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Farmers market season has returned to Kitsap County

Kristee Crooks, left, and her mother, Rhonda Crooks, took advantage of opening day Tuesday at the Silverdale Farmers Market to buy fresh flowers and lettuce. - Leslie Kelly
Kristee Crooks, left, and her mother, Rhonda Crooks, took advantage of opening day Tuesday at the Silverdale Farmers Market to buy fresh flowers and lettuce.
— image credit: Leslie Kelly

It was overcast, gray and raining on Tuesday morning. But you’d never have known it from the look on Monica Phillips face.

“Hey, the weather’s not great,” she  said with a smile. “But we’re back.”

Phillips is the market manager for the Silverdale Farmers Market which opened for the season this week. The Silverdale Farmers Market happens every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Old Town Silverdale waterfront park. It runs through October. This is the 16th year for the market in Silverdale.

And next Thursday, May 1, the Bremerton Farmers Market will be back in action after a long winter, said market manager Julia Zander.

“It’s always exciting to be back with the group,” she said. “Our customers and our vendors are just such great people.”

Bremerton’s Farmers Market happens every Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. at Evergreen Rotary Park and every Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Bremerton Ferry Terminal.

This year in Silverdale, the farmers market will have more food vendors, according to Phillips.

“The economy is just better,” she said. “More people who have food truck businesses and catering businesses are at the place where they can afford to be back with us.”

Among the vendors will be barbecue, Mexican foods including homemade tamales, and the “donut guy.”

Of course, the big calling card for the markets is the fresh produce.

“Being able to share all the locally grown fresh produce is really what’s behind what we do,” Phillips said. “It’s just such a joy to see all the cut flowers and the veggie starts when the market first opens for the season.”

With local farmers on hand, market-goers can talk “growing” with them and get their take on what this season is going to be like, she added.

“Customers can talk with the farmer who grew what they are buying and know just exactly how it was grown and whether it’s 100 percent organic,” she said.

Additionally, the market will have music weekly, some of which will be performed by students. The Central Kitsap schools are on the docket to bring down the jazz band when possible. On the week prior to Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, children will be able to “make and take” a project suitable for a gift for mom or dad, and/or make them greeting cards.

“We’re going to try some miniature gardens for the kids whose parents don’t care if they get a little bit dirty,” Phillips said.

The market will have some sweets as well. Monica’s Bakery and Piccadilly Bakery will offer breads, cookies, cupcakes and other home-baked goods. Phillips thinks there will be about an average of 25 to 30 vendors a week as the season gets going.

In Bremerton, May 1 will be the farmers market opening day and Zander is planning a May Day celebration that will include a ribbon cutting and flower baskets to celebrate spring and the market’s 10th year.

“The children of the vendors are planning some things, too,” she said, possibly a May Pole dance. She is expecting 40 vendors on Thursdays and about 20 to 25 at the Sunday markets.

And as always, the focus is on local produce.

“We’ll have lots of local produce and flowers,” she said. “And throughout the season they’ll be different selections.”

There will be food vendors including barbecue, pizza, and Mexican food options. A couple of bakeries have signed on, including one that has gluten-free items. There will be sweets, too, including an ice cream vendor. Some local crafters will set up tables and booths and the markets will have music, children’s classes and on some weeks, the Kitsap Regional Library Bookmobile.

Zander said the Sunday markets are aimed more for locals to come down and get their weekly produce, or for those who are getting on and off the ferry to drop by. It’s been in operation for three years. The Thursday markets are more for families to come and spend time enjoying the park and the community.

“Thursdays we see a lot of families come out just to eat something and listen to the music,” she said. “It’s a real family atmosphere.”

And, although there is a Sunday flea market now in Bremerton, Zander thinks that will help the farmers market.

“I expect to see people going to both,” she said. “The flea market’s focus is more on vintage things, whereas the farmers market is more about local produce and some crafts. I think they’ll compliment each other very well.”

Zander said the opening of the farmers markets for the season is the real sign that spring is here and summer is on the way.

“It’s so exciting to see the market begin and see all those greens and the first vegetables that come out,” she said. “It’s like everything just emerges after a long winter.”

 

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