Gig Harbor Farmers’ Market to move indoors

Community: Former Peninsula Gardens building to open as fall market on Saturday

of the GatewayOctober 2, 2013 

Gig Harbor Farmers’ Market organizer Dale Schultz is enthusiastic about the start of the indoor version of the gathering of fresh, local produce and arts and crafts. The market will be in the vacant building that once housed Peninsula Gardens. It will make its debut on Saturday.

LEE GILES III/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Weather won’t be a factor for vendors as the Gig Harbor Farmers’ Market prepares to open an indoor location from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. The market will open Oct. 5 at the former Peninsula Gardens building, 5503 Wollochet Drive.

Enthusiasm from vendors had spots filling up within a week, and many were on a waiting, said Dale Schulz, the organizer of the Gig Harbor Farmers’ Market.

The fall facility will include 37 vendors, many of them new. Others will be familiar from the spring and summer downtown and Uptown Gig Harbor markets.

“The indoor market vendors will not be weather dependent,” Schultz said. “More products will be available, as clothing, art, quilts and paper products won’t need to worry about inclement weather.”

New vendors will include handmade soaps from Olympia and Mt. Townsend Creamery from Port Townsend. Heidi’s Sweet Shop will offer holiday candy gift baskets. There will be a variety of additional seasonal products and produce as the market moves indoors.

Vendors will carry an array of arts and crafts, pottery, art, quilts, jewelry. Staples of produce, flowers, smoked salmon, food and baked goods will fill out the booths.

“I am looking forward to being able to continue to sell my quilts, as many of them are seasonal,” said Sunshine Quilter owner Jo West, who has been part of the outdoor markets. “I am hoping this new market will bring new and repeat customers.”

West also fills the demand for Gig Harbor Farmers’ Market logowear. Hats, T-shirts, fleece vests and shopping bags will be available.

The market will have reusable farmers’ logo shopping bags to the first 100 people who attend opening day.

Steve Stefanowicz will continue to offer free guitar lessons and a singalong time for kids during the first hour of the market. Live music each Saturday, including Rick Gonzalez and Mike Sutton, will entertain customers from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The Peninsula Metropolitan Parks District is leasing the 12,000-square-foot building to the farmers’ market on a temporary permit. The parks district recently got the approval and permits from Pierce County to get up to code to offer public services after the building hadn’t been in use for a few years.

“We are excited to provide this opportunity to the community with an indoor location and look forward to working with the market,” said Terry Lee, executive director of PenMet Parks.

The parks district bought the property after it searched to acquire a central site for maintenance and future offices. The 10 1/2-acre property is at the center of the parks district. Parks officials hope to provide a park there and to continue to offer a public venue such as a farmers’ market.

Lee said he’s excited to have the opportunity.

“An indoor facility offers different choices, more seasonal, that will include Thanksgiving and Christmas,” he said. “More vendors will have an opportunity to change out with the season.”

The future of the market will depend on the public response, Schultz said.

“This is a partnership with the community,” he said. “We have a temporary permit to carry the market until Dec. 21. Community support will decide the longevity of an indoor market.”

The Pierce County Council will review requirements for temporary permits in the next few months, Lee said. He added that the parks district will bring any proposal to the board to continue to provide the market, as long as there’s public demand and if county permitting issues can be sorted out.

Lee hopes the county will allow for a longer timeframe to include the market for permitting as part of the parks district.

“PenMet partnering with the farmers’ market makes sense and offers a great option for the public,” he said. “This 10-acre property has a lot of potential.”

Lifestyles Coordinator Kim Eibel can be reached by email at kim.eibel@gateline.com, phone at 253-358-4152 or on Twitter, @gateway_kim.

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