August 5th through 11th is National Farmers Market Week. Juicy heirloom tomatoes, big and beautiful blueberries, greens and beans survived the precariousness of spring and tests of summer to make it to your farmers markets in their full flavor and glory this week. Just the fresh food alone is enough reason to celebrate farmers markets. Here are a few more reasons to join us in giving our local farmers markets a big hug.
The Story of Flora
Flora, the lady with the bountiful local vegetable and berry hat, is the iconic image and logo for the Jefferson County Farmers Markets. All you Port Townsend and Chimacum Farmers Market shoppers know Flora. Maybe you have a poster of her in your kitchen or her face is on the tote bag you bring to market. If not, you see her weekly on your $20 market tokens.
Long time Jefferson County folk, you may remember the Port Townsend Farmers Market days before Flora when the farmers market was downtown and many vendors sold produce directly out of their truck beds by City Hall and, before that, in the parking lot by Elevated Ice Cream. In honor of National Farmers Market Week, we are going to take a peek back in time to meet Flora and the artist who brought her to life.
In 2002, the Port Townsend Farmers Market received grants from the State of Washington and City of Port Townsend to market the farmers market. This was the first time the Port Townsend Farmers Market had a real budget for marketing. Under the leadership of then Market Manager, Harvindar (Harv) Singh, and Board President, Kate Dean, members of the Port Townsend Farmers Market board met to consider how to brand the farmers market. Fine artist, Chris Witkowski, new to the community and market board, was part of this brainstorming group. Together, the market board and manager decided that the Port Townsend Farmers Markets needed an image that relates to our place— one of fresh, local produce, a Victorian-style person with the sea and mountains in the background.
Chris was invited to create the image for the farmers market. This was a new type of venture for Chris, who had never before done illustration. Inspired by the group meeting, Chris developed an image that would encapsulate our markets and community. Flora began to take shape. Chris invited her friend, Matia Jones, to be her model. When Chris met Matia to take the photo she would reference to draw Flora, Matia had a newly inherited hat from her grandmother. This hat is the foundation for the cornucopia in Chris' drawing. In April of 2003, Flora was débuted as the new image of the Port Townsend Farmers Markets. With banners, posters, tote bags and more, Harv employed Flora to be the face of our farmers markets as well as our community.
Chris shares, “Flora has become an icon for the town, not just the market. I created her but she also has a life of her own.” Flora was a springboard for Chris’ career as an illustrator. Since then, Chris has created many iconic images for local businesses and nonprofits, including the Organic Seed Alliance, Cape Cleare Fishery, the Spruce Goose Cafe, Port Townsend Brewery and more. Visit Chris’ website to see her work.
Flora, with her coy smile, cabbage shawl and beautiful hat, is one of the many characters who supported the growth of our local farmers markets from their humble beginnings to their recognition as statewide leaders. Of course, the growing diversity of local farming and arts, our vast community partnerships and support, and the dedicated hard work of so many farmers, past and present market managers as well as board members were all essential for the development of our markets. Other developments, such as the opening of the Port Townsend Farmers Market on Wednesdays in 2003, the move of the Port Townsend Saturday Farmer Market to uptown in 2004, and the adoption of the Chimacum Farmers Market from the Chimacum Grange in 2010 were also key to the establishment of our beloved Jefferson County Farmers Markets.
Today, the Port Townsend and Chimacum Farmers Markets are local food hubs, incubators for more than 80 small business and farms, and community gathering places. It is with your support and the hard work of local farmers, food artisans and artists that our local framers markets continue to thrive. Thank you for investing in our local food system, small businesses, our economy and local jobs by shopping at your farmers markets.
Help us celebrate National Farmers Market Week today and on Saturday. In honor of Flora, we have elaborate hats for you to try on at market as well as chalkboard signs, on which you can tell us why you love your farmers market. Learn more at the market info booth.
See you at the market, today, Saturday and Sunday! ~Amanda
From Our Vendors
Hopscotch Farm + Cannery's Beet Relish and Dilly Beans are back! Meghan will also have pickles and preserves as well as salad mix, sweet onions, leeks, rhubarb, bell peppers, and hot peppers at the Port Townsend Wednesday Farmers Market!
Red Dog Farm is swimming in summer abundance! We have strawberries, tomatoes, basil, green beans, zucchini, cucumbers, celery, leeks, cauliflower, and almost 5o other items as well! Time to stock up, preserve and enjoy the season’s bounty!
After several weeks catering weddings and attending festivals around the state, Paella House will be back at the farmers market this Saturday. Paella House is bringing their latest addition, Smoked Iberian Paella, containing three kinds of smoked meats. Also on the menu for this weekend, you can find Paella del Mar (seafood), Paella de la Huerta (vegan), Duck & Truffle Paella and the Paella Mixta (meat and seafood). See you at the farmers market!
POP Club is today at the Port Townsend Wednesday Farmers Market from 2:30pm to 4:30pm. Anna Snow of Prosper Body Works will lead a kid-friendly yoga class at market for POP kids. We will also have our love letter mailbox at market for kids (and adults) to write a letter of appreciation to a vendor as part of our National Farmers Market Week celebration. On Sunday at the Chimacum Farmers Market the Jefferson County Library will host Storytime starting at 11am.
POP Club activities are open to kids of all ages and POP registration is open to kids between the ages of five and 12 years old. Experience, learn, make with our POP Club. After our weekly activity, registered kids get $2 for fresh produce. Visit the market info booth for more information and to register.
- Today, National Faremrs Market Week celebration at the Port Townsend Wednesday Farmers Market, Jefferson Transit's Haines Place Park and Ride, 2-6pm
- 2-4pm Live music with Anne O and Her Band
- 2-6pm "I love my farmers market because" and silly photo booth
- 2:30-4:30 yoga for kids with Prosper Body Works
- Saturday, August 11, National Farmers Market Week celebration at the Port Townsend Saturday Farmers Market, 9am-2pm, Tyler Street
- 9am-2pm "I love my farmers market because" and silly photo booth
- 10am-1:45pm Live music with Yesango
- Sunday, August 12th, Chimacum Farmers Market, 10am-2pm, Chimacum Corner Farmstand
- Saturday, August 18th, uptown Street Fair 9am-5pm and Farmers Market 9am-2pm, Tyler, Lawrence and Polk Streets
- Saturday, August 25th, Tomato Taste Off! at the Port Townsend Farmers Market 9am-2pm, Tyler Street