Hi Folks! Wow, what a wondrous beginning of the week. I hope you had the opportunity to see the solar eclipse on Monday. The entire environment changed from birds singing morning songs to playful shadows dancing on the sidewalk in the half-light. Amazing!
In Jefferson County we were able to see a 90% eclipse rather than the full eclipse, but no need to feel like you missed out. The good news is we now have 100% local, vegetables at market. (I know what you're thinking. Yes, it is a stretch to connect the eclipse to local vegetables.) In past years our farm vendors were allowed to sell up to 25% vegetables and fruit grown by other farms in the State of Washington. While most of our local farmers only sold produce they grew themselves, a handful of farmers also sold sweet corn, watermelon, and stone fruit from Eastern Washington and other areas.
Many market shoppers loved finding this produce at market. However, the Jefferson County Farmers Market Board of Directors and many of our local farmers recognized that reselling produce did not support our mission as farmers markets. JCFM’s mission is to support the development of local, sustainable farming by cultivating vibrant farmers markets that serve as community gathering places and celebrate local farmers, food producers, and artisans as well as provide access to healthy food for our community.
Resale was first allowed in the early days of our markets when there were fewer local farmers and less variety in local produce. Today, with greenhouses and farmer innovation, many of the crops that used to be resold at our markets are now grown in county—sweet corn, watermelon, peppers and tomatoes, to name a few. While locally grown stone fruit is limited, the Port Townsend Food Co-op and Chimacum Corner Farmstand are great outlets for organic fruit from Eastern Washington. Furthermore, out of county produce sold at our farmers markets in past years was often grown on a mix of large scale organic and conventional farms. Local farmers often had to undercut their own prices to compete with products that were not grown with the same environmentally protective and community conscious methods.
This season, the market guidelines were changed to ensure that Jefferson County farmers, as well as the small handful of participating farmers from Sequim, WA, grow all of the produce you find at market. Why is this important to us at a group of farmers markets? It is about market integrity. As a community of farmers it is important to us that you, our neighbors and friends, know that you can trust the fruit and vegetables you purchase at market to be 100% local and sustainably grown. Local farmers hold themselves to high standards for your health as well as that of our environment and farm crews. Each farmer participating in our markets cares for their land and produce using sustainable practices, including organic, salmon safe and bio-dynamic methods. We are not able to ensure that produce coming from other parts of the state is grown with the same care for our environment and community.
When I say, "buy local, eat seasonal, create community,” I truly mean local. ‘Local’ has become one of those popular phrases in the grocery industry. The word ‘local’ in the produce section at many grocery stores does not mean grown at Red Dog, SpringRain, Finnriver or Onatrue farms. It often means grown somewhere in Washington, Oregon or even California. At the Port Townsend Food Co-op and Chimacum Corner Farmstand the farm that grew the produce is listed. When it is not listed at a local grocery store it is worth asking store employees where it came from and how it was grown. Did the people who grew that produce get paid fairly? Did they have safe work conditions? What residual toxins might make it to your dinner plate?
All of the produce sold at the Port Townsend and Chimacum Farmers Markets travels less than 50 miles to reach your shopping basket. From the Chimacum Farmers Market you can even see some of the farms that vend at market. Now that is local! When you buy local at our markets you purchase directly from the farmer that grew your food. Your money circulates here in our community. Also, you can ask your local farmers how they grow zucchini, tomatoes, plums, and—new to market last week—corn. Farm Tour is coming up September 16th and 17th. Participate in Farm Tour or go to one of our many local farms with a farm stand or store (Red Dog, SpringRain, Midori, Serendipity, Willow Wind, Nash's…) and you can see firsthand how your food is grown.
If you are feeling bummed about only seeing a 90% eclipse, consider taking this moment to appreciate that at your farmers markets food is truly local and sustainably grown by the same friendly farmers you see each week. Thank you for shopping local, eating seasonal and creating community with us. See you at market! ~ Amanda
UPCOMING MARKET EVENTS
- Saturday, August 26, 9 am- 2 pm, Port Townsend Saturday Farmers Market with live music by Chuck Easton, Tyler Street
- Sunday, August 27, 10 am- 2 pm, Chimacum Farmers Market, Chimacum Corner Farmstand
- Wednesday, August 30, 2 pm- 6 pm, Port Townsend Wednesday Farmers Market, Polk St
- Saturday, September 2, 9 am- 2 pm, Tomato Taste Off , Tyler Street. Sample more than a dozen locally grown tomatoes and vote on your favorites, chef demo by Arran Stark featuring local tomatoes. Also Key City Play in Community Center grass and live music by Sean Burk and John Maxwell.
- Sunday, September 3, 10 am-2 pm, Chimacum Farmers Market and Kids' Day and Key City Play, Chimacum Corner Farmstand
From Our Vendors
The final Chevre of the week, in celebration of National Goat Cheese Month, is Zaatar Chevre! One of our interns, Ramzy, has brought this spice blend to the farm. We've enjoyed it on wood fired flat bread and now on our chevre. Zaatar is the Arabic word for thyme and it also refers to a mixture of spices used throughout the Middle East. The Zaatar on our chevre is the typical Lebanese style consisting of thyme, sumac, sesame seeds and salt. Lebanese traditionally use Zaatar with thick and tangy yogurt, so it pairs perfectly with our cheese. Come taste some on Saturday!
Market Location Exploration
We want your feedback! Please visit our website and participate in our customer survey. Let us know where you want to shop for fresh, local food. You can find the survey on the home page or here. On behalf of the small, local businesses, families and farmers who make up our markets, thank you for sharing your voice and support.