PORT TOWNSEND — Chicken and waffles, pickles and relish, salmon and salt: The Port Townsend Farmers Market is about to appear in an expanded form.
From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, some 55 vendors will converge on Tyler and Lawrence streets in the Uptown district along with hand sanitizing, cloth mask-wearing and physical distancing.
It will mark the start of the Port Townsend market’s season, which will run through Dec. 18.
Deirdre Morrison, market manager, said this week that the 2021 market follows guidelines in the state’s Roadmap to Recovery — which means it can grow.
“As we have shifted into Phase 3, with certain parameters, I can put vendors closer together, so there are about 30 percent more vendors,” she said. “That’s really great.”
In the current phase, the farmers market also can have twice as many patrons as it did in 2020. Up to 50 percent of normal capacity is now allowed at one time, Morrison said.
“If it gets crowded, we ask people to wait” at the entrance, she said. It and the market exit are clearly marked and separate to ease socially distanced traffic flow.
As in past years, the market offers a dollar-for-dollar match to shoppers using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) electronic benefits transfer cards. EBT cardholders can visit the market information booth for the match and then shop for fruit, vegetables, herbs, mushrooms, vegetable plant starts and seeds from farm vendors.
In 2020, the Jefferson County Farmers Markets provided $45,669 in SNAP match to 520 local households, Morrison reported.
During the market’s final week of the season, overall revenue reached $710,363, she said, adding that was a nearly 50 percent decrease from 2019.
This spring brings a number of new vendors along with some who are returning after a hiatus. Among the latter is Nadine’s Kitchen, chef and singer Grace Love’s business.
Love and crew will arrive with Harlem-inspired fried chicken and whole-wheat cornmeal waffles, macaroni and cheese and collards with bacon and spices. Information and preorders are available at nadinessoulkitchen.com.
Also Saturday, Pixie Honey, a newcomer, will sell pure raw honey and other honeyed products; Willow Wind Farm, a returning vendor, has plant starts; and Raven’s Touch Jewelry will have wearable wire-and-gemstone art.
In May, Olympic Sea Salt will become another new market vendor with locally produced solar-evaporated sea salt, infused salts and locally foraged herbs and tea blends.
Well-known producers from Chimacum and Quilcene will be on hand, too: Red Dog Farm, SpringRain Farm & Orchard, Midori Farm and Finnriver Farms are among the longtime vendors scheduled to appear alongside other growers, including Hopscotch Farm & Cannery, where Meghan Mix makes pickles, relish and preserves.
About 8:15 a.m. Saturday, Pam Petranek, a fisherman and Port of Port Townsend commissioner, will pedal her bicycle, complete with its salmon-bearing trailer, to the market.
Cape Cleare Salmon, which Petranek and Rick Oltman operate, has been a farmers market vendor for more than two decades; Oltman designed and built the bike-trailer hauling system out of fish ladders about 15 years ago.
Customers who prefer to pre-order their goods can use the Jefferson County Farmers Markets’ online system at JCFmarkets.org. The shopping page opens at 1 p.m. Tuesdays and closes at 1 p.m. Thursdays, and patrons can pick up their orders at the Port Townsend Community Center, 620 Tyler St., next to the farmers market, between 9 a.m. and noon on Saturdays.
Morrison, meanwhile, is hearing from musicians who want to play at the farmers market, either in Port Townsend or at the Chimacum market, which will be open Sundays from June 6 through Oct. 31.
She doesn’t relish turning them down. It’s not time yet, she said.
“I am hoping as we get into June or July, we can have live music in a safe way,” along with chef demonstrations like those held in 2019.
Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]