Errington Farmer's Market Early History

How the Errington Farmer's Market began

1972 - 1988

Geraldine Shaw and her father, Fred Kaufer, co-founded the Errington Community Farmer's Market on Vancouver Island in 1972, together with her husband Terry and two sons, Stan and Mark.

The market grew out of their memories of a huge open air farmer's Market in Roseville, California, a few miles from where Fred and Irene lived on their farm in Rio Linda. The Shaw family had often visited them while living in California up to 1969, before the Shaws left for Canada to live in Wilson Braddock's old log cabin at the end of Leffler Road in Errington.

Rather than a big open-air enterprise, however, Gerry's idea was to create a small country market that would make it easier for farmers and crafts people in the local area to sell their produce. It was a unique concept at the time, and a Farmer's Market in Errington would be one of the first on Vancouver Island.

With her father's help, Gerry purchased the property on the corner of Grafton Avenue and Errington Road from Don Green, a long-time resident of Errington.

Gerry Shaw

Fred Kaufer

Building the first market. The market still exists, but has now been moved next to the Errington Community Hall

Building the market was not without controversy. Gerry loved the woods and envisioned the market to be nestled among the beautiful trees, located at that time, just opposite the Errington Store. Her father, on the other hand, was raised in the wide open plains of North Dakota and preferred to clear all trees from the land before building. Animated discussions took place. That Gerry's artistic view prevailed is seen to this day in the lovely Market now situated in the woods by the Errington War Memorial Hall.

from one of Gerry's hand-drawn brochures

It took a year of hard work clearing bush, (with serious negotiations between Gerry and Fred over each individual tree that had to be removed!) to prepare the market for construction. Soon after, Stan and Mark's cousin, George Kaufer Jr, came up from California to peel dozens of logs, and later helped Fred and Terry to build rustic wooden stalls.

Finally, the Market was opened, with great success in the summer of 1972.

Smells of the fresh brewed coffee and the best home-baked donuts and cinnamon buns in the region wafted through the trees from the concession stand. Fresh country produce, hand crafts and baking filled the vendor stalls. Coming to the market quickly became a meeting place and an ongoing Saturday morning summer tradition for local neighbors and residents throughout the area. The market continued to operate as a family-run business for many years during the 1970's and 1980's.

In the late 1980's, however, Gerry began a long fight with cancer.

With the future of the Farmer's market in peril, the Errington community came together in a remarkable way. Despite her illness, Gerry helped friends and neighbors to formalize the creation of Errington Market Society to help ensure that it would be able to continue on a sustainable basis. On Gerry's passing in 1988, a huge volunteer effort made it possible for the Farmer's Market to be moved to its beautiful new location near the Errington War Memorial.

The Errington Farmer's Market continues today!

Click here for more information about Errington and the rich history of this lovely rural community on Vancouver Island.

For family members of the original Farmer's Market:

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