Nancy and Bruce Ketchum have decided to leave the Farmers’ Market to pursue new interests.
By Steven Addison
Nov 07 2006
Eight years ago, a small group of volunteers planted the seed of an idea – to establish a Sunday market in White Rock where residents could buy fresh produce and home-made goods, and chat about the week’s affairs.
It’s a seed that would need much nurturing, one South Surrey residents Bruce and Nancy Ketchum resolved to help grow.
Since 1999, the Ketchums have been front-and-centre at White Rock’s Farmers Market, serving as president, treasurer and volunteers, at times single-handedly ensuring its survival.
This week marks the end of the couple’s tenure. After eight seasons – most of them successful – they’ve decided to step back.
“It’s hard, really hard,” Nancy Ketchum said.
“We have mixed emotions. Part of me wants to stay in there and be part of it. The other part of me doesn’t want to be so involved.”
The Ketchums moved to the Peninsula in 1998, searching for the ideal retirement locale.
“We had spent a lot of time searching for the ideal place – the Okanagan, the Island, downtown Vancouver,” Bruce Ketchum said.
“We picked the Peninsula and said ‘This is a really good place to live’ except there were no real bakeries and no farmers market.
“We had lived in Europe, and had always been aficionados of farmers markets.”
A year later after their Peninsula arrival, the City of White Rock issued a call for volunteers to establish a Sunday market. Though there was plenty of interest, the Ketchums were among the few to answer the bell.
“It was really rough at the beginning. Everybody kind of disappeared,” Bruce recalled.
“Nancy and I were left holding the bag.”
The couple took on lead roles – he as president, she as treasurer – and committed to make the market grow. Despite constant turnover on the board, and a splinter group which briefly set up a rival market, the Ketchums prevailed.
The market now includes 45 vendors, serving between 5,000 and 10,000 customers a week, June through October.
A study this year by University of Northern British Columbia researchers concluded the market injects nearly $1 million annually into the local economy.
With operations now smooth and a new location — 1400 block George Street — the Ketchums say it’s time to move on.
They want to travel more, pursue other interests, and visit other farmers markets.
“It’s been eight years and it’s taken up an inordinate amount of time.
“We made the transition to the new location, the market is in very good shape, we have a stable board and we’re very comfortable financially.
“We wouldn’t have considered leaving is any of those factors weren’t in place.”
Market volunteer Helen Fathers said the departure will leave “a big void.”
Indoor farmers markets begin Sunday at Elks Hall on George Street. They’re scheduled for the first Sunday in November and December, then March through May.