Olympia Farmers Market decides to open year-round

rboone@theolympian.comNovember 20, 2013 

Fans of the beloved Olympia Farmers Market can rejoice because the market will now be open year-round.

Market vendors and the market’s board have agreed to be open Saturdays in January, February and March. The first Saturday of business is set for 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Jan. 11.

The market has traditionally closed after Christmas, then would reopen for business on the first Thursday in April, market general manager Charlie Haney said.

Market vendors have talked about doing something like this for a long time, she said, and the idea finally was proposed to the vendors and board at a general membership meeting in October.

The board heard three proposals: to open one Saturday a month, to open on all Saturdays, or to start in 2015 and open on Saturdays. The board voted to approve the second proposal.

“It’s going to be an awesome, awesome change,” said Deb Petersen, a longtime business owner and vendor at the market. She was on a committee that presented the proposals to the board.

Petersen owns Shepherd’s Soap Co., a maker and seller of bath and body products that does business as Riverdance Soapworks.

Petersen said there is no reason not to operate all year. The Farmers Market building provides shelter for the vendors, and though it will be cold, it’s cold in December when the market already is open, she said.

More important: The customers miss it when the market closes.

“They hate it when we’re closed,” Petersen said.

General manager Haney said so far about 25 of the market’s 70 vendors have signed up to participate on Saturdays in January, February and March.

Among those, Petersen said, are Johnson’s Berry Farms, Kirsop Farm, San Francisco Street Bakery, Honey Bear, and The Fresh Approach.

“I feel confident it will be a huge success,” she said.

The market will continue to be open Thursdays through Sundays April through October, then Saturdays and Sundays in November and December, and now Saturdays in January, February and March.

If the new schedule proves successful, the board might consider adding a second day so that it would be open Saturdays and Sundays in January, February and March, assistant manager Ashley Powell said.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com

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