Opening Day Only One Month Away!
Can you believe it? The opening Day of the Port Townsend Saturday Farmers Market is one month from today! This year’s opening is something to truly celebrate as it marks the beginning of our 25th anniversary season. Together, we have nurtured sustainable, local farms, artisan food makers and artists while growing community for a quarter century. Wow!
The Opening Day of the Port Townsend Saturday Farmers Market will take place on April 1 from 9am to 2pm on Tyler Street. Join us at 9am for the opening ceremony with a red ribbon cutting hosted by the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and led by Port Townsend Mayor, Deborah Stinson. You are invited to come in animal or farm-themed costume to join the goat parade following the ribbon cutting. Of course, costumes are not required (but it is April Fools’ Day so you might as well). At market we will have great live music, a chef demonstration by Jefferson Healthcare’s Executive Chef, Arran Stark, and a handful of new vendors. This season, look out for local honey from Tarboo Creek Honey and Sovereign Honey; mushrooms from Duckabush Mushrooms, crepes from La Crepe de Quimper, pierogies from For Real Dough, pizza from Flutter by Pizza Pie, hand-forged garden tools from Newquist Forge and hand-printed children’s clothing from Townsend Toad Kidswear.
Being that this is our 25th year, we want to celebrate and commemorate what it is that keeps each of us coming back to market year after year. I want to hear from you! What gets you excited for market season? Starting on Opening Day, the Jefferson County Farmers Markets invite your love letters, letters of appreciation, poetry and haiku in thanks of local food, art and craft. Look for the mailbox by the Farmers Market Booth and drop in a letter for us to deliver to one of the 70+ local farmers, artisan food makers and artists that participate in the Port Townsend Saturday Farmers Market. You are welcome to bring your pre-written letter to market or stop by the market booth for a pen and paper to write your letter at market. You can choose to just share your letter with a particular vendor or also have it included in one of our weekly newsletters. Your writing doesn’t need to be to a specific vendor. Write about spring salad greens, the first fresh berries of the season, local flour in your home baking, or having your morning scone and coffee while walking the market. Please stop by the market booth if you have questions or want to borrow a pen. We are looking forward to hearing from you and sharing some of your writing in our newsletter this season.
At the beginning of our 25th year let’s take a quick look at how far we’ve come. When founded in 1992, a couple local farmers and a rotating small group of artisans gathered in the parking lot next to Elevated Ice Cream in the spring and summer months to sell produce and hand-made goods. Dedicated vendors battled the high winds of their seaside location as they worked together to manage and grow the market. After several location changes, the Port Townsend Saturday Farmers Market moved to its current location on Tyler Street in 2003. Shortly after this move, the Wednesday Farmers Market opened on Polk Street. The Chimacum Market was started on Sundays in 2008 by the Chimacum Grange to provide more opportunities to purchase local food in the unincorporated county. In 2010, JCFM took over operation of the market and helped it find a larger space and customer base at its current Chimacum Corner location.
While our markets provide a direct outlet for local, farm-fresh and artisan food as well as hand-made crafts, they also support the greater economy. Direct sales between market shoppers and the nearly 80 producers that participate in our markets benefit our local economy by increasing the amount of money that stays in our community. 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. Furthermore, market patronage supports local jobs and strengthens our local food system.
The Chimacum and Port Townsend Farmers Markets also strengthen local food security and access by providing matching funds for fresh, local food to low-income shoppers when shoppers use their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT or Food Stamps) card, WIC or Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) vouchers at market. Since the inception of the market’s Gimme5 food assistance program in 2013, a total of $45,764 in food assistance matching funds have been redeemed at the Chimacum and Port Townsend Farmers Markets. Combined with Federal SNAP, WIC and Senior FMNP dollars spent, JCFM’s food assistance program has helped market shoppers bring home more than $158,000 in fresh, local food since 2009.
The Gimme5 food assistance program is made possible by donations from market patrons ranging from $5 to $1,000 as well as local businesses and small grants. JCFM thanks Jefferson Healthcare, United Good Neighbors, the Port Townsend Food Co-op, Pane d’Amore Bakery, First Federal Community Foundation, and our market patrons for supporting local food access for all people in our community in 2016. For 2017, we would like to thank Jefferson Healthcare, Port Townsend Food Co-op and Kristin Manwaring Insurance for their contributions toward Gimme5.
Pleases help us thank the sponsors who support our market operations, local food access, and free weekly live music. Thank you Jefferson Healthcare, Port Townsend Food Co-op, Kristin Manwaring Insurance, Aldrich’s Market, Port Townsend Chiropractic, the Resort at Port Ludlow, Kitsap Bank, Kitsap Credit Union, Organic Valley, Ravenscroft Inn, Gaiaceous Gardens, Windermere Real Estate, and the Port Townsend Leader. We are still seeking additional sponsors for to support market music, the Artisan Food Festival and Gimme5. Please contact Market Director, Amanda Milholland, for more information.
Thank you for your support over the last 25 years! We look forward to 25 more years of growing local, sustainable farms and small businesses together. Make sure to mark your calendars for Opening Day on April 1st. I will keep you in suspense about the other events and exciting things in store for us this season. ~ Amanda Milholland, JCFM Director
Getting hungry thinking about market opening? Try this recipe from the kitchen of Chef Dan Ratigan at The Fireside at the Port Ludlow Resort.
Local Beet and Mystery Bay Goat Cheese Napoleon
3 large Chioggia beets
6 oz. Mystery Bay goat cheese, softened
4 tsp. minced fresh chives
2 tsp. minced fresh thyme
4 turns, freshly ground black pepper
12 oz. Finnriver cider
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Preparation: In a handled pot, cover beets with water and cook until just done. Cool just enough to handle. Using a clean towel, rub the skin from the beets and chill until cool all the way through.
Bring Cider and sugar to a boil in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce until it coats a spoon. Let cool. Transfer to a squeeze bottle.
Using a Mandolin, slice beets to approximately ¼ inch thick.
Using a round cookie cutter, cut out 12 of the beet slices;
In a bowl, stir goat cheese together with the chives, thyme, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Presentation: Put 1 beet slice in same round cookie cutter. Top with goat cheese and a second slice of beet. Continue this process until you have three to four layers. Transfer to 4 plates. Drizzle cider reduction over each plate; garnish with toasted hazelnuts. Serve with mixed greens, if you like.