The Cochrane Farmers Market has been setting new attendance records since opening on June 1 and it's reflected in stronger sales by its vendors.

Chair Valeria McCracken says they saw 3,000 people on opening day and attendance numbers have been crazy good.

"All of the numbers have been higher than normal," says McCracken. "It's a really good sign that people are back out and supporting the market. You know, it's great to have customer numbers, but also we're seeing the sales. Vendors are sort of feeling that things are more solid than they have been in the past."

McCracken has a hectic schedule and can be hard to track down. If all else fails, just head to the market.

"Every Saturday, I talk to all my vendors and get a sense of how it's going, you know, because I'm always want to know which product categories are feeling maybe the sales are slow, and which ones are feeling they're doing better. I'm always gauging what our customers are looking for and where the support is going to get a good sense of what's going on."

Three vendors have been part of the market since it was launched 26 years ago with between 20 to 25 vendors. It's now more than doubled in size. McCracken says they expect to see 65 to 70 vendors there weekly until the final market of the season on Sept. 28.

"For us, it's about providing a service for the community. We're sponsored by an environmental action group, so for us, the farmers market Is the best way to be environmentally friendly by buying food that comes from close to home and supporting local farmers, especially in this day and age where sometimes those global sources just aren't going to be available."

They take pride in knowing 95 per cent of their vendors sell the products they produce here. The rest, like B.C. fruit and Quebec maple syrup, are in high demand but not from Alberta.

The local Farmers' Market was established as the 'Market at the Ranche' in 1998 before moving to the SLS Centre and becoming the 'Market on the Bow' in 2020. It's sponsored and operated by the Cochrane Environmental Action Committee (CEAC) and is run entirely by CEAC volunteers. Proceeds from the market are used to support CEAC in its efforts to make Cochrane a more environmentally aware and active community.

The market is held every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.