Farmers market season begins in Kitsap| Kitsap Weekly

It’s time to dust off those wicker baskets and sun hats as we flock to farmers markets to buy local fresh-cut flowers, fresh-grown produce, yummy ready-to-eat foods, and the simple indulgences of organic honey, specialty salves and whimsical handmade gifts.

That’s right, as the sun emerges for a longer visit, farmers are also making their appearance as they haul their goods to the local farmers markets, supplying our tables with all that’s fresh, local, and unique from Kitsap County.

Nothing’s sweeter than a crisp red apple or juicy peach from your own backyard. But the local markets are the next best thing, serving up delightful ingredients packaged with a leisurely shopping experience where you can not only taste the merchandise but also chat with the growers.

Surely, long after those fresh leeks and lettuce are consumed, the sunny memory of the farmers market experience will live on.

Here’s a listing of all Kitsap farmers markets, beginning April 1 and running through mid-October.

Bainbridge Island Farmers Market: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, April 1 to Dec. 16, Town Square/City Hall.

The Mayor’s Ceremonial Cheese Toss, free pony cart rides and live music from popular island band Awkward Grace highlight the market’s opening day.

“We are excited about not only bringing our early fresh produce to market but also about some of our new vendors for 2017,” Peter Weber, market president and owner of Farmhouse Organics said.

“The market is a terrific place for neighbors to mingle, grab something to eat and take home local vegetables for dinner. It’s a great atmosphere and a big boost for local farmers and crafters. It’s become a community gathering place.”

The Bainbridge Island Farmers Market has more than 35 vendors consisting of local farmers and vintners, artists, craftspeople and musicians. The market features live music performers beginning at 10:30 a.m., and ready-to-eat fresh food. The Master Gardener Program of Kitsap County also returns to the Bainbridge Farmers Market for 2017.

Info: www.bainbridgefarmersmarket.org.

Bremerton Farmers Market: 4-7 p.m. Thursdays, May 4 to Oct. 12, Evergreen Park.

The Bremerton Farmers Market’s mission is to operate a community supported farmers market that provides viable economic outlets for farmers and producers, access to locally crafted and farm-fresh products, quality food for low-income families, and education concerning food and sustainable agriculture,

“It’s kind of a unique market in that we’re in a park-like setting,” Jess Sappington, market manager, said. “This allows for our market to draw more families to make a night out of it, to play at the playground, shop and eat.”

With local produce, local artisans and local handmade goods, the market under the trees and by the sea encourage shoppers to think local first. Their themed days offer an interesting family-friendly experience. Offering days like “Dog Days,” “Kids Days” and “Healthy Community Days,” the community is able to engage in the famers market on a different level.

The market hopes the Fresh Bucks program will help buyers acquire the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables shown to reduce the risks of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease — thereby decreasing healthcare costs in a way that directly supports our local farmers and our local economy.

The countywide Fresh Bucks program provides customers who receive SNAP benefits (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as “food stamps” and often referred to as “EBT”) with extra buying power. A SNAP cardholder gets an extra $2 for every $5 spent each market day — with no limit — to purchase any EBT-eligible foods (such as fruits, vegetables, breads, meats, eggs, etc.)

The market also supports and participates in WIC, EBT and Senior Food Vouchers.

Info: www.bremerton market.wordpress.com.

Central Kitsap Farmers Market: 3-7 p.m. Tuesdays, May 2 to Oct. 10, in Old Town Silverdale off Byron Street

As a new farmers market this year, the Central Kitsap Farmers Market is a 501(c)3 organization, pulled together just in time to make this season’s opening time. Members hope around 20 vendors will join in the start of the community market, and are currently accepting vendor applications.

Along with local produce and handmade items available for sale at the market, the Olympic Outdoor Center located nearby will be available beginning from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in May for kayak rentals, offering shoppers an interesting after-market experience.

While the market currently doesn’t offer the Fresh Bucks program, they hope to offer the service later in the season.

Kingston Farmers Market on the Cove: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, May to mid-October, Mike Wallace Park.

Located within view of the walk-off ramp of the Edmonds-Kingston ferry, the Kingston Farmers Market is a lively day trip from Edmonds as well as for Kitsap residents. Featuring local farmers, crafters and live music with an unparalleled view of Appletree Cove, the market is located right in the heart of Kingston’s downtown.

The market serves as a community gathering place. Their information booth includes local tourist information, and their community booth provides information on local organizations, including the Kitsap County Extension Master Gardener Program sponsored by WSU.

The market supports local performing arts with a music canopy each week for local entertainment.

Info: www.kingston farmersmarket.com.

Port Orchard Farmers Market: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, mid-April to mid-October, Port Orchard Waterfront Boardwalk.

The member-run market was the first open-air market in Kitsap and has served the county since 1978. Their vendors are local farmers, artisans, cooks and community groups providing local fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, flowers, plants, crafts, prepared foods and other services.

Workshops featuring master gardeners and chefs are scheduled this season.

The market proudly supports and participates in SNAP, WIC, EBT Fresh Bucks and Senior Food Vouchers.

“It’s the relationships that people develop with the farmers that keep them coming back,” Michelle Schmittler, market manager, said. “We try to make sure we provide a mix of things they could come down and get like they do at the grocery store.”

Info: www.pofarmers market.org.

Poulsbo Farmers Market: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, April 1 to Dec. 16, Gateway Fellowship, 18901 8th Ave. NE, Poulsbo.

The long-season, outdoor Poulsbo Farmers Market has a new, larger location this year. They recently signed a five-year rent-free lease for space on the west side of Gateway Fellowship’s property.

The market will have access to electricity — something missing on the Front Street site it occupied in 2016 — along with trees for shade. The market will have room for about 65 vendors as well as more parking and more room for vendors to load and offload products.

The availability of electricity means live music is back for the market, along with familiar events, such as the Tomato Taste-Off, the Harvest Dinner and the Pumpkin Party. Smaller events include talks from visiting authors, chef demonstrations and classes on subjects like preserving food, beekeeping, gardening and ice-cream making.

“We’ll have more visibility and more recognition because of the Fellowship there, we hope to reach more people than in the past,” Cliff Wind, market board member, said.

They support and participate in WIC, EBT Fresh Bucks and Senior Food Vouchers and accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover.

Info: www.poulsbo farmersmarket.org.

Silverdale Farmers Market: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays, May 2 to September, Best Buy parking lot, 9551 Ridgetop Blvd. NW, Silverdale.

The Silverdale Farmers Market is celebrating its 18th year serving the community. The market supports local farmers and artists by selling a variety of locally-sourced items from 100 percent grass-fed beef, organic garlic, veggie starts, fresh-cut flowers and hanging baskets, along with herbs and a variety of other produce and handmade crafts.

Info: www.silverdale farmersmarket.com.

Suquamish Farmers Market: 3-7 p.m. Wednesdays, May 3 to Sept. 27, across from the Tribal Government Offices (18481 Suquamish Way)

Located in a grassy field across the street from the Tribal Offices, this Wednesday market features all of the goods and produce you’d expect at a farmers market, as well as art by local Coast Salish artists.

Established in 2009, consumers can purchase fresh, locally grown produce along with prepared foods and hand-crafted products. They support and participate in WIC, EBT Fresh Bucks and Senior Food Vouchers.

Info: www.suquamish farmersmarket.org.

— Sophie Bonomi is editor of Kitsap Weekly. Contact her at sbonomi@soundpublishing.com.

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