Coming this summer to Steilacoom: A new farmers market.
The Town of Steilacoom's farmers market will run Wednesdays from June 24 to Aug. 19.
The idea of the market spun from Kelly Barkhurst, a Steilacoom resident and caterer. In a town that is easy to navigate by foot and has many attractive amenities, she was surprised there wasn't already a farmers market when she moved to Steilacoom from Puyallup a year ago.
She liked the idea of a market built around the notion of fresh, healthy produce.
"I was thinking we don't have fresh produce available. It's such a luxury to walk into town to buy fresh produce. Farmers markets are becoming such vital parts of a community, it just seemed something we could add to our community here," she said.
She took the idea to town hall.
Barkhurst worked with the town to query residents through a survey about their support for a community farmers market. The town got a wallop of a response – about 300 people said they would support a market. With a big green light, Barkhurst set about tending to details.
The market will operate at the tennis courts near the intersection of Lafayette and Wilkes. It's about a block away from Pioneer Park where the Wednesday summer concert series is hosted.
The farmers market will operate from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. in conjunction with the concert series. Organizers considered a Saturday market day, but with the region saturated with a number of markets that operate on Saturdays, market organizers thought Wednesdays would be a better day for turnout. Also, with the concert series, there is an automatic audience for the market.
Barkhurst, who is getting help in organizing the market from a committee of volunteers, expects the market to start small, but can grow to 50 vendors in that location. Her partner in starting the market, Voraya Srisamang, is working on lining up vendors. So far, only a few vendors have committed, but the group is searching for more. The group's goal: at least 50 percent vendors who are farmers selling produce or things that are grown or raised on Washington State farms. The remainder of the vendors will be artisans, people selling prepackaged food products and various other vendors.
For the first year, there will be no food vendors selling ready-to-eat food – the paperwork process with the health department proved too long. But Barkhurst imagines next year's market will have ready-to-eat food.
Barkhurst also is shopping for volunteers – she'll have a volunteer meeting at 6 p.m. May 5 at the Steilacoom Community Center.
We'll keep you updated as opening day nears.
Steilacoom Farmers Market
When: Wednesdays, June 24-Aug. 19, 3 to 7 p.m.
Where: The intersection of Lafayette and Wilkes
Market information: 253-229-5175 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Vendor information: email@example.com
Vendor applications: http://www.townofsteilacoom.com/activities/events.htm
Volunteer meeting: If you want to volunteer, a meeting will be held 6 p.m. May 5 at the Steilacoom Community Center
For a list of South Sound farmers markets, click here. Note: The Puyallup Farmers market opens Saturday. Another Puyallup farmers market takes place Sunday.