Farmers markets in Puyallup and Key Peninsula open this weekend.
The Sunrise Village Farmers Market on Puyallup's South Hill opens its first season Saturday May 30. Market Manager Janie Morris told me last month that the market would start small, probably with fewer than 20 vendors, but would increase as the season progresses. Morris said a number of South Sound farmers have committed. They include the Sunrise Flower Farm, River Road Farmers Terry Carkner and Doug and Keith Chadd. Also, farmers Maria Alverez and Ramon Ayala will bring produce from Yakima to the market. Stone Ground Bakery from Yelm will sell bread at the market. Click here for hours and the location of Sunrise, as well as other South Sound markets.
Also opening this weekend is the Key Peninsula Farmers Market, which opens Sunday May 31. Chanetta Ludwig, who many will recognize as "The Bee Lady" will return to the market this year to sell her honey and flavored honey sticks, as well as produce from her Lakebay farm. Click "read more" to find out how Ludwig farms her honey and to find a list of other South Sound farmers markets where she sells her honey.
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What's at the market: Honey from The Bee Lady in Lakebay at the Key Peninsula Farmers Market, which opens its season May 31. Market hours are noon-4 p.m. The market is located in the parking lot of O'Callahan's Pub & Grill, 15610 92nd St., Lakebay; www.kpfarmersmarket.org.
Who are the farmers? Peter and Chanetta Ludwig, who operate their bee and produce farm in Lakebay. Chanetta handles the honey; Peter handles the produce. They market their products under the names The Bee Lady (honey) and Barefoot Boys Garden (produce). The couple moved in 1993 from Seattle to Lakebay on the Key Peninsula to raise their seven children on a farm.
What's the buzz: They started as apple farmers, and were in need of pollinators to increase their fruit yield. Enter bees. Chanetta took a class in beekeeping and the buzz was on. Not only did the bees give her a better yield of her fruit ? about 25 to 50 percent higher ? but the honey was a marketable byproduct. The couple started selling it five years ago to co-workers at Boeing, where Peter works.
Hive crazy: She started with two hives, then grew that to 100 by acquiring hives from other beekeepers. Her bees pollinated the wildflowers on her farm in early spring, but she wanted to extend her honey season after the wildflowers were spent by July. She began transporting her bee hives ? something that has to be done carefully and in the dead of night while the bees are dormant ? to Mount Rainer where her bees could pollinate fireweed. "There is a lot of fireweed there, it's 4 feet high and pink. It's really pretty. You go to the mountains where they've logged and you'll see fireweed ? it's a sea of pink," she said. "If the rainfall has been enough, you'll get an excellent crop of fireweed. You get your bees set up there mid-July. Fireweed starts to bloom then until the middle of August."
For sale now: Wildflower honey available for sale at the market, as well as flavored honey sticks. She may or may not do fireweed honey this year, depending on how her hives do.
Errr, bears: In the great battle between bears and Chanetta's honey, the bears have won. Her hives have shrunk, from 100 to seven, thanks to aggressive bears and other colony problems. "I'm having to start over again," said Chanetta. This time, she'll outsmart the bears. "I have to put up a fence. I got too confident," she said.
Enter produce: Peter and Chanetta have started a Community Supported Agriculture program where customers can buy shares in exchange for a weekly supply of fresh produce from the farm. Chanetta and Peter also sell produce at farmers markets. They tout their salad mix as an unusual blend. It has mustard greens, watercress, sorrel, arugula, fennel, mint leaves, cilantro and, when they're in season, edible flowers. Later in the season, they'll also sell heirloom tomatoes.
What else they sell: Lip balm with beeswax, hand lotion and beeswax candles.
Other markets where Peter and Chanetta sell: Tacoma Broadway and Tacoma Sixth Avenue markets (when it opens next month), Gig Harbor and Puyallup Pioneer Park Market.
Contact the farmer: 253-884-2293.
Also at the Key Peninsula market this weekend: Freshly baked bread, fresh and smoked Alaskan salmon, fresh eggs, vegetable starts, salad greens, herbs, rhubarb, chard, kale, potatoes, broccoli, beets and carrots.
What's new at the Key Peninsula market: Coming in June is the Herron Hill Dairy, a goat dairy, selling goat cheese and curds.
Honey Mustard Salad Dressing
? cup salad oil
? cup vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
? teaspoon paprika
? teaspoon dry mustard
Dash ground pepper
? cup honey
? teaspoon celery seed
Combine salad oil, vinegar, salt, sugar, paprika, dry mustard, pepper, honey and celery seed in a glass jar with a tight fitting cover. Blend by shaking well. Chill at least 1 hour or more.
Source: Chanetta Ludwig