Thursday, November 7, 2013

Olympia Farmer's Market: Open for Winter Season

Above: Evan Adams, left, of Sound Fresh Clams, and his granddaughter, Kate, 11, help a customer on Sunday at the Olympia Farmer's Market.
 By Janine Unsoeld

The Olympia Farmer’s Market will be open on Saturdays, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. starting January 11. This comes as welcome news for some vendors, 22 of whom have submitted applications to participate in the new 2014 winter season.
At a board meeting October 21, the market’s board members decided to try the new season, which is especially welcomed by craft and seafood vendors. The shellfish industry is at its peak in January, February and March.

“Participation is voluntary - vendors don’t have to be here but if they fill out an application to participate, we’ll expect them to be here,” said Charlie Haney, general manager of the Olympia Farmer’s Market. She said she has received applications from about 22 vendors, including two shellfish and seafood vendors.
“We have a pretty good mix – farmers, food vendors, and crafters.”

Haney says the market has tried different ideas like being open on Wednesday evenings, and Friday evenings, with limited success, and said about 30 vendors were present at the October meeting. The winter season idea was suggested by a farmer who received a grant for more hoop houses to grow more food.

Above: Barb at Sea Blossom Seafoods helps a customer on Sunday at the Olympia Farmer's Market. Sea Blossom Seafoods, which specializes in fresh and smoked salmon, will also be open during the new winter season.
“I’ll be here…It’s good for business and it’s good for the community,” said Ross Paddock of Sea Blossom Seafoods.
Evan Adams of Sound Fresh Clams says he’ll be there in January too.

“It’ll keep me out of trouble!” Adams joked on Sunday afternoon as his wife Fran, and granddaughter Kate, 11, helped with customers.
Adams started his business in the mid 1990’s. When his son came back after the first Gulf War, the family looked for something they could do together – and started the one and a half acre business on Little Skookum Inlet. Shellfish production is dedicated primarily for his business at the farmer’s market, which offers Pacific, Olympia, and manila clams. He also offers extra small Pacific oysters, provided by the Squaxin tribe.

“People like something to eat that they have confidence in,” said Adams.

Above: Kim Baxter of The Fresh Approach produce stand helps a customer at the Olympia Farmer's Market on Sunday. Baxter is retiring after more than 15 years at the market, but the produce stand will carry on with new partners in January.
The Fresh Approach produce stand at the corner stall next door to Sound Fresh Clams will also be open during the new winter season, although co-owner Michael Kinnick laughed, saying he’ll be in Hawaii.

“Whatever we have in supply, we’ll sell. We won’t have Fuji’s (apples), but we’ll have cranberries!” said Jeremy Daws, a new partner with the company. Founder Kim Baxter, who started the stand 15 years ago, is retiring this year.

Kinnick said he hopes the community will come on down to the market during the winter season.
“We’re team players – we’ll participate, but it’s going to be work. I’d like to see some follow-through. We’ve tried different things before – but a lot of regular customers will come down.”

The farmer’s market is currently open Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The last day of the regular season is December 23.