Rossland Mountain Market: Bringing Rossland's OCP to life

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
June 24th, 2010

In various pockets around town the ideas, visions and concepts developed over the past few years in the Visions to Actions process that created Rossland’s Strategic Sustainability Plan and our new Official Community Plan are coming to life. These initiatives stand to serve as the initial building blocks of creating the future Rossland outlined in the OCP.

This Canada Day, the Rossland Real Food group will launch Year Two of the re-branded Rossland Mountain Market in an effort to assist the town in building towards a green, healthy and vibrant local economy.

“We see this project as really aligning with some of the goals of the strategic sustainability plan for local economic and green development,” commented Rachel Roussain. “I see this as our new OCP really coming to life.”

Having got the market off the ground last summer and worked through the various challenges that faced the group–from figuring out a location, getting proper insurance and complying with health regulations, Year Two is starting from a significantly advanced position when compared with Year One.

The biggest difference, apart from the name change, is a strategic move to a new day of the week and new time. Earlier this year a commentary by this writer suggested a night market for the Golden City. That thought was simoultaneously running through others minds as well and  there has been growing support for the idea from various groups in town. While a full night market is still a little ways down the road, it is a target the Rossland REAL Food group has its sights set on.

“Eventually, we think this can become a really awesome and vibrant night market and we’re getting there,” explained Roussain. “These are the first steps to building something really amazing. One of the fantastic things is that the Rossland Chamber of Commerce, the City and the Rossland Telegraph have been working hard to really support us this year. It’s great to have the promotion and volunteer time to promote and grow the new market.”

This year the market, after kicking off on Canada Day, will take place on Thursdays between 3:00 and 7:00 PM in the same venue as last year: between Ross Vegas and the Credit Union. While traditionally farmers markets have held sway over the early Saturday morning time slot, the hope is that moving to a prime-time weekday position will attract more of a local crowd as well as vendors.

“A few people have come to us with a bit of skepticism and seem pretty steadfast that farmers’ markets should be on Saturdays,” added Roussain. “We’ve been telling them, though, that we’re trying to make this a locals’ market so we want to have it when most locals are already downtown shopping. We hope that maybe that’ll make more people be able to visit. Everybody knows that Rosslanders aren’t around town on the weekends. We’re a community that likes to go camping, go biking and go to the lake on the weekends.”

The early response has been excellent with more vendors phoning in inquiries and booking out tables. While the number of vendors will fluctuate from week to week, it’s expected at this stage, based on interest shown already, that there will be between 15 and 20 vendors each week. The market has also put out an invitation to any and all jugglers, musicians and entertainers to liven up the downtown block with buskers and bring even more life to the market.

There is plenty of space for more vendors, however, and the hope is that everyday Jane and Joe backyard gardeners, crafters, preservers, bakers or what have you will come out and participate. The market itself has been priced to entice non-professionals to put on their entrepreneurial hats and sell their wares, talents, and crafts. Toward that end, the market has positioned itself as the lowest-priced farmers’ market in the West Kootenay with small tables going for five dollars and large tables for ten dollars.

The group has also been working closely with Interior Health’s local inspector to not just make sure that items sold at the market are safe and healthy but to also assist anyone with a few cherries, apples, zucchinis or eggs to come out and give it a whirl.

There is an application process to go through in order to sell “high risk” items–basically all food items other than produce. While the application may appear daunting, Roussain noted that it is an easy process to go through and the REAL food group are here to support that along with the inspector. To assist in the process, the market is hosting a public information sessions with the health inspector on July 13th at the Rossland Public Library from 5:00 to 6:30 PM.

“The document looks scary, so we’re hoping that his information session will explain it all in plain English.” added Roussain. “The health inspector wants us to succeed and is willing to work with each individual vendor for whatever they need. It’s a good opportunity for any vendor who wants to sell prepared food to get any questions answered and get themselves ready to go for the market and to do it safely.”

The selling of eggs, which has been the center of some controversy this spring following the [ahem–ed.]cracking down by inspectors on retailers selling locally grown eggs will be one of the winners at the market as it is fully legal for egg producers to bring their eggs to the market and sell them. Finding excess egg supply in town may be difficult, however. A few egg producers have already been contacted to see if they would attend the market but they are already sold out over capacity. It seems Rosslanders love their farm-fresh eggs.

The REAL Food group is hoping Rosslanders will also love the new market and come out and support yet another of Rossland’s outstanding, wholly volunteer-run efforts for the betterment of our city.

“It’s a great way to build community, build the economy and do it in a healthy green manner,” concluded Roussain. “Why not buy local right? It’s a good building block for where Rossland hopes to and has to go in the future in developing more entrepreneurial local and green economies.”


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