Here’s food for thought from Rebecca, our market Manager.
I enjoyed a lovely dinner at the home of some island friends recently and during the evening encountered two remarkable conversations about the Vashon Farmers Market (each prompted by the person’s knowledge that I manage the market).
The first was with a gentleman who picked me out of the crowd before dinner, wondering whether I might be the market
manager, because he’d noticed me in what he described as an “in charge” moment at a recent Saturday market. He
wanted to introduce himself and to tell me how knocked out he was by the current state of affairs at our market – the
incredible abundance, his sense that the island is fully embracing its agrarian heritage, his excitement to see how much
the market has grown, and – without an ounce of prompting from yours truly (and the part that gave my heart a little flutter)
– the knowledge that he was “getting full value for every penny” he spends there. Needless to say, that chat made my week.
The other conversation, as I sat trapped at the dinner table, started like this: “As a point of pride, I don’t shop at the farmers market.” It was a proclamation that took my breath away, a statement that took me more than a few beats before I could
recover enough to ask why. After a couple of attempts to counter her immutable “the prices are too hight” claim, I finally
decided I needed a night off and granted the woman the fact that everyone shops for food for differing reasons and with
differing goals. Call me Judas – I know I betrayed the cause at a perfect moment to attempt a convert. What I should have
done was fetch the earlier gentleman and have him trade places with me at the table, allowing him to sing his particular
market gospel to her.
I know there will always be those who fall into the “no-thanks to the farmers market” camp. But thankfully, there are more and more people who are grasping the real value of farmers markets, personally and to the human and environmental community
at large. What I wish I’d had the energy to say to the proud non-market-supporter is that farmers markets are more than
simply a place to buy locally grown (and actually well-priced, in the final analysis) fruits and vegetables. They are hubs for information and home to thousands of innovative partnerships that teach skills and expand knowledge about food, health, community and agriculture.
In more than 7,200 markets in this country alone, more than three million consumers are snapping up what they know to
be the best kind of food, produced by more than 60,000 hardworking, local farmers. The U.S. Dept of Agriculture estimates
that these markets generate at least $1.3 billion in consumer spending each year. In short, farmers markets are a
phenomenon in the U.S. at a time when they are sorely needed, for myriad reasons.
Today’s farmers markets are:
Promoting good nutrition and healthful habits (let’s hear it for the power of produce!).
Spurring business incubation, job development, and local spending.
Growing healthy social capital and engaging thousands of volunteers.
Supporting agricultural diversity and farm viability, while inspiring a new generation of producers.
Putting farmers at the center of the system, not at the bottom of the food chain.
Truly reducing the carbon footprint of your dinner!
Our Vashon farmers are passionate entrepreneurs right at a time when the national consciousness about healthy eating
gives them a passionate consumer. Every week, someone is trying a new vegetable (Piracicaba broccoli, anyone?),
discovering how food grows or learning a new skill to enrich his or her life. I consider it a point of pride to be a part of
such a positive asset in our community, a community that is the real agricultural deal, and to be able to say, “I am the
manager of the Vashon Farmers Market.”
I realize this assumes that everyone reading this piece is a supporter of the market – and that might not be the case.
But please consider sharing this essay with ONE friend who might need a nudge to shop at the Vashon Farmers Market
(even if that friend is you.) One visit and I’m betting they’ll discover their own good reason – and point of pride – for supporting
our island’s incredible – and authentic – farmers market.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has proclaimed August 5-11 as National Farmers Market Week.
Here’s what on offer this week at YOUR abundantly affordable and richly nourishing Farmers Market:
Fieldstone Flowers (featured at right) is a riot of color, with beautiful summer flowers of many textures and varieties.
Sun Island Farm will be coming with Broccoli, Beets, Strawberries, turnips, cherry Tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, gourmet Zucchini, salad greens and head lettuce, kale, and Swiss chard.
Quality Seafood will be there with tasty Columbia River salmon, Spot Prawns from nearby waters, Red Snapper and Alaska halibut, and delicious Smoked King Salmon for the best imaginable hors d’oeuvre.
Vashon Winery (which for all intents and purposes is also a FARMER, growing their own apples for cider and harvesting several acres of grapes for their wine) is sampling their 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009 Merlot, Tramp Harbor Red, and also our popular hard apple cider: Irvine’s Vintage Cider is classic European-style cider, not too sweet, lightly carbonated, complex and refreshing.
Pacific Crest Farm is bringing the last of the peas, fava beans, Salad mix, Kale, Chard, Basil, Parsley, Dill, Cucumbers, Potatoes, Beets, Carrots, Leeks, Green onions, Kohlrabi, Fennel, Lettuce and Cabbage.
Island Meadow Farm (shown at right) arrives with Beets — Deep red and delicious, Broccoli, Bush Beans — Mixed Colors, Cabbage, Chard, Fava Beans, Kale, Mixed Flower Bouquets — Larkspur, Sweet William, Dahlia, Nigella, Amaranth and much, much more, New Potatoes — Yellow and Red, Radishes — French Breakfast and Cerry Belle, Summer Squash — Green Zucchini and Costada Romanesca, Sunflower Stems, and Sweet Onions — Fresh Walla Wallas!’
Hogsback Farm will be back in attendance with multiple types of green and wax beans, red Russian kale, fava beans, sweet and Thai basil, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, onions and more!
The Farm Coop Booth is always a place to find lots of surprises. This week, get your fix of colorful kale and chard and other delicious Vashon Grown produce, eggs, plus lilies and phlox, fragrant and gorgeous, colorful farm fresh eggs!
Hilltop Garden will come to the market this week with exciting string beans, shelling peas, potatoes and carrots, chard and kale, large onions and red cabbage.
East West Produce will have raspberries fresh picked from Puyallup, hopefully more Marionberries. plus an abundance of Sweetheart cherries (the last of the fresh Washington cherries), and Red Haven semi-cling peaches, white donuts and certified organic nectarines, plus organically grown blueberries and apricots.
Midlife Crisis Farm (flying the Union Jack at right) will be bringing USDA lamb, grass fed ground beef, lean and healthful bison plus Swedish potato sausages for the grill, more of that delectable ginger pear pork sausage as well as brats and German sausages.
Plum Forest Farm will have luscious Blueberries, Basil, Green and Yellow Beans, Cilantro, Carrots, New Potatoes, Purslane, Swiss Chard, Cucumbers, Summer Squash, Gourmet Salad Mix, Eggplant, Piracicaba Broccoli, Beets, Arugula, Tomatoes, and Kale. Maybe something else, too.
Calypso Garden comes bearing Orient Express Cucumbers and fresh Copra and Red Zeppelin onions, carrots, at least three kinds of potatoes – “All Red”, “Desiree” and “Yellow Finn” – chard, kale, collards, broccoli, carrots and garlic braids, and salad mix with over 25 greens. Holding court over all that are Zilla’s beautiful sweet peas and her large bouquets with lots of sunflowers, gooseneck and hydrangea, as well as Zilla’s beautiful new Pine needle baskets.
Langley Fine Gardens will feature produce from the farm, including four varieties of eggplant, sweet peppers, new potatoes, new garlic and even some tomatoes, in addition to Fall veggie starts.
Greenman Farm will have farm fresh eggs (get there early – they go fast!) broccoli, rainbow carrots, Asian cucumbers, purple and golden cauliflower, mixed salad greens, Gai Lan (chinese flowering broccoli), summer squash, zucchini, new potatoes, mixed kale, rainbow chard, beets, spring onions, and plenty of recipes to go with them all. For farm crafts, we’ll have upcycled “feed” tote bags, adorable organic cotton produce bags, and beautiful veggie watercolour greeting cards. For those who want to enliven their walls with gorgeous art, we’ll have Will’s beautiful veggie watercolour portraits.
Tease Chocolates is bringing 3 bars: Salty Mermaid, Spicy Mayan, Geishas Pleasure, plus Pistachio Buttercrunch, Ginger Lips, S’mores kits, and the Assorted Truffle Box: Carol’s Little Black Dress (hand-rolled chocolate truffle), Purple Sea Stars, Honey Goat Truffles, Bee’s Knees, Summer Mint, Bedtime Chocolates, Lavender Hill Butterflies, Pear and Blue Cheese. World class chocolates, made on Vashon Island.
Anu Rana’s Healthy Kitchen is a big hit with their gluten free, and guilt free, cookies, health bars and mini cakes – including Almond Apricot cookies, Quinoa Date Nutty Bars and Almond Blueberry Cakes. If you haven’t tried their Spiced Cashew with Hemp seed, or Crunchy Chickpeas, get thee to their booth this week! Try a sample. You’ll want a week’s supply!
King Caramels redefines the candymaker’s art with Hedy’s latest connoisseur caramels. If you haven’t tried the gray salt caramels, you’re seriously deprived.
Cliff’s Beer is the coolest brew in town. Delicious handmade beers that always sell out early. Choose from equally popular Alder Smoked Porter and Bitter Ale. And Cliff has launched his American Pale Ale – think American Bitter, but hoppier. Hop off with a bottle of that!
Zamorana is with us as always, with more of their mouthwatering south-of-the-border cuisine.
The Luna Lavender Lemonade and Coffee Stand is your “rejuvenation station” after all that VIGArous market shopping
Rosie Bones (shown at right) will have many scrumptious treats for man’s best friend, including grass fed beef liver, organic sweet potato, and chicken feet, along with their regular bags of Rosie’s Choice and Chicken Livers and Gizzards.
Annika Fae returns to bring her elegant Henna designs to adorn our cheeks, arms, fingers, ankles, toes and…?
Rogue Poultry will be blowing bubbles in the sunshine, and featuring all things bubbly bubbly bubbly, in full celebration of Summer.
Mik Kulman – aka The Ball Girl – joins us this week to work her magic on the knots in our bodies.
AND FROM THE STUDIOS
Azula By Design (Christine Phillips) will be bringing some new designs including pre-war Japan millinery “fancies” ….fabric flowers, leaves, etc., worked into simple and ornate designs. Also, a one-time only special batch in the price range of $20-30. This is Christine’s last market until later in the Fall, and as a gesture of appreciation before she leaves, she’ll be offering a special discount to anyone who shows up to the market wearing a FruffleFeather or AzulabyDesign they already own!
Empty Nest Studio (featured at right) brings a one-of-a-kind, eclectic collection of gemstone and Vashon beach glass jewelry, including a new product line – Necklace Scarves. It’s a scarf that comes with jewels attached! Tres chic, mon ami!
Julie King brings her Willow Street Woodworks to the Market this week, with enchanting signs, birdhouses and much more made from found objects, repurposed wood and souvenirs from the sea. Julie Anderson transforms discarded spray paint cans into ever-colorful flowers for those corners of your garden that need a little year-round jazzing up! She’ll have single stem flowers, small garden fences with 3 flowers, and a few wall hangings on wood with spray flower arrangements.
David Earle brings the most amazing turned bowls you’ll ever lay eyes on. Ask him how he gets them to change shape after he makes them. And have you ever spun one of his colorful little tops? Bring the kid in you to the market and play with David’s darling tops.
KB and Paula offer beautifully crafted gifts, including KB’s elegant stained glass feathers, Paula’s balancing wine bottle holders and rare wood letter openers, and those beautiful little vases that would be the perfect receptacle for a petite summer bouquet. Paula has a new array of colorful french rolling pins all made of food-safe natural woods. This style of rolling pin is great for rolling out flakey, melt in your mouth pie crust and is often preferred by bakers who want their hands closer to the dough or who want to drape dough over the length of the barrel.
Eileen Mackinson aka The Bird Lady joins us, bringing her beautiful collection of plumage from all kinds of feathered friends.
Tahlequah Woodworks brings a bevy of marvelous new cutting boards and other woodworking magic Ralph conjures in his shop. This week Ralph will feature cutting boards with one of his favorite tropical hardwoods, African bloodwood, which has a lovely red color.
Made in Paradise (shown at right) captures artistically one of our most enduring island symbols: The Rock! Stones collected from seven states are used to make rustic stone vases & lamps with a Zen quality. The obsidian (volcanic glass) in their winsome wind chime is sourced from their very own mine in Southern Oregon. The chimes are not only beautiful to look at but have great tonal quality, from a delicate soprano tinkle to a deep vibrato. Their jewelry is made from collectible old trade beads and fossilized ivory thousands of years old, and beautiful leather work is all hand cut and braided, for key rings, necklaces and rattles.
Bliss Organixbrings, in addition to many elegant products for body and skin care, a new Bliss Spritz called Summer of Love with patchouli, orange and lavender. Earthy, spicy and sweet! Spray on body, bedsheets or use as a healthy, fragrant air-freshener.
Treenware – Check out the Manzinata salt bowl/spoon sets and the 10″x3″ Manzinata bowl! John is also featuring a new offering: a tree branch salad set made from 800 year old Yew.
Reap-It Products is featuring reusable trash bags for your car, and lunch bags! Jill will also have on hand various sizes of doggie raincoats, as well as bibs for dribblers of all ages – all fashioned from recycled feed bags.
Suzanna Leigh (Shown at right) has the perfect accessory for Summer: enchanting handpainted silk scarves. Drape her elegant art around your shoulders and you become a walking gallery! And this week, look for Suzanna and Falcorations Oddysey (below) in a “dragon themed” collaboration!
Falcorations Oddysey will feature some great new album clocks, including Rocky Horror Picture Show, Kiss, and a clock made from an old 45 record, plus new upcycled vinyl jewelry & cute little owls!
Mariposa Gardens has a variety of journals upcycled from used books. Come by and turn the cranks on the paper automata. Be the first on your block to make your own automata with a Breaching Orca kit! and NEW: Lacy knit scarves.
Cosmic Cove conjures up the Age of Aquarius with their kaleidoscope of tie-dyed fashions. Rainbows aplenty, and something for every age in this colorful array.
Blake Clark will be bringing her signature jewelry pieces, always handmade with love.
In our nonprofit booth we will be hosting the representatives of the Food Preservation Fair, of which VIGA is a proud sponsor. The Fair takes place next Saturday next to the Village Green, in the PT Parking lot. On hand this week at he market will be information about the fair, and all the many methods and benefits to “putting up your larder.”
And for a special sweet treat, visit the Drama Dock Bake Sale, as these ambitious and talented thespians raise money for their upcoming production of “Grease.”