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At the Market: A look at local farmer’s markets

May 14th, 2010 | Category: Features

Find local farmers, artisans and more at your local farmer’s market, a one-stop shopping place for everything local. From their farms and studios to your family’s table, experience the wealth of Northwest bounty, so close to home.

by Amanda Meyer

There is simply no place like your local farmer’s market. Big or small, the market provides a one-stop shop for everything local. From fresh produce to baked bread to local art and more, you can find those in your community passionate about their craft.
This is the place where the community comes together to visit with and feast upon the offerings from local farmers, crafters and artisans. To be able to meet and know the very people who have proudly grown or produced the food or handcrafted the items you are buying is a special feeling everyone should be able to experience.
It is not every day you can shake the hand of the person who made the soap you’ll bathe your children with, baked the bread you’ll eat with lunch or planted and pulled the carrots that will grace your dinner plate. To meet them, to see them, to know them, to establish relationships, is an important part of a healthy community.
Some markets have been established for years, while others are fairly new or just starting entirely. However long they have been held, all markets hold one true ideal: bring and make available the community’s locally-grown and made goods to the residents, and those who visit.
The Northwest is a special place, abounding in local food and handcrafted items. From fresh eggs, beef and seafood to greens, cheese and honey to clothing, candles and planters, chances are you’ll find these items and so much more at your local farmer’s market.
With May here, several of the farmer’s markets in the Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan counties have opened for the season, while the others will open by late May or early June. Most operate each Saturday, but you’ll also find a few communities who put on mid-week markets on a smaller scale. (Please see the sidebar at right for information.)
A number of local markets now offer a “Friend” membership. This special designation is for people who are not vendors, but proudly support the market and want to make an extra “donation.” They pay a small annual fee to become a “Friend” (an action that it put toward keeping the market running), and in turn, friends receive perks and specials throughout the year.
In addition, a number of markets offer things like local credit (buy a certain amount in “market dollars” and use those dollars to make purchases at vendors’ booths), as well as accepting food stamps and other means of pay.
Local music, kids activities and chef demonstrations (in which local food industry professionals share recipes using local, seasonal food) take place at various markets.
Markets big and small offer a taste of community. So head out there and see what you’ll find. Happy farmer’s marketing!

Area farmer’s markets

Anacortes
Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Depot Arts Center, 7th & R Avenue / www.anacortesfarmersmarket.org
Operating for more than 20 years, the 2010 season opens on May 15 and runs through October. In addition to vendors, you’ll find lunch, kids booth, and events such as chef demonstrations. Membership and vendor fees apply. For more information, contact Market Manager Keri Knapp at (360) 293-7922 or visit www.anacortesfarmersmarket.org.

Bellingham
Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Depot Market Center, Railroad & Chestnut, and Wednesdays from noon to 5 p.m. at the Village Green / www.bellinghamfarmersmarket.org
Featuring approximately 100 vendors, buskers and organizations the Saturday market runs through December. Events include Chef in the Market on the third Saturday of the month, with demonstrations and local food recipes featuring the “5 Ingredients or Less” theme. Vendor fees apply. The Fairhaven market runs on a smaller scale from June through September. For more information, contact Jean Layton at www.bellinghamfarmers.org.

Blaine Gardener’s Market
2nd and 4th Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at H Street Plaza
Started in 2009, the Blaine Gardener’s Market features over 25 vendors and takes place on the H Street Plaza overlooking Drayton Harbor. The market opens for the 2010 season on May 22, featuring the 1st International Slug Races. The season ends Oct. 9. No membership or vendors fees apply. The Market concept was started by the Circle of Trees Art Studio and Farm in 2008 and sponsored by the Blaine Chamber of Commerce in 2009. For more information, contact Ron Snyder at (360) 332-8082.

Concrete
Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Concrete Senior Center
The 2010 Saturday Market season will open on May 29 and continues every Saturday through Sept. 11. The market is held at the Concrete Senior Center, just off Highway 20 at milepost 89. In addition to vendors, live music and kids activities are available. For more information, contact (360) 856-2093 or e-mail concretesaturdaymarket@gmail.com.

Ferndale
Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Riverwalk park
Located on the Riverwalk park along the Nooksack River, the market is open every Saturday through early October. No vendor fees apply. For more information, contact Lisa Garrison at (360) 384-3042 or e-mail ffm@ferndale-chamber.com.

Lopez Island
Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesdays from 3-6 p.m.
Open through Labor Day, Lopez Village. For more information, call (360) 468-4664 or visit www.lopezisland.com.

Lummi Island
Saturday mornings, 2106 South Nugent Road
Open Saturday morning from May through September, located next to the Islanders store and within walking distance of the ferry. For more information, contact (360) 758-2190.

Lynden (Gardener’s Market)
1st and 3rd Thursdays from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in June, July & August at the Living Fountain Fellowship, 1105 Loomis Trail Road / http://thegardenersmarket.typepad.com
The 2010 season is the inaugural year for the Gardener’s Market, an all-volunteer, non-profit outreach of Living Fountain Fellowship in Lynden. Each of the market dates will have a theme and opportunities for musicians and other performers. For more information, visit http://thegardenersmarket.typepad.com

Mt. Vernon
Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Gates and Main, and Wednesdays from 2:30 – 5:30 p.m. at Skagit Valley Hospital / www.mountvernonfarmersmarket.org
Featuring approximately 40 vendors, the Mount Vernon market meets Saturdays, from opening day on May 29 through Oct. 16. The market also runs in a smaller setting on Wednesdays at Skagit Valley Hospital.  Vendor fees apply. For more information, contact Ron Farrell at (360) 540-4066 or visit www.mountvernonfarmersmarket.org.

Orcas Island
Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Eastsound Village Green / www.orcasislandfarmersmarket.org
Approximately 35 vendors bring their produce, foods, crafts and more to this island community market on Saturdays from May through September. Vendor fees apply. For more information, contact Market Manager Charly Robinson at (360) 472-1522 or visit www.orcasislandfarmersmarket.org.

San Juan
Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at San Juan County Courthouse parking lot / www.sjifarmersmarket.com
The market has expanded to over 40 vendors the last 10 years. Open every Saturday into October, including music and activities for kids. Plans are under way to form a Market Facility in an old building in downtown Friday Harbor. For more information, contact Rosa Blair at manager@sjifarmersmarket.com or visit www.sjifarmersmarket.com.

Sedro-Woolley
Wednesdays from 3-7 p.m. at Hammer Heritage Square / www.sedrowoolleyfarmersmarket.com
The Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market opens for its ninth year of operation on May 19, and runs through Oct. 13, at the corner of Metcalf and Ferry streets. For more information, contact Market Manager Gilda Gorr at (360) 724-3835 or visit www.sedrowoolleyfarmersmarket.com.

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