Eileen Dwillies is retiring from her role as Haney Farmers Market executive director. Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS

Eileen Dwillies is retiring from her role as Haney Farmers Market executive director. Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS

Dwillies stepping down from Haney Farmers Market

Maple Ridge senior spends majority of life focused on food

Cooking, eating, growing, and shopping for food has been a passion for Eileen Dwillies for most of her life.

And now after spending many busy years as the Haney Farmers Market executive director, Dwillies is moving on to retirement.

“Food has always been my passion,” she said.

Dwillies’ interest in the farmers’ market sparked in 2003, when she moved to Maple Ridge from Vancouver, and saw an advertisement in the newspaper looking for market volunteers.

After attending an initial meeting, Dwillies and her husband Paul were hooked, and have played a role in the Haney Farmers Market ever since.

READ MORE: Haney Farmers Market co-odinator retiring

“Maple Ridge is so lucky to have a town centre. So many other markets are streets or parking lots. I had a vision of what it should look like, because I’ve seen how the best ones are,” said Dwillies.

Initially, she volunteered as an organizer with the market, and sold her bread as a vendor, earning herself the title of the ‘Bread Lady.’

But after getting more involved, Dwillies stepped down from bread making, and in 2009 her role with the market evolved into an executive director position.

As the market’s driving force since its beginnings, Dwillies said the market’s biggest focus has always been community.

“The focus here is community. Other non-profits partner in, there is space given to them, there’s music, entertainment, things to keep the people happy and coming. Not just run in and shop then run out. What drew people, the farmers, and vendors to our market was the excitement of Paul and I and the enthusiasm we had for all we did, and the fact we were in a lovely location.”

The Haney Farmers Market is in downtown Maple Ridge in Memorial Peace Park on Saturday mornings from May to November.

“Even if they [vendors] don’t make good sales, they’ve had a good time. To bring the farmers, brings the people, and to bring the people, brings the farmers.”

Dwillies will officially retire on Dec. 15. With extra time and free Saturdays, she is looking forward to checking out other markets.

“B.C. has 140 markets, so we’ll spend awhile driving around.”

Dwillies also plans on mentoring Brett Hertzog, who she said is taking over her role, volunteering with big events at the Haney market like Canada Day and Earth Day, and attending the B.C. Association of Farmers Markets conferences.

“I’ll volunteer when I have to, but also I’ll be shopping. I always feel it’s my personal grocery store. It’s a bittersweet type of thing.”

While she’s the face of Haney Farmers Market, Dwillies’ love of food started well before she got involved with the local market.

“When I first married, I never bothered much with cooking. My mother gave me A Joy of Cooking and when I read the recipes, I thought it was interesting. But there were no pictures, so I struggled with recipes,” Dwillies explained.

But the struggle kept her motivated, as Dwillies longed to learn more about food, recipes, and the art of cooking.

Her best friend in her early adulthood was a well-known cook, Diane Clement, whose cooking school Dwillies attended.

After attending cooking school, Dwillies’ love of food kept growing.

Since the mid ’70s, Dwillies wrote for Western Living magazine, became the author of nine cookbooks, and was a featured chef of the TV series Creative Cooking.

Later on, Dwillies led “cooking trips” under the name Eileen’s Creative Cooking: Getaway Vacations, and she would take people on food tours in various cities.

“Food and travel, it’s a wonderful thing,” added Dwillies.

And a well-seasoned cook, vendor, director, and mentor, said will “miss all the activity” of the market, but will still be heavily involved as a volunteer.

The market reopens for the 2019 season in May.

• To volunteer with the Haneys Farmers Market or to get more information, visit http://www.haneyfarmersmarket.org/ or email: hfminfo@haneyfarmersmarket.org.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ridge Meadows RCMP Insp. Wendy Mehat. (Black Press files)
Insp. Mehat officer in charge of Ridge Meadows Detachment

Takes over for Jennifer Hyland, who has gone to new Surrey Police Service

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) is looking into the death of man discovered Jan. 11 in east Maple Ridge. (Black Press files)
B.C.’s police watchdog investigating man’s death in Maple Ridge

Man was found dead Jan. 11 after recent contact with police

Staff at Bruce’s Country Market are being asked to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 after an exposure at the Maple Ridge grocery store. (The News files)
Employee at Maple Ridge grocery store tests positive for COVID-19

All other staff in the department have tested negative for disease

Alouette Heights.
Fire at Alouette Heights in Maple Ridge puts half of residents out of their units

Coast Mental Health said fire was small, but sprinkler system caused damage

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Chilliwack Law Courts. (Black Press file)
Man sentenced to 20 months for sexual offences involving a minor in Mission

Will Laws Clark was 22 and victim was 13 at time offences began

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

The Abbotsford Tulip Festival is permanently closing, with plans to eventually set up in Armstrong, B.C. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Abbotsford Tulip Festival is closing, with plans to rebloom in Armstrong

Event organizer says pandemic and sale of land were factors in decision

Most Read