Farmers markets kickstarting their seasons shortly
Osman Ruiz, then of Bautista Farms of Yakima, lays out carrots at the 2013 Snohomish Farmers Market.
SNOHOMISH — Farmers markets, featuring fresh food from local vendors, are beginning to blossom starting this month.
The Snohomish Farmers Market at Cedar Avenue and Pearl Street begins its season this Thursday afternoon. The market opened Thursday and runs through the end of September.
Everett’s weekly Sunday market at the Port of Everett waterfront opens May 12, Mother’s Day, like it traditionally does. Its season runs through September.
A Wednesday Everett market at Everett Station will run June through August.
Monroe’s farmers market begins in late May in the Galaxy Theatre parking lot. It’s reviving itself under the Monroe Chamber of Commerce leadership, and will operate every other Wednesday starting May 29.
Visitors to the Snohomish market will find it’s now got every food group in the pyramid. Three local meat vendors will be there; two offer locally raised meat.
Also new this year will be an American Indian food vendor with fry bread, said market manager Sarah Dylan-Jensen.
The healthful market is growing by leaps and bounds.
It sees between 1,500 to 2,500 visitors each Thursday, and in 2018 recorded a 40 percent increase in collective sales. The management tracks vendor earnings through weekly reports.
These days, there might be 80 vendors participating during the heaviest summer season, up from 2015. The market’s expanded its footprint, now covering six or seven blocks.
A weekly music series and other special events accentuate the experience.
Snohomish’s Thursday market is among the largest markets in this county; Everett’s Sunday market is considered the largest.
It helps put fruits and vegetables in people’s hands, including those struggling on a budget. The market can convert SNAP food stamps, WIC checks and senior food waivers into market tokens for buying food.
“Food (insecurity) affects a lot more neighbors than we think,” Dylan-Jensen said.
She added: “It’s great that our economy is growing locally, but it means rents are increasing” and leaving less for food budgets.
An expected grant backed with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture should double the purchasing power of food stamps, where $10 in food stamps equals $20 in market tokens. Doubling money means farmers, the market and especially customers all benefit, Dylan-Jensen said.
The city’s work on the Carnegie Building is scheduled to go on nearby, but the market isn’t moving.
“We’re going to ride it out,” Dylan-Jensen said, adding that coordinating moving the market could lose customers used to its usual location.
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