Farmer’s markets are a popular attraction in Gig Harbor, which boasts three markets during the summer and fall.
Two of those markets are preparing to start the first weekend of April — the Gig Harbor Farmer’s Market opens Saturday (April 2) and the Sunday Market at Uptown on April 3.
Dale Schultz has been market manager for the Gig Harbor Farmer’s Market for 15 years and added the Uptown market four years ago.
The markets are familiar territory for Schultz, who has been a vendor at the Gig Harbor market for 25 years with his farm, Gig Harbor Flower and Vegetable Farm.
Every supermarket is trying to become a farmer’s market. We need to make our (market) competitive with the supermarkets.
Dale Schultz, market manager for Gig Harbor Farmer’s Market and the Sunday Market at Uptown
“Every supermarket is trying to become a farmer’s market. We need to make our (market) competitive with the supermarkets,” Schultz said. “There’s no one to talk to at the grocery store about where your food comes from. We’ve helped many young families get their garden started.”
To help the market keep the competitive edge with nearby supermarkets, Schultz and his co-market manager — his daughter, Courtney Evershed — are taking the market in a new direction this year.
“We’re changing our direction to a European-style market,” Schultz said. “We’ll sell other things besides food. We have lots of crafters that sell one-of-a-kind items here.”
The new direction is a joint effort to offer more products to their regular customers and also to attract a new clientele to the market, Evershed said.
“I’m just really excited about the way we’re going with the European market,” she said. “(And) being able to offer customers a wider range of products and items, I’m excited for everyone to see (the market).”
The market will feature about 20 new vendors, who will join the 75 total vendors selling everything from flowers and produce to local cheese, wine and flowers.
I’m just really excited about the way we’re going with the European market. (And) being able to offer customers a wider range of products and items, I’m excited for everyone to see (the market).
Courtney Evershed, co-manager for Gig Harbor Farmer’s Market and the Sunday Market at Uptown
Especially exciting for the father-daughter duo are the addition of two bakeries to this year’s market.
“It’s very difficult to find a bakery ... to find one that does a full line of baking is tough,” Schultz said. “The life of a baker is tough. You have to be up all night baking and then up all day selling.”
The two bakeries featured at the market this year are Forest Fairy Bakery from Issaquah — a full bakery offering everything from breads to pies — and Hope Bakery, a Gig Harbor bakery offering scones, muffins and granola.
The Saturday market is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year — it started in 1991 — and continues as an indoor-outdoor market at the old Peninsula Gardens location off Wollochet Drive, which is now owned by PenMet Parks.
“We’ve been at a number of locations since 1991,” Schultz said. “PenMet Parks has been very good to us.”
It’s going to be a really vibrant market place. It’s going to be the place to be. It’s going to be great.
Heidi Gerling, market manager for the Waterfront Farmer’s Market
Along with the new crafts and antiques, the Saturday market will continue to offer food, an open mike and local master gardeners, along with an array of vendors.
The Sunday market at the Uptown shopping complex features many of the same vendors as the Saturday market, but is smaller in size, and both markets operate rain or shine. Gig Harbor’s third farmer’s market — the Waterfront Farmer’s Market — runs on Thursday evenings from June through August in Skansie Brothers Park.
Market manager Heidi Gerling said that the market will remain food centered and will be accepting both EBT and SNAP this year. The market will feature a new demonstration kitchen with local chefs teaching recipes with ingredients available at the market and will also include more educational programs for seniors and children.
I’m not running a supermarket with products. I’m running a farmer’s market with people.
“It’s going to be a really vibrant market place,” Gerling said. “It’s going to be the place to be.”
With different activities and vendors, the managers of both markets work to serve their community.
“I’m not running a supermarket with products,” Schultz said. “I’m running a farmer’s market with people.”
Gig Harbor Farmer’s Markets
▪ The Gig Harbor Farmer’s Market runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday from April to December at the former Peninsula Gardens, located at 5503 Wollochet Drive NW.
▪ The Sunday Market at Uptown runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Sunday from April to September in the gazebo at the Uptown Shopping Center, located at 4701 Pt. Fosdick Drive.
▪ The Waterfront Farmer’s Market runs from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Thursday from June through August in Skansie Brothers Park, located at 3211 Harborview Drive.