Bouctouche Farmers' Market rises from the ashes
Brand new permanent building has a demonstration kitchen and market store
There's a flurry of activity as construction crews work to put the finishing touches on the new Bouctouche Farmers' Market in the heart of the downtown.
In July of 2015, the old market burned to the ground in a suspicious fire.
After a couple of years of planning and work, a new market will open on Saturday.
"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity and from tragedy comes new beginnings," said market director Rachelle Richard-Collette.
"This was really a catalyst. The fire in 2015 was devastating to the community, to the vendors. It really took a while to get everything going again, but it's a completely new project."
Richard-Collette said the new market is a permanent 9,300-square-foot building, which will feature about 30 vendors inside and 15 to 20 outside.
"A lot more permanent vendors, meat, fish, bakeries, augmenting what we had before. There's been a lot of interest, a lot of calls, new crafters and new people, even people from Miramichi are going to be at the Bouctouche market this summer," Richard-Collette said.
It also means more opportunities, like extending the season so that it will run from May to December.
Richard-Collette said there is also a new Christmas market in the works, and there are other possibilities.
The $2.5-million project also includes a demo kitchen, a market store called "Boutique of Flavours" and an outdoor stage which will feature music weekly.
Mike McFadden, the president of the farmers market committee, said recovering from the 2015 fire wasn't easy.
"It was a devastation at the time when it happened, but sometimes good things come out of things that are bad and we sort of rolled up our sleeves and went to work and put something up that's quite a bit better than what we had and I think people are going to be very happy with what they see when they come in at opening," McFadden said.
He said when he walks through the door on Saturday, he'll consider it a "mission accomplished."
There is also anticipation next door at the Kent-South Cultural Centre.
Daniel Castonguay is the director of the facility, which combines art, music and an educational kitchen. He said during the summer, the centre serves lunch every day and the menu is planned around local products.
He's looking forward to the new market.
"We change the menu every day depending on what I will find there, like I heard there's a fish booth — that's new so we'll have fish here, also," Castonguay said.
He's also happy with the people the market will attract.
"For us, every season when they have the market on Saturday morning, it's our busiest day of the week. It's the busiest moment and it's so fun that people go by there and they come for coffee here so it's an exchange and everybody's happy about that," he said.
Richard-Collette said the emphasis on local foods has been a goal.
"What inspired us is from the ashes rises the first slow food earth market in Canada and that vision has kept us going a bit and we want to be the rural model farmers market in Atlantic Canada," she said.
"We've worked hard we've done everything right."
The new market will open this Saturday at 9 Irving Blvd. from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.