Nfld. & Labrador

The Clarenville Farm and Market is growing like a weed

An average of 1,500 people are turning out each Saturday for the Clarenville Farm and Market.

'It's somewhere people want to go,' says market manager Krista Chatman

Krista Chatman, the marketing director and general manager of the Clarenville Farm and Market, shows us the brand new raised growing beds and greenhouse at the facility. (Heather Barrett/CBC)

In just its second year, the Clarenville Farm and Market is growing, well, like a weed.  

"{Every Saturday] we have 1,500 [people] on average, we've had up to 1,800, we haven't gone below a thousand yet," says Krista Chatman, the marketing director and manager for the Clarenville Farm and Market.   

"Everyone's smiling, it's happy. It's somewhere people want to go."

Second year, big expansion 

The farm and market was the idea of Keith Pardy, the co-owner of the neighbouring Clarenville Inn.

It started last year with a large tent as vendor space.

This year, with $300,000 from the federal and provincial governments, plus private investment, the Clarenville Farm and Market has a brand new market building, a glass greenhouse, raised beds, and a functioning root cellar.  

The market

The market building at the Clarenville Farm and Market has an outdoor eating and entertainment area, and space inside for 30 vendors. (Heather Barrett/CBC)

The accessible market building has space for 30 vendors and a coffee shop, and an outdoor deck with picnic tables and a performance area.

"During the Saturday, every table is filled with local people selling with what they make, bake, create or invent themselves," said Chatman.

On the other days of the week, Chatman said the the building is available for community groups to use for projects and programming.

The farm

The Clarenville Farm and Market grows traditional Newfoundland root vegetables, but it's also branching out with offerings such as these jalapenos. (Heather Barrett/CBC)

"We start up the greenhouse in April, then we transplant the plants out to the growing beds, and then we grow more for the market in this space," said Chatman of the spacious glass greenhouse.

The greenhouse currently houses tomatoes, jalapenos, and a wide range of herbs and lettuces.

Outdoors, the series of raised beds holds lettuces and greens, root vegetables, squash, fennel, and even more exotic vegetables such as kohlrabi.

A row of small apple trees is planted around the perimeter.

Farm to table

When harvested, the produce is stored in the facility's brand new root cellar, built in partnership with the Town of Elliston, the self proclaimed "Root cellar capital of the world."

Produce from the Clarenville Farm and Market is stored in this brand new root cellar. (Heather Barrett/CBC)

As soon as the vegetables are ready, they're sold at the market, or go directly next door to the chefs at the Clarenville Inn.

"The restaurant [at the Clarenville Inn] is literally farm to table," said Chatman.  

'Just grow it'

Chatman is thrilled with the popularity of the market, and she said she'd like to see similar markets in every region of Newfoundland and Labrador, with a provincial association to support them.  

She added that people from other communities are asking her for advice on how to get started.  

"Just grow it," said Chatman.

"Turn over your lawn, turn it into gravel and start growing food."

"Plant that seed. It will grow."

We visit the Clarenville Farm and Market, and 2018 Polaris Music Prize winner Jeremy Dutcher visits St. John's 24:40

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador 

About the Author

Heather Barrett is the host and producer of Weekend AM on CBC Radio One in Newfoundland and Labrador.