The Kootenay’s original farmers’ market is stronger than ever

Established in 1990, the Jaffray-Baynes Lake Farmers’ Market upgrades with the times

Treanne and Shaun See stand in front of a black and transparent sign that reads Jaffray-Baynes Lake Farmers’ Market. There is greenery in the background as well as a red barn with white doors.

Treanne and Shaun See, market managers for the Jaffray-Baynes Lake Farmers’ Market, are thrilled to host the historic market’s 32nd season. — Photo courtesy Treanne See

When the tiny community of Baynes Lake invited a few local farmers to share their wares in the former school yard in the spring of 1990, they didn’t intend on being a trendsetter. But that’s exactly what happened with the little market that could—the Jaffray-Baynes Lake Farmers’ Market is now the standard that other markets aspire to become.

Weekly farmers’ markets can be found in almost every community across the Kootenay’s, but the Jaffray-Baynes Lake Farmers’ Market was one of the first to do it—and do it well. Now in its 32nd year (The Market took a year off in 2020), the Jaffray-Baynes Lake Farmers’ Market is back with more gusto than ever. Just last year, the Market location was upgraded with some enhancements that were aided by a grant from the Columbia Basin Trust. One of the improvements included 25 trees (firs, elms, ashes and maples) that were planted on-site to create shade for vendors and make the Market feel more like a park. Guests can now take a break and visit at any of the 18 added picnic tables. Refurbishments included an aging double outhouse, as well as the shed and market stage where buskers perform.

An aerial shot of the Jaffray-Baynes Lake Farmers’ Market shows several rows of tents and vehicle venders forming a quarter-circle around a building and two intersecting roads.

The Jaffray-Baynes Lake Farmers’ Market is located at 468 Jaffray Baynes Lake Road and hosts over 100 full- and part-time vendors. — Photo courtesy Treanne See

Much of the continued success of the Jaffray-Baynes Lake Farmers’ Market can be attributed to Treanne and Shaun See, market managers who take pride in showing off the best of what the area has to offer.

“We work closely with the Baynes Lake Community Society, Friends of Lake Koocanusa and other non-profits to ensure the Market is sustainable, family-friendly and remains the amazing institution it is today,” Treanne said. “Our vendor family and community of patrons are truly amazing and make Saturdays the best day of our week.”

A step back into history

The Jaffray-Baynes Lake Farmers’ Market was established in 1990 by Doug and Doris Lyon. The Lyon’s brought their passion and experience from managing the popular Millarville Market in Alberta to the new market. Starting with just six vendors, it quickly grew to be one of the busiest markets in the Kootenays.

“We were thrilled when Doug and Doris approached us and we assumed market management for the summer of 2021,” said Treanne. “As far as we know, the Jaffray-Baynes Lake Farmers’ Market is the oldest independent farmers market in the East Kootenay.”

Trash barrels are brightly coloured red, green and yellow with images of leaves and butterflies. Artists stand in and around the barrels with smiling faces.

In an effort to add a splash of colour, the Jaffray-Baynes Lake Farmers’ Market hosted a spring painting day. Locals were invited to decorate the steel trash barrels in whimsical designs. — Photo courtesy Treanne See

Today, the Market boasts over 100 full- and part-time vendors and has become a fixture in the local community. Vendors include everything from local musicians, fruit and vegetable growers, handcrafted art and craft creators, small custom retailers, and food truckers.

“Our market is an all-around great way to start your Saturday off right,” Treanne said. “We have a huge variety of vendors, an amazing pancake breakfast hosted by the Baynes Lake Community Society, live music, a playground, a shaded park and a nice variety of food trucks. Folks can drop by and do some shopping, relax with a coffee, have breakfast and also enjoy live music before heading to the lake.”

The Jaffray-Baynes Lake Farmers’ Market operates one winter and twelve summer markets (open Saturdays 9-12:30 from June 17 to September 2), expanding access to nutritious food, providing opportunities for second incomes and attracting tourists from all over the Kootenays and beyond.

Kyle Born

Kyle Born is a writer for Kootenay Business and his initials match that of the magazine—it must be fate that brought them together. View all of Kyle Born’s articles

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