Those on hand expressed their excitement and optimism for a good season, and were happy to be back again at the same location.
"People know where we are now," says vendor Valerie Schick. "And with the signage out on the main road, those new to the area or who are passing through can easily find us. I think it’s a good location because we’re right in front of City Hall’s doorstep."
This is Schick’s tenth year at the market. She is the owner of Val’s Surroundings and specializes in local raw varietal honeys. "The market has been great exposure for my products," comments the local woman. "People have gotten to know me over the years and they seek me out each season. It’s nice to see familiar faces."
Nearby, vendor Yeng Vue, in her twelfth year at the market, continues to offer dazzling displays of flowers from her garden. She specializes in dahlias and has them in every color of the rainbow. "We have over fifty varieties," she notes. "This year, we planted six acres of just dahlias because people really like them and they sell well."
There are on average about 25 vendors who participate in the Woodinville Farmers Market, offering everything from fresh produce and flowers to baked goods and an array of unique handicrafts.
"We have a good variety of items for our size," comments Michael Charlton, president of the Board of Directors for the Market. "This season, we have ten new vendors. There’s a new shave ice vendor, someone who makes fry bread, another who has French macaroons, one who specializes in soaps and lotions, a couple who makes bird houses and wind chimes, a new farmer, and more."
He adds, "We think this year will be better than last year due to the fact that more people know about our location now. Those who came last year actually told us that they liked the new place because it has a real street market feel to it. It’s off the beaten path, so it’s quieter and not so crazy. And it’s easier to walk around to all the vendors. There’s more room."
Charlton views the Farmers Market as more than just a business. He says, "We’re part of the community. We pull from the community and we give back to it. And what’s more, the vendors are local people so the dollars stay in our general community."
One of the new vendors, Casey Stewart, is thrilled to be a part of the Woodinville Farmers Market. He and his wife, Maya, own Wings and Wind Chimes. The couple’s crafts are made from hand-mined obsidian needles, bamboo and gourds.
Stewart explains that obsidian is a volcanic glassy textured rock, the result of volcanic lava contacting with water or other materials. He says that the needles are relative rare and it’s still unknown exactly how they are created. To get them, he must dig into many feet of ash and dirt and carefully remove them one at a time.
"Our art is inspired by nature," he adds. "We get lots of ideas from walking in the forest."
Also new to the market are Joe and TC Scott, owners of Essential Hardware Jewelry. "We make unique pieces of jewelry using sterling silver and various stones like turquoise, jasper and lapis," says Joe. "My wife TC is the designer."
The couple, who are from Kirkland, are thrilled to be a part of the Woodinville Farmers Market. "We love the market environment," comments Joe. "The people are friendly and there’s a really nice social aspect to it. We’re looking forward to getting to know everyone."
Perhaps the youngest vendor at the market this year is 16-year-old Demetria Wood. The WHS sophomore specializes in making feathered earrings and miniature hat-shaped hair clips out of scraps of polar fleece, feathers and tulle netting.
"I just started doing this a few months ago," explains the teen. "I get to be creative and it’s fun."
Vendor Val Campbell has an interesting story. He’s a contractor turned farmer, who is now heading up the Urban Garden Co-op. "I’ve been gardening chemically free for over thirty years," he says, "and it’s become my passion. It got so big and so active that I had to make a decision. I decided to dive in and make it a business."
He adds, "Being a contractor right now is not very rewarding. Farming, on the other hand, is very rewarding for me. My goal is to encourage local sustainable food production and to grow food that optimizes nutrition. The best food you can eat is from well-managed soil and comes to you as fast and ripe as it can from farm to your mouth."
Campbell plans to grow a variety of veggies, greens and herbs on his twenty-acre farm in Carnation. He explains that members of the Urban Garden Co-op will pick up a box of his locally-grown produce each week at the Woodinville Farmers Market.
"We’re also going to supply recipes and different ways to use the various vegetables," he adds, "because sometimes people get things they’re not accustomed to cooking and they don’t know what to do with them."
The Woodinville Farmers Market is open every Saturday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., from May 7th through October 8th. It is located on 133rd Ave. NE in front of City Hall.
For more information: www.woodinvillefarmersmarket.com.