Farmers markets seek increased participation

Meeting set for Monday in Sequim

SEQUIM — Ellie Rose hopes that someday soon Sequim-area residents can get their week’s worth of local food from their own farmers market. Unfortunately, Rose — program coordinator for the Sequim Farmers Market — said that isn’t possible right now.

“There’s a bigger need than what we supply,” Rose said. “We have gaps that need to be filled.”

The Sequim Farmers Market, Port Angeles Farmers Market and Washington State University Clallam County Extension are hosting an informational meeting for farmers interested in learning more about participating in local farmers markets next week.

The meeting is set for 6 p.m. Monday at the Sequim Prairie Grange, 290 Macleay Road. At this free event, market managers along with farm market vendors will be available to answer questions and share their experience with potential vendors. A light dinner will be provided.

“While there are a variety of farm vendors offering products from mixed produce to honey and value added foods at each farmers market, there is room at each market for more farmers,” market representatives said in a press release. Rose said the Sequim Farmers Market, which is open from mid-May through October at the Sequim Civic Center plaza, 152 W. Cedar St., has 12 vendors that sell various products, including two vendors who sell eggs, two with locally made honey, three that turn locally-grown items into value-added products (such as seasoning, medicine or body care) and flowers, to go along with local small farmers’ products. However, she noted, “We have some gaps during the summer.”

That includes a dropoff in certain types of fruit. The market features meat vendors but they are unable to be there every week, Rose said, and the venue hasn’t had a seafood vendor in a few years.

Filling out the rest of the vendor spaces, the Sequim market features local artisans.

“The Sequim Farmers Market is already very well known and recognized for exceptional quality of artisans in our area — we’re really proud of that — [but] a lot of people want to come do their weekly shopping for food,” Rose said. “That’s one area the market has room for improvement.”

Hence, the Monday meeting. Rose said the Sequim area, known for its agriculture, likely has a number of residents who are farming on “a relatively small scale” and perhaps hadn’t considered selling their items at the market.

“This is more of an educational opportunity,” she said. “This is also for home gardeners who [might] have a greenhouse filled with tomatoes and don’t know what to do with them.”

For more information and to register, contact Amanda Milholland, Washington State Farmers Market Association West Sound Regional Lead, at [email protected] or 360-379-9098.

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Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which also is composed of other Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].

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