Farmers Market Coordinator Amanda Milholland hands out market tokens at the Saturday market in Port Townsend, the only one of the three markets overseen by the Jefferson County Farmers Market Association that is not being eyed for moving to a new location. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Moves eyed for two of three Jefferson County Farmers Market Association sites

PORT TOWNSEND — The Jefferson County Farmers Market Association is considering moving two of its three markets, the Wednesday market in Port Townsend and the Sunday market in Chimacum, in hopes of attracting more shoppers.

Jefferson County Farmers Market Association is operating both markets at the loss, said Amanda Milholland, director and market manager.

“Our goal is to explore if market moves would support community access to local food as well as growth of our markets,” Milholland said.

“I am meeting with community partners in Port Townsend and Jefferson County to consider the feasibility of a handful of possible market locations.

“If we do choose to move either of our markets, the earliest the move would take place would be next year.”

Milholland said there are no plans to move Port Townsend’s Saturday Market. That market has stayed consistently busy since it began 25 years ago and have thrived in its uptown location on Tyler Street, she said.

The farmers market association is collecting public input on potentially moving the two markets on its website at http://jcfmarkets.org/.

Possible new locations for Port Townsend’s Wednesday market include Haines Place Park and Ride, 440 12th St., or Blue Heron Middle School, 3939 San Juan Ave. Milholland said one option also is to keep the market at its current location on Polk Street in Uptown Port Townsend.

Farmers market association officials also are considering moving Chimacum’s Sunday market to a location in Port Hadlock, or keeping it at its current site behind the Chimacum Corner Farmstand at 9122 Rhody Drive.

Both markets have seen a significant decrease in customers and subsequently fewer vendors since they began, Milholland said in a press release.

The Wednesday market in Port Townsend, now in its 14th year, started with 20 consistent vendors but this year has only seven participating each week. Milholland said some vendors have declined to participate, citing a low customer turnout.

The Sunday market in Chimacum has faced a similar issue.

The market started in 2008 at the Chimacum Grange but was adopted by the farmers market association in 2010 and moved to its current location at Chimacum Corner. Now in its 10th year, the market only has 10 to 12 consistent vendors and its sales are less than half of the sales seen in 2010.

The association “is facing the question of how to connect to new shoppers,” Milholland said in a press release.

“Moving our two smaller markets may be the ticket to support increased sales and customers at these markets as well as enhance value and convenience to our community.”

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at cmcfarland@peninsuladailynews.com.