A few years ago Dr. Chris Ling of Royal Roads university and I wrote a paper that analyzed how easy it was to provision an entire meal from a range of farmers’ markets in British Columbia. Overall we discovered that BC’s markets are a great place to put together a beautiful fresh and local meal, as long as a person is willing to pull by the government liquor store on the way home. In BC, home to amazing local wines and beers, farmers’ markets are frustratingly dry.
This is of course not the case elsewhere. In my recent field study of Quebec markets I found some lovely wines and a blossoming cider industry, and in Nova Scotia I even found new local distillers showing off their skills at the Halifax Market. In Alberta, after an epic ten year battle to change draconian laws, markets are able to sell local fruit wines that highlight the best of the season. At all of these sites, one can taste product, select a bottle, and then take it home to compliment a meal from the market. Delightful!
Given the potential of this industry, it is time that BC allows the safe and sensible sale of local beer wine and spirits at our farmers’ markets. The BC government is currently reviewing our liquor laws, and is taking public input at the project’s website. Better yet, MLA John Yap, who is heading the project, has even floated the idea of sales at farmers’ markets on the site. At this point we need people to speak up. I hope that some of you will provide your support by telling the government that the time for wine, beer, and local distilled beverages has come!