CAMPBELLTON, NL – Known for its strawberry red dome and equally red strawberry fields, the Campbellton Berry Farm has been a staple sight for several decades.
Now, the Thornley family-run business is seeking to expand its horizons as a full-on farmers market this summer.
With concrete poured and its framing completed, Victoria Thornley says it’s hard to believe the business is now about to take this new step.
“It feels unreal that we’re actually doing a farmers market; we haven’t ever done anything like this before,” Thornley said. “It’s a bit intimidating because it was always just ‘come here and pick your berries,’ and now we got to try and fill a big market for produce.”
Thornley hopes the operation will be utilized as a full-on grocery store, but one that carries solely Newfoundland and Labrador-made items.
The family is currently in talks with various farmers in the area to bring fruits, vegetables and meats to the facility. The Campbellton Berry Farm already has 700 bottles of jam ready-made for when the market opens.
As well, they are in talks to bring in other Newfoundland-oriented items like seal skin products, quilts and even ugly sticks.
“We’re hoping to provide business for people in central but we’re reaching out across Newfoundland,” said Thornley. “As long as it’s made here – we’re not going to have anything that’s not from Newfoundland.
“Hopefully that in itself will bring people.”
The plan to bring a farmer’s market to the business, which once only offered fresh berries and jams, had been brewing for a couple years. But construction on the building itself only began last October.
An upstairs loft has also been built for the market as a resting area for visitors. In the winter, Thornley says the area may be in use for craft shows, paint nights or other local initiatives and events.
In the months leading up to its grand opening, Thornley says her main focus now is to get in touch with more local growers and entrepreneurs to stock up their inventory.
“Our plan is to get in all the inventory and resell it ourselves,” she said. “It’s the easiest way to keep a patrol on what we’re selling and what we have.”
The Campbellton Berry Farm market is expected to open by early June.