Northwest NEWS

September 18, 2000

Local News

Woodinville Farmer's Market seeks a permanent home

by Bronwyn Wilson
   Senior Staff Reporter
   Every Saturday, from April 1 to October 14, an empty parking lot comes alive. Music and fresh vegetables and exquisite birdhouses that were once featured in the pages of Martha Stewart Living bring the paved area to life.
   Currently, 36 vendors make up Woodinville's Farmer's Market which meets downtown, next to City Hall. The vendors range from a honey lady who sells a variety of honeys to a lady who offers a variety of fancy vinegars and oils.
   One booth sells barbecue sauces, another has ornamental garden art, kettle corn is popped and sold on the spot and fruit growers display apples and peaches and plums. There's a booth with homemade suet for birds and a booth with handmade soaps. Whether there's a cooking demonstration, a musical performance or Ron the Poet is reciting his poetry, the parking lot is a festival of fun.
   But in their current location, the Market isn't able to remain open year 'round. And to fit in with the city's tourist overlay plan, market manager Grant Davidson said the vendors would like a permanent facility to house a bigger and better market. For these reasons, they have decided to seek a permanent building.
   "We're just in the exploratory stage right now," said Davidson.
   However, he has a pretty good idea of what they're looking for. They want a heated building that will house 80 vendors. They plan to be open 4 to 5 days per week, three-quarters of the year.
   There's even a pretty good chance they could be open the entire year. They are looking to build a building, rather than move into an existing one. And they're now looking at possible localities.
   "We haven't pinpointed a site yet," he said. But some of the aspects of the building have been pinpointed. Davidson knows that the building will be community oriented with a commercial kitchen and a large meeting room, plus bathrooms. The new building will have sides that open up so that it can be used as an open-air market, possibly with an outside stage for buskers to serenade shoppers.
   The building would also be used to teach classes on how to grow and to plant, and horticultural specialists would share their skills. He wants the community's involvement with an emphasis on youth. Davidson said that the Farmer's Market would sell products made or grown in the state of Washington. He said the building would tie-in well with the wineries and Molbak's, establishments which make Woodinville a destination place. "We bring a lot of business to downtown businesses," he added.
   He explained that once in the new building, the market will have a meat counter, a fresh fish stand and a bakery. "It will be one-stop shopping for food," he said.
   There will also be flowers in an array of colors and jams in an array of flavors. There will be anything and everything that's not commercial. The Farmer's Market first began as a group of people who thought it would be great to have a market in Woodinville. They liked the idea of supporting farmers who grow in-state produce. They are now in their seventh season. According to Davidson, the Friends of the Market Board is currently looking into ways to fund the new building. One possible idea, he said, is selling bricks or plaques with donors' names engraved. The market, a non-profit entity, is seeking a cooperative effort with the city or county, or both. Attended by 1500 to 2000 people in one Saturday, the 2000 season will end on October 14th with a Holiday Craft Show.