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Head toward the water to find area’s newest farmers market

Artondale Farm owner Jess Hogan checks her fresh vegetables at the Gig Harbor Farmers Market. Hogan will have fresh produce and her farm’s handmade soaps at the first farmers market in Ruston. The farmers market launches Sunday at 5033 N. Pearl St.
Artondale Farm owner Jess Hogan checks her fresh vegetables at the Gig Harbor Farmers Market. Hogan will have fresh produce and her farm’s handmade soaps at the first farmers market in Ruston. The farmers market launches Sunday at 5033 N. Pearl St. Staff file, 2015

Ruston is starting its own farmers market. The Ruston-Point Defiance Business District will debut the North Pearl Farmers Market at 10 a.m. Sunday in a parking lot at 5033 N. Pearl St.

The market will continue every Sunday through Sept. 25.

The business district had talked about starting a farmers market, but the idea stayed dormant until University of Puget Sound students from a business class taught by Lynnette Claire suggested business owners give it a try.

Juel Lugo, vice president of the business district, said the student suggestion was to connect the business district with the greater community with an ongoing event and their idea was simple: start a market.

The business district had plenty of parking and open spaces. The students encouraged the district to capitalize on visitors on their way to Point Defiance Park on Sundays.

The business district hired consultant Kira Mountjoy-Pepka to recruit vendors and help the district establish the market. Businesses pitched in. One offered the parking lot, another is helping with electricity.

The first market will feature more than 20 vendors. In all, there will be room for about two dozen, but businesses will rotate through (with new vendors appearing at every market).

“We put together people and businesses who are fun and interesting to work with,” said Mountjoy-Pepka. That includes Tacoma coffee roaster Cora Coffee. A multigenerational family farm operated by a family of veterans, Best Family Farms, will sell produce. A Parkland company, Paleo Pushers, will bring its paleo cookies. An ice cream maker from Seattle, Bluebird, will scoop ice cream. Purdy Organics will bring its pickled vegetables. Vashon’s Mighty Truffle will bring its chocolate treats. Steepers Tea will also set up a booth.

Artondale Farm is a Gig Harbor business that will appear at Sunday’s market. The farm will have its handmade soaps — it makes more than 50 varieties — and will have produce fresh from its farm, including four varieties of cucumbers, Swiss chard, French and Romano beans, cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes and four kinds of zucchini.

“The mix is one-third farmers, one-third artisans and one-third food processors,” said Mountjoy-Pepka. At least a half dozen farms are expected to rotate through with produce, but a real focus will be on food producers. Businesses that make food by hand will be featured as the North Pearl market season continues.

And here’s something new. The farmers market will feature an author’s table for local writers.

North Pearl Farmers Market

Where: 5033 N. Pearl St., Ruston; explorenorthpearl.com.

Market days: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 25.

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