Summer of 2008 Farmers' Market Challenge

PeppersIt's been two weekends in a row of Farmers' Market field trips. Last Saturday Noel and I ventured to the Saturday Kootenai County Farmers' Market. It's been around for 23 years and it shows its age in a good way. It's situated under the shade of trees, has a bunch of vendors and the shoppers to match. They have semi-permanent wood stalls set-up with the names of the vendors on them. It's also located just next to the north south thoroughfare in Hayden. We bought a bird house and when we got home we stuck it on a 10 foot pole in the middle of the garden as a peace offering to the hail gods.

Yesterday Lily and I made a field trip to Cheney to visit the five year old Friday Farmers' Market that runs from around noon to 4:30pm. I love the location, on a historic street under some sycamore trees. Not too much action but the season is still early and much of the produce hasn't come in yet. Just for some perspective, we had more local produce on opening day at last year's Millwood Market than we had this last Wednesday. By my estimation that puts our local growing season a full month behind last year. Things look like they are picking up though, so if you've been dissappointed in the lack of veggies at your local market, take heart that it's on the way. Just think of the plus side. We've had an extra long asparagus season.

The Cheney Market is run by Pathways to Progress, a non-profit partnership between the city, Eastern Washington University, and local merchants. I think the City of Millwood has some good things to learn from this organization with regards to the Millwood Farmers Market and development of the historic district.

This has got me thinking about the health of farmers markets and a study from Oregon State University about the success of failure of Farmers Markets. They found that almost 50% of markets fail within or after the first year and provide some insights on how to help them succeed. The Millwood Market is into year two so I guess that's a good milestone.

They describe in the study why they think it's important for them to succeed:

Farmers’ markets link small farmers with consumers in a unique community gathering and serve a key role in local food systems. A useful term for describing this newly emerging form of local or community food system is “civic agriculture” (Lyson 2004). Civic agriculture describes a system made up of economic and personal relationships within a community. The concept emphasizes community economic development balanced against the social and environmental objectives of a community. Regarding farmers’ markets, Lyson points out:

As social institutions and social organizations, farmers’ markets can be important components of civic agriculture. They embody what is unique and special about local communities and help to differentiate one community from another (2004:93).

How about a summer of 2008 Farmers' Market Challenge to help our local markets succeed. Here's the challenge, to visit every farmers' market in the Inland Northwest this summer. I counted 17 and they are all listed after the jump. I'll give it a shot. Either that or we'll see who can attend the most. So far I've got 5 under my belt. Annyone have more?

All the area markets are listed with times and location after the jump. Or go to www.localharvest.org to find a market in your community.

Airway Heights Farmers' Market – Thursdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., through Oct. 9, 13100 Fourth Ave., near Curves. (509) 979-1051.

Cheney Farmers' Market – Fridays, 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m., First and College Avenue, Cheney. (509) 559-5818.

Clarkston Farmers' Market – Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon, through September. Fifth and Sycamore streets, near the Asotin County Library. (509) 758-5023.

Columbia Basin Farmers' Market and Bazaar – Saturdays, 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m., through Oct. 25, Moses Lake Civic Park, 418 E. Fifth Ave. Wednesdays, 2-6 p.m. Third Avenue and Ash Street, Moses Lake. (509) 750-7831.

Humble Earth Farmers' Market – Sundays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Aslin Finch parking lot, 10505 Newport Highway at the Y. (509) 879-2987.

Liberty Lake Farmers' Market – Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Liberty Square Building parking lot, 1421 N. Meadowwood Lane. (509) 475-4574

Millwood Farmers' Market – Wednesdays, 3-7 p.m., through Oct. 1. Millwood Community Presbyterian Church, 3223 N. Marguerite Road, two blocks west of Argonne Road. (509) 924-2350.

Northeast Washington Farmers' Market – Saturdays, 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m., through October, corner of Main and Astor streets, Colville. (509) 783-2095.

South Perry Farmers' Market – Thursdays, 4-8 p.m., Christ Community Church, 1317 E. 12th Ave. (509) 879-2987.

Spokane Farmers' Market – Saturdays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.; Wednesdays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. starting today. Second Avenue at Division Street, behind First Covenant Church. (509) 995-0182.

Idaho

Bonners Ferry Farmers' Market – Saturdays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. through Oct. 4. Highway 95 at Kootenai Avenue in the Visitor's Center parking lot. (208) 267-7987 or (208) 267-7698.

Farmers' Market at Sandpoint – Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Wednesdays, 3-5:30 p.m., through Oct. 11. Farmin Park, Third at Main, Sandpoint. (208) 597-3355.

Kootenai County Farmers' Market – Saturdays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Highway 95 at Prairie Avenue, Hayden. Wednesdays, 4-7 p.m., Fifth Street between Sherman and Front, Coeur d'Alene. (208) 772-2290.

Moscow Farmers' Market – Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon. Jackson Street public parking lot, off Friendship Square, downtown. (208) 883-7036.

Spirit Lake Farmers' Market – Fridays, 2-7 p.m., Saturdays, 8 a.m.-2 p.m., through September. Route 41 at Maine Street, Spirit Lake. (208) 623-3411.

St. Maries Farmers' Market – Fridays, 2:30-5:30 p.m. 536 Main St., next to Hughes House. (208) 245-2831.

Tuesday Growers' Market – Tuesdays, 4:30-6:30 p.m., through October. Moscow Food Co-op parking lot, 121 E. Fifth St. (208) 882-8537.