You’ve heard us say we Make it, Bake it, Grow it – but what does that mean?
It means we believe in local so much that we stake our reputation on it.
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The Ontario Government defines “local” as Ontario-grown. Other markets may use specific kilometer definitions, so farms must be within 50 or 100 kms.
We define it as “West of Wawa and east of the Manitoba/Ontario border”, as Northern Ontario is large and a 100 km radius wouldn’t go very far up here!
However, the vast majority of our vendors are from within or just outside Thunder Bay (so Kakabeka Falls, Murillo, Nolalu).
How do you define local?
Do you allow produce resellers at the Market – vendors that don’t Grow?
All of our vegetable vendors are local farmers and market gardeners that grow their own produce. This is key for food security and for ensuring local is local. Produce is usually picked the day before – you can’t get fresher than that except from your own garden.
However, Belluz Farms also operates Superior Seasons, which brings in some produce that is not available in Thunder Bay, but is Ontario-grown by small to medium-sized producers who are growing sustainably and/or organically with a focus on flavour and food safety. If a product is locally available with any other vendor, Superior Seasons will not sell product brought in. Retailed products are clearly marked and displayed separately to Belluz Farms’ grown vegetables.
Could vendors be selling items they don’t Make or Bake?
Mostly no, but occasionally yes.
If a vendor wants to supplement their booth with a Retail item, they must apply for this and pay an extra fee. For retail items, we rarely approve anything from outside of our local region, so even our retail items are local.There are a few booths that have applied for and received permission to sell products that may be designed or curated locally but made elsewhere. There may also be a few examples where the product is simply not available locally and again, the vendor received permission to sell the product that is in line with their booth.
We trust our vendors to be honest about what they make and don’t make when they apply. We do our best to vet all applications and take infringements very seriously when they come to light.
Why is it better buying from the Market?
You can ask the people who make the food, baked the bread, picked the tomato, sewn the outfit or painted the item about how they’ve done it, what goes into it and why they are so passionate about it.
Buying direct also means no middle man is taking a cut, there are no shipping charges and you can see exactly what you are getting.
For every dollar spent at the Market, you are supporting someone’s family, their business, their livelihood. They in turn spend that money locally, perhaps creating more jobs as their business grows, and the Thunder Bay economy continues to grow and be strengthened. It’s win/win.