing thing was that every time the rain let up for a moment, and the sun’s rays broke through, suddenly the street was flooded with customers, feet sloshing through the puddles even as they turned their faces happily upward toward the warmth of the sun. Then the rain would pour again, and they’d disappear – I assume it was a great day for the coffee shops along the street!
It was my first day at the market as a vendor. Fortunately for me, I was placed under an overhang — for shade! Well, it turned out I didn’t need much shading, but I was certainly grateful for the protection from the downpours.
Anyway, here are some snapshots of Penticton Downtown Market on the July Canada Day long weekend in Penticton in the sunny South Okanagan. Well, the mostly sunny South Okanagan, that is…
Oh, yes, the next day, Canada Day, started out the same. It was definitely an on-again, off-again morning, weather-wise. But the sun redeemed itself in the afternoon, and except for occasional splatters, the big birthday party in the park was a success I’m told. Happy 145th Canada!
As tourist numbers drop off with the arrival of autumn weather in Penticton, the Saturday downtown market starts to shrink. What was a full three blocks, overflowing onto side streets, during summer’s peak period, has dwindled to the 100 block of Main, and features mainly autumn fruits and vegetables, as most of the artisans have packed up for the season. Empty streetscapes and blowing fall leaves leave a slightly haunted feeling, as one almost senses the ghosts of busy markets past.
But most October market days the famous Penticton sun still shines, though its rays are at a lower angle, the skies are a paler shade of blue, and the shadows are longer and cooler. Booths that remain are still stocked high with healthy, organic produce, now with the amazingly bright colours and crunchy textures of autumn apples, squash, pumpkins and gourds … and a final few fresh tomatoes, as night temperatures have dipped to frosty levels and bid adieu to most of their compatriots.
Dried flowers and colourful sprigs of fall ivy replace bouquets of summer flowers. Root vegetables supplant spring and summer legumes, greens and cukes. A brilliant riot of drying hot peppers, along with numerous varieties of onions and garlics, promise delicious soups and stews in the cold months ahead. A great sunflower, loaded with ripe seeds, droops its heavy head in the chilly morning air. Sweet summer corn is long gone, but polka dot Indian corn on drying husks promises cozy winter nights, with popcorn popping in the fireplace.
The few remaining artisans booths offer cozy blankets and knit hats and mitts. Even most of the buskers are gone, though a remaining few, wrapped in scarves, bravely strum their guitars and play their fiddles with cold red fingers. The market itself is still crowded with enthusiastic customers – and their four-legged friends – but the majority of shoppers are locals, wrapped in fall sweaters, and stocking up for the snowy months ahead when the market will sit empty and silent, waiting patiently for the fresh new greens of spring to appear.
3 September 2011
One last sashay through the sea of colourful totes at the Penticton Farmers and Artisans Market! Today we feature wheeled contraptions and people power. Wagons, suitcases, wheeled grocery bags, granny carts, strollers, baskets on walkers and wheelchairs and bikes, pet strollers, bike trailers … commercially made or hand-made, you name it, you’ll find it at the Penticton Market, filled with fresh produce and with purchases of all kinds. And for those items that are just too large to fit into the tote you brought, or to beautiful to hide inside it, there’s always people power – tucked under your arm, or flung over your shoulder … though I’ve yet to see items perched on folks heads (unless it’s a new hat, of course) like those National Geographic pictures that intrigued me as a child and led to this series of posts 🙂
September 3, 2011
Our Penticton Saturday Farmers and Artisans Markets adventure in colour continues with a selection of purses, backpacks, and totes. Unlike their cousins, the disposable and reusable bags we’ve already admired, these carryalls are generally sturdier, more like those baskets we featured a few days ago. They also come in a wider variety of materials – leather and vinyl and canvas and more. They also feature pockets and zippers and other handy accoutrements, and many are hands-free with long over-the-shoulder straps or back-straps. Some feature decorative doo-dads, and others have key-chains and toys and other bright dangling decorations.
They are generally large enough to function as both pocketbooks and bags for carrying market purchases. How versatile! On the other hand, some are so small that one can only surmise that their owners are here just to window-shop or people-watch … or are hoping that the market merchants will have free disposable bags available for them to haul home the produce. Or perhaps, they’re here to actually purchase a new bag or basket. There are certainly enough market stalls featuring bags of all sorts that they’ll be able to find something uniquely suitable.
What kind of bag or basket or tote do you favour? Or do you have a whole collection of different kinds? And have you spotted your bag in our colourful series?
September 3, 2011
Aren’t they wonderful? Bright colours, sturdy fabric or plastic, or some combination thereof. Environmentally friendly, pretty much. Your choice of a variety of sizes. Straps that, unlike their disposable plastic cousins, don’t immediately dig into your flesh the moment a few things are placed in them. Washable. Great for over-sized Christmas stocking gifts from Santa (yes, indeed!). Fold down into neat little packages which you can easily stash under the car seat or in the trunk – and then forget to take into the store, so you end up purchasing a few more. Excellent for taking supplies to class, or for stashing away winter blankets and coats over the summer, or for using as recycle-reuse-reduce bins under the kitchen sink or in the mud-room.
Oh yes, and of course perfect for taking along to the Penticton Saturday Farmers and Artisans Markets, to bring home your fresh local produce and other purchases.
And best of all, they’re generally really inexpensive. Often just 99 cents or so – the price of just 20 or so of their disposable plastic cousins. What a deal! And in addition, you have the privilege of advertising your favorite stores as you use their bags. Hurrah for reusable store bags!
Hmmm… does it ever strike you as just as tad strange to use Safeway bags at the Wholesale store, and Walmart bags at Save-on-Foods, and Whole Foods Market bags at Home Hardware … and all of them at the Farmers Market?
3 September 2011
Yesterday we featured the myriad of wonderful baskets one sees at Penticton’s Saturday Farmers and Artisans Markets. Today we go on to something a tad less charming, but nonetheless still utilitarian, and popular with a certain gender.
Disposable plastic bags. The thin white ones from grocery stores, of course – which seem to be getting thinner every year, as the supermarkets and big box catch-all stores try to convince their customers to make the switch to their recyclable bags of fabric or heavy plastic or some combination thereof. We’re even getting charged for the disposable bags, and the price seems to keep rising as the thickness decreases to the point that anything heavier than lettuce or bread is sure to break the bag. Then there are the thicker, shinier ones, often in blues and blacks and reds and other shades. You’re more likely to acquire them – for free, generally – at clothing stores, specialty shops, and the more uppity department stores. Like their poorer mates, they are colorfully splashed with store advertising. Generally, you can trust them to hold a somewhat heavier load. And of course there are also the extra-large plastic disposable bags you’ll get at hardware and some department stores, perfect for bulky items, but unfortunately often too thin to carry much weight – an unfortunate conundrum, don’t you think?
Do you ever wonder when disposable plastic bags first appeared? Apparently they were invented by a Swede who took out a US patent in 1965 (although various forms of thicker, stronger plastic bags have been around since the 1930s). They were advertised as an environmentally friendly alternative for the sturdy paper grocer bags. No more forest destruction, polluting manufacturing processes, and loss of animal habitats. Hurrah for progress! And wouldn’t you know it? They ARE environmentally friendly! Well, sort of. Apparently 50 to 75 per cent of disposable plastic bags are reused – usually as garbage bags. And they’re popular, right? It’s estimated that between 500 billion and one trillion are used each year, worldwide. Which may be just a little scary, as one of your standard disposable plastic bags can take up to 1000 years to disintegrate (even though the thin ones take about 10 seconds to rip apart). They also gradually leak toxic chemicals into soil and water, and tend to choke any wildlife that get too curious about them.
Of course, with levys in some places, and outright bans in others, folks are starting to use disposable plastic bags less, with about 7% taken to recycling centers. Then there is some switch to fabric bags and baskets and such. Fortunately, manufacturers know how much we love our plastic bags, so they’ve created wonderful plastic garbage bags to replace our “recycled” disposable grocery bags – and these replacements are bigger and stronger and thicker. Yay! And stores are providing thick heavy-duty reusable plastic bags, or plastic-fabric combinations, and then of course stores are also encouraging us to buy plastic bins and other plastic containers and carriers as well. So it must be true: plastic is better!
But I digress. After all, we are focusing here on the totes folks use to bring home their fresh, organic produce, and natural, hand-made crafts and other artistic creations from Penticton’s Saturday markets. And I have to admit that over the past few seasons, I have noticed that fewer and fewer disposable plastic bags are being used. Most folks are bringing reusable bags, baskets, backpacks, and other sorts of totes. An ever-increasing number of merchants refuse to supply disposable plastic bags. Good for them! But some customers are still in love with their disposable plastic sacks. As I snapped these pictures, I did an informal poll and discovered an interesting fact: about 80 to 90 percent of disposable-plastic-bag-toting-customers are of the male gender! Perhaps disposable plastic bags are macho? Perhaps men don’t think to come prepared? Perhaps men are more concerned about jobs and the economy (after all, when Washington DC banned the bags, over 100 jobs were directly lost in the first year). Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps … Why do you think men love their disposable plastic bags so much?
3 September 2011
Every Saturday the Penticton Downtown Farmers and Artisans Markets are awash in beautiful, brilliant colours and textures. Of course, one can attribute that to the sunny summer landscapes of beautiful Penticton, or to the bright veggies and fruits and crafts, or to the multitude of residents and tourists alike clad in their fashionable summer attire.
But one thing we’ve really noticed recently is the beautiful, brilliant colours and textures of the vast array of totes folks bring with them to carry the bounty they purchase at the 3 blocks of market stalls. Therefore, for the next few posts, we are going to feature a series of collages of various sorts of these amazingly artistic utilitarian devices!
Today we feature baskets. When I was young, I loved to pore through old, old issues of National Geographic Magazine. One thing that truly caught my eye was the variety of amazing baskets, almost always handmade, that people all over the world used in their daily lives. In the garden gathering the harvest, slung over the backs of donkeys and llamas on narrow rugged mountain trails, held aloft perched on heads above perfectly postured backs, in small clay-floored homes filled with beautiful handmade blankets and traditional clothing, at the market overflowing with vegetables and fruit and berries.
But did I see baskets in our home or community? Rarely. There were small collections in museums. Sometimes a small basket with fancy little soaps in a guest bathroom. Occasionally a tattered old basket covered with cobwebs in the corner of an old barn or shed, mute evidence that baskets had once upon a time held a more honored role in our society.
In recent years, baskets have started to make a reappearance, generally as a design statement or decorative touch in homes and businesses. They’ve also become popular as a way to artistically present a gift – perhaps a couple of bottles of wine, or a bouquet of flowers. And more and more frequently, their utilitarian purposes are integrated with their beauty. Now it is common to find baskets of all descriptions organizing books, towels, toys, and more.
Best of all, baskets are making a comeback in the activities of our daily lives. As we realize the way modern progress has in many ways ill-affected our world, we are realizing the value of things we had tossed aside as old-fashioned. Thus, baskets once again lend their beauty and their utility in many ways. Bikes once again feature baskets, and folks carry baskets over their arm, as we park our cars and walk to the store or work or play. More and more we plant our own vegetables and flowers, and fill our baskets with the produce to bring it into the home. And of course, we carry our beautiful baskets to the local farmers and artisans markets to fill them with the bounty of our countryside and with the creations of our neighbours. Baskets have once again become an integral part of our homes and communities. Welcome back, baskets!
6 August 2011
During Peach Fest, the Penticton downtown markets were moved onto Martin Street, as Main Street was booked for the big Peach Fest parade. I was asked to man (woman!) the booth for Penticton Writers and Publishers group (and a couple of their projects: Raise A Reader and BC Youth Write Camp).
While I enjoyed the activities at the booth itself, I was delighted to find that we had been assigned a space in the PERFECT spot! We had shade almost all morning, AND we were right next to one of Penticton’s great coffeeshops, AND most wonderful of all, we were entertained the entire time by one of Penticton’s great young musicians, Kirk Dixon, on acoustic guitar, accompanied by his dad, Blake. Kirk has loved guitar since age 2, and really started focusing on playing it at about age 12. In 2006, he was given the top jazz player at the Capilano College Jazz Festival, and a year later won the Penticton Guitar Wars competition. In Grade 12 he became intrigued with new flamenco, and composed songs for his first CD, released in 2009. He has just released a second CD, this past June. At 19 years old, Kirk is enrolled in the Faculty of Science at UBC in Kelowna. (Learn more about Kirk here).
Our booth was originally directly in front of Kirk, and we were disappointed when Linda, the market manager, moved us a few feet to the north. But we soon realized her wisdom, as crowds of admirers stopped to watch the performance. Folks of all ages obviously loved the music, and we were treated to some pretty cool dance moves from young spectators as well. Kirk’s CD’s were flying off his table, and his guitar case was joining in the music, as tinkling coins quickly filled it.
If you missed Kirk, don’t despair. Be sure to attend the Sunshine Cabaret in Gyro Park on August 13 for an evening of free entertainment featuring Kirk and friends. Kirk also plays at the downtown market once a month. You can also check out his facebook page and enjoy some of his music on YouTube videos posted there.
Meanwhile, hope you enjoy these snapshots of the Kirk Dixon Duo and some of their fans!