25 Years Fresh
Port Townsend Saturday Farmers Market
Open April-October, 9 am-2 pm, November-December 10 am-2 pm
Port Townsend Wednesday Farmers Market
Open June-September, 2-6pm
Chimacum Farmers Market
Open June-October, 10 am-2 pm
Thank You For a Fabulous 25th Market Season
Happy Solstice and New Year. On this, the darkest day of the year, I am thankful for the community, local farms and food that help make Jefferson County a vibrant place to live. On Saturday, December 16th we wrapped up our 25th farmers market season. Thank you for your support! By shopping locally at the Port Townsend and Chimacum Farmers Markets you helped us break our sales record, strengthen local farms and small sustainably-minded businesses as well as bring our community together in celebration. I am pleased to share some of the successes of the season with you as well as updates about new programs coming to market in 2018.
It is with your support that we broke our total sales and Port Townsend Saturday Farmers Market sales records this year. In 2017, sales at the Port Townsend Saturday Farmers Market were nearly 10.5% (over $100,000) greater than any previous year. Together, our market vendors exceeded $1,170,000 in sales at our Saturday Farmers Market. Sales were also up from 2016 by 21% at the Chimacum Farmers Market and 7% at the Port Townsend Wednesday Farmers Market. Jefferson County Farmers Market sales growth ripples out to benefit our whole community as it supports nearly 80 market businesses, including more than 30 local farms. Direct sales between market vendors and community members also support hundreds of local jobs, and keep money circulating in our local economy. According to the Farmers Market Coalition, for every $100 spent at local farmers markets, approximately $68 stays in local communities and $99 in the state. This means that by shopping at our three markets this season, you helped keep more than $902,000 in our local economy and $1,32,000 in our state economy this year. Wow!
JCFM increased local food access this market season by providing shoppers who use federal food assistance dollars at market with over $12,000 in matching funds for fresh, local food. As a result, local families, senior citizens and individuals who are low-income brought home about $34,000 in nutritious, farm-fresh food from market this season. Support from community members and market sponsors make our food assistance programs possible. Our thanks go out to the individuals who contributed $5-$1,000 in support of local food access for low-income community members as well as to our 2017 Gimme5 Sponsors: Jefferson Healthcare, Kristin Manwaring Insurance, the Port Townsend Food Co-op, United Good Neighbors, and 1st Security Bank. We also receive a small Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant from the USDA in support of our Fresh Bucks food assistant matching program.
This season, JCFM hosted monthly chef demonstrations with Jefferson Healthcare's Executive Chef, Arran Stark. In total, we hosted 13 cooking demonstrations at the Port Townsend Saturday and Wednesday Farmers Markets. These include the chef demonstrations which took place during the Port Townsend Artisan Food Festival, Tomato Taste Off, and Squash Tasting. Through these demonstrations, Chef Stark, as well as chefs Kelly Bell of Gray Wolf Ranch and Gabriel Schuenemann of Alder Wood Bistro, introduced us to delicious new ways to prepare local vegetables.
We tried out a new Chimacum Farmers Market location at the Chimacum Corner Farmstand this year. While we missed the relaxed atmosphere of the grass, we saw significant sales growth. We are still deciding on the location of the Port Townsend Wednesday and Chimacum Farmers Markets for our 2018 season. That said, the Chimacum Farmers Market will stay at the Corner Farmstand in a location that best supports market visibility, sales, and our growing kids program.
While we hosted a monthly Kids' Day at the Chimacum Farmers Market in 2016 and 2017, next season we are going to expand this program to offer weekly kids activities at the Port Townsend Wednesday and Chimacum Farmers Markets. Our new Power Of Produce Club (POP Club) will help transform our markets into a welcoming learning environment for children. Through games, produce tasting, and hands-on activities, children will learn about the local food system, nutrition, the seasonality of local food, and related topics. This program, supported in part by a grant from the First Federal Community Foundation and by our sponsor, Port Townsend Chiropractic, will also provide participating children who are five to 12 years old with $2 vouchers for fresh produce at the market when they participate in POP Club activities. We welcome additional support for this program as well as volunteers to lead kids' activities.
One more exciting thing to look forward to in 2018 is the trial of a fruit and vegetable prescription program. In partnership with Jefferson Healthcare and the Port Townsend Food Coop, JCFM is working to expand local food access in 2018. While the scope of this program will be small at first, we hope to develop a model that we can build upon in future years. Stay tuned for more information about the fruit and vegetable prescription program and POP Club in 2018.
These successes are ones we can celebrate together. It takes a community that values local food and invests in local businesses to grow a thriving farmers market. Thank you for shopping locally, eating seasonally and creating community at our farmers markets this year! Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to JCFM in 2018 to further support our three farmers markets, local food access for low-income community members, and/or POP Club. Thank you again for a great season and contact me with your questions.
See you at the market in 2018! ~Amanda Milholland
PS: Our application for vending at the Port Townsend or Chimacum Farmers Markets is now available on our website. Click here to review our vendor guidelines and apply.