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Farmers Markets will kick off season April 30
It’s clear it’s spring when the local farmers markets open.
And those opening dates aren’t far off.
Silverdale will open its weekly farmers market on Tuesday, April 30, in Old Town Silverdale. The market operates from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Tuesday through Sept. 24.
Monica Phillips, market manager, said this years markets will include more entertainment than in previous years.
“Every year when we have the tap dancers out, people just love them,” Phillips said. “So we have plans to have more local dance groups and other entertainment for those who come out to the market.”
The Silverdale Farmers Market has been around for years, offering fresh fruits and vegetables, arts and crafts, prepared foods and events for the kids to do and make things.
The market is located at the Old Town Waterfront Park, where there is plenty of room for picnicking.
Just how many vendors will be on hand each week will depend on the growing season.
“In the early weeks, we have fewer vendors because the weather’s still a bit wet and not much is growing yet,” Phillips said. “But we do have vendors from Eastern Washington who usually have produce sooner than we do here in Kitsap County.”
In fact, the market is opening a week later than normal and hoping for a good opening day.
“I consulted the Farmers Almanac,” she said. “It’s supposed to be a sunny day.”
This year, the market will have some favorites back, including Bella Bella Cupcakes, and Amy’s Decadent Chocolates. There will be prepared foods so market attendees can get something to eat and sit and watch the entertainment.
“The Zumba dancers were really popular last year,” she said. “They’ll be back again. So once you finish eating, you can join them and work off those cupcakes.”
Giving the community a sampling of the kinds of dance and exercise classes that are available within the area is another reason for the entertainment, she said.
Some karate classes are expected to participate as well as students from jazz and other music classes and bands.
There will be craft booths where kids can make-and-take, she added, especially near the holidays.
“There will be things for the kids to make for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day,” she said. “We like to have things where the kids can get creative.”
In all, 50 vendors are expected most weeks. Some come from as far away as Tacoma and Kingston. There are vendors with beef jerky, cheeses, baked goods, vinegars, tea mixes, and organic beef from the Short Family Farms.
“Right now I’m looking for somebody who sells nuts,” she said. “We’d like to add that.”
The market also has flower vendors, herbs, teas, and even trees for sale.
The following Thursday, May 2, the Bremerton Farmers Market will open.
Bremerton has a market every Thursday and Sunday through Oct. 17. Thursday’s market is from 4 to 7 p.m. at Evergreen Rotary Park. The Sunday markets are from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. near the ferry terminal.
Julia Zander, market manager at Bremerton, said this year’s market will include something new — Market Bucks.
“It’s a new program to help those who use their food stamps at the market to be able to get more fresh produce,” she said.
When food assistance clients arrive at the market, they can go to the market booth and show their identification and get market tokens that will allow them to get $10 worth of produce for just $5 of their assistance dollars.
The program is happening through local sponsorships and grants, she said.
“The focus is on food access,” she said. “Getting fresh produce into the hands of the low-income is so important.”
Also new this year in Bremerton will be more cooking demonstrations helping folks know how to simply cook meals that include local vegetables.
Some weeks there will be the Kitsap Regional Library’s Bookmobile on hand so market-goers can also pick up a book to read.
Special events are being planned too, to help celebrate Armed Forces Day in May, Chicken Day in June, Dog Day in July, and Farmers Week in August.
As in years past, there will be vendors with fruits and vegetables, baked goods, flowers, arts and crafts, and hot prepared food.
“That’s a particularly important part of our Thursday markets,” she said. “People like to stop by and get something to take home for dinner.”
The Bremerton Farmers Market has been taking place since 2004 when a small group of farmers began selling in the courtyard of the old cafe Destino on Wednesdays.
By 2006, it grew to be a professionally organized market and has since been a part of the Washington State Farmers Market Association, as is the Silverdale market.