By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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“It really gets me excited to see a growth for farmers,” said Jefferson County Farmers Market manager Will O'Donnell.
“The sales keep going up, and the local farms keep doing better, which is great for everyone.”
O'Donnell reported total vendor sales for all three markets — Port Townsend's Saturday and Wednesday markets, as well as the Chimacum market — as $1,057,000 for 2013, which is up about 1 percent from the previous year.
“We are looking at slow but steady growth,” he said.
Each vendor at the Saturday market pays a $25 booth rental plus 4 percent of any sales over $100. No percentage is assessed at the other markets.
More than half of the revenue comes from farm sales, O'Donnell said.
The Saturday market operates on Tyler Street between Lawrence and Clay streets from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. through October and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in November and December.
The annual Goat Parade will start promptly at 9 a.m. with both types of kids — those with hooves and those without — making their way down a block that is crammed with more than 50 vendors.
Music will be provided by Otto & Kristin Smith and Friends.
O'Donnell said the mild winter made for an abundant April, with all the farms stocking plenty of spring produce.
He characterized this year's market as having “a bumper crop of new vendors.”
Port Townsend brewer Propolis will sell and provide samples of its seasonal herbal ales.
Also offering samples — restricted to 2 ounces by law — will be Port Townsend's Alpenfire Cider.
The food options have expanded from earlier years.
Victor and Olga Paz of Olgita's will sell handmade tortillas, salsas and pupusas, which are tortillas stuffed with any variety of meat, cheese and beans.
Meredith Hotchkiss of Bread and Honey Bakery will offer pies, cakes and pastries.
Blyn's new Gathering Ground Farm will bring vegetables, berries and flowers, while Olympic Onion will sell its Sequim-grown dried green onion powders.
Cherepashka Candle Co. will sell handmade soy and coconut wax candles scented with essential oils.
Those returning to the market after a break include Daily Bird Pottery, selling culinary and decorative wares and Kim Thomson's felted wool art forms.
Also returning is Roy Swords' Japanese maples.
Vendors all originate from the North Olympic Peninsula, O'Donnell said.
While the number of farms selling at the market stays about the same, many of them have increased their production capacity — a growth indicator, he added.
The Saturday market is one of three managed by Jefferson County Farmers Markets.
The Chimacum Farmers Market operates every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. between June 2 and Oct. 27.
The market is located at the Chimacum Corner, across from the Chevron where state Highway 19 meets Chimacum Road and Center Road.
And the Wednesday afternoon market operates on Polk Street between Lawrence and Clay streets in Port Townsend from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. beginning in July.
O'Donnell said the Saturday market draws people from all over the region, although many of them don't come to Port Townsend specifically for the weekly event.
“We have people from all over telling us how great the market is, how they wish they had something like this at home,” O'Donnell said.
For more information, visit www.jeffersoncountyfarmersmarket.org or phone 360-379-9098.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.