Monday, 8 December 2014

2014-12-08 To Market or not to Market............

Our kitchen is operational now, it is very exciting to have our own commissary.  We are in our early days of recipe development and we are excited to have baking, soups, and take away dinners being created in the kitchen, and enjoyed by friends and customers.

I returned home from Vancouver in time for the Wilson Street Market and just in time to receive another letter from the city of Hamilton stating that a Farmers Market would not be permitted at 1632 Wilson Street West due to zoning.  We are permitted to use 25% of our warehouse space for a retail showroom and no more, this is despite our delegation to the City of Hamilton Planning Committee on July 8.  We have an agreement that we are permitted to operate as a Farmers Market until such time that the new Farmers Market Bylaw passes which if the Planning Committee passes unaltered it will demand we cease operations unless we are in a retail or commercial zone.  

It is a sad decision to pause our efforts to grow the market and follow the proposed but not passed through council city guidelines, however we are up for the challenge and Cooner will move everything around yet again to design a retail showroom that is 480 sq ft or less.  The showroom will be limited to Ojo’s kitchen production and Plan B Organic Farms until such time that the city gives us the green light to develop our market.  We have formed a not for profit corporation and will continue to hold special events at ojo’s in conjunction with the Wilson Street Market but will not be expanding to any new vendors until the city gives us the green light.

We will continue to provide fresh local and organic veggies on Fridays thru our friends at Plan B and we will continue to preserve local food into family friendly meals, we hope to keep the Market at our location, and will work with the city of Hamilton to find a solution to our conundrum.  Our zoning will be changed to retail, and if the city still refuses to let us host a Farmers Market perhaps the real opposition will come out.    

We are not quitters, we will not give up, but in the mean time we will shift our focus back to the matter at hand, which is getting Ojo’s Commissary, off the ground.  The Wilson Street Farmers Market sign will remain in place and we will continue to have fresh vegetables and fruit on Fridays from 9am till 2pm.  We will also be an authorized drop centre for Plan B Organic Farms CSA share program.  

While there is still some work to be done on the warehouse, you are welcome to come and visit us on Fridays and see what we are cooking up.  The Ojo Commissary’s “Retail Showroom” will be open Monday Thru Friday from 9am till 2pm, for custom order pick ups, and open with Fresh Veggies from Plan B Organic Farms on Fridays.