RENFREW, ONT. – Despite the gloomy and dreary skies of Renfrew, Ontario. On Saturday, the mood was high as Renfrew Presbyterian Church hosted its first-ever fall harvest market.
In fact, the event was the church’s first community event since March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“The atmosphere here has been one of positive attitudes,” said David McFarlane, the church’s pastor. “It was happy, joyful; it was’ Oh, thank goodness we can do this safe, what a wonderful idea to be able to connect with each other.”
McFarlane says a number of community events have been canceled this year due to security measures, making the Saturday Farmer’s Market even more meaningful.
“When COVID hit and took away our fellowship opportunities, it really impacted a lot of people because a lot of people depended on the church to have this fellowship time together,” McFarlane told CTV News Ottawa.
The Saturday market was full of firsts, not only for the church, but also for its vendors and attendees. For first-time saleswoman Erin Dick, it was tough trying to sell her custom knit designs during the pandemic.
“I found it a bit difficult because I couldn’t get into the community, but I did a little bit of selling online,” says the owner of Loopsy Fiber Arts. “But it’s great to have, to be outside and to have a lot of people coming to my stuff.”
Rooted in a sense of normalcy, Louise Rose went out shopping in the harvest market.
“I came earlier where I had already bought two, so I came back and bought a third,” Rose said, showing off her new pumpkin decorations. “Earlier I came to get some knitted pumpkins, so that’s pretty cool too. And to see faces well, it’s nice to be outside and see faces.”
All of this is possible thanks to the efforts of community members working to curb Wave Four as students return to school and more parents return to work.
“We are blessed to hear that the fourth wave is not hitting as hard as they predicted,” McFarlane said. “But we understand that we still need to do our due diligence.”
Apple grower Stewart Gagan, who is familiar with farmers’ markets, says the Ottawa Valley is all about McIntosh and Spartan apples this season.
“Farmers’ markets have really taken off,” said a happy Gagan. “Whether it’s because more people are out there looking for things to do or whether it’s because they just supported the locals, it’s hard to say. But we’re doing okay.”
As Thanksgiving approaches, Gagan gave some tips for those looking to make a pie or crumble for the holiday weekend.
“Well, any apple is good in a pie, but whoever makes it, that’s what makes the difference.”