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Des aliments locaux à Sussex - Une bonne nouvelle!

Le nouveau marché des fermiers de Sussex est florissant après sa première saison. En effet, bien que le marché soit ouvert depuis une saison seulement, l'auteure, Marcelle Thibodeau, a été impressionnée par le nombre des vendeurs et la variété de leurs produits.

Chaque semaine, environ 1000 personnes viennent au marché pour acheter les produits des quarante différents vendeurs. Et, la communauté s'implique avec les fermiers pour offrir leur soutien!

Et comme les produits vendus au marché des fermiers de Sussex doivent avoir été produits ou fabriqués localement, le marché contribue à renforcer l'économie locale et à réduire les kilomètres par aliment et les coûts environnementaux inhérents. Çà, c'est une bonne nouvelle!

Local Foods in Sussex - Great news! 

Marcelle Thibodeau
Nature Trust of New Brunswick
December 2007

he new Sussex Farmers Market is thriving after its first season. Now that's good news! Since May 2007 the market, situated in the centre of town next to the post office, has been opened each Friday from 1 to 8pm. Ever since it opened, I've been impressed with the number of vendors at the market and the variety of products they offer.

There are a number of bakeries offering breads, pastries, pies, and fudge and many farms offering in-season fruits and vegetables, maple products, chicken, beef, pork, eggs, seafood, even emu and wild boar. There are vendors offering a wide variety of jams and jellies. If you'd like hot prepared food you can choose from Jamaican, Thai, Chinese, or German cooking, samosas, beaver tails, pizza, and sausages. To wash it all down there's a homemade lemonade stand, and a tea and coffee stall.

(Photo: Marcelle Thibodeau)

If you're looking to buy gifts, you're in luck. There are knitted toques, mittens, socks; you can even buy alpaca wool to make your own! There are jewelry makers, a soap maker, painters, photographers, and wood carvers selling their creations.

"I like the variety at the Market. I can come here every Friday and get most of my groceries for the week," says Karen Neville, a resident of Lower Cove.

To top it all off, there's great music being played for you when you walk in the door.

The variety offered is remarkable for a market which has only been in operation for one season. Over the years, there have been various farmers' markets operating in Sussex, but when I moved here in 2006 the town didn't have its own farmers' market. I was surprised at this since the region is renowned as one of the most important agricultural sectors in New Brunswick and boasts some of the best agricultural soils in the province. There are more than 350 farms in the region producing a wide variety of agricultural products: dairy, beef, hog, poultry, vegetables, blueberries.

Things were soon to change in Sussex. I started seeing advertisements in the local paper seeking out board members for a new farmers market in Sussex. In the fall of 2006, a ten member board was formed and over the winter the members met to put together a business plan. The board asked for, and received, funding from the Town of Sussex and Fundy Enterprise to hire a consultant to conduct a study on the feasibility of a farmers market. The results were positive and by the May long weekend this year the market was ready to open.

(Photo: Marcelle Thibodeau)

I spoke with board member Jack Smith in mid-October and he said that the market is already far ahead of its projected number of vendors and projected revenue. Each week, approximately 1000 people from the immediate area and from Saint John, Rothesay, and Quispamsis come to the market. During the grand opening, over 1800 people passed through the market's doors.

The market has an average of forty vendors per week. Vendors change throughout the season - Mr. Smith said they currently have eighty vendors on their list, and each week they get calls from two or three more vendors who would like to participate in the market.

Community support is strong for the market. Each week, tickets are sold for door prizes supplied by local businesses; revenue from ticket sales helps to pay for the rental of the building. The Kings County Record, the local paper, publishes a weekly column highlighting a vendor. The Business Downtown Association has also been a great help, sharing their office and phone line.

(Photo: Marcelle Thibodeau)

"The market has a great community atmosphere," says Darlene Daigle of Quipamsis. "The vendors are friendly and always willing to talk to customers about their products."

Since items sold at the Sussex Farmers Market have to be either produced or made locally, the market is helping to strengthen the local economy and reduce environmental costs by having shorter food miles. It is estimated that these days our food travels between 4000 and 6500 kilometres before reaching our plates. This means that an average North American diet composed of imported ingredients can generate four times the greenhouse gas emissions in comparison to an equivalent diet composed of local ingredients. So, buying local not only helps the economy, it helps the environment too!

"Well I'm off to cook my supper now - wild boar steak, buttercup squash, turnip, and pickles. All from our local farmers here in the Sussex region. Sounds great to me!"