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Maple Valley Farmers Market

All about the Maple Valley Farmers Market

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Annual Chili Cook-Off Heats Up the Farmers’ Market – Saturday, September 14th!

September 9th, 2013 at Mon, 9th, 2013 at 8:24 am by Larry Baumgart

     A steaming-hot Chili Cook-Off event is a fitting celebration for a summer marked by an amazing stretch of rainless days, warm nights, and sunshine streaming its way right into September. Local home chefs and cooks are urged to join in this tasty chili-cookin’ competition sponsored by Ross Olive of State Farm Insurance at Four Corners Safeway Plaza.

     Olive has arranged for $275 worth of cash prizes, including $100 for 1st place, $75 for 2nd place,  $50 for 3rd place, and $50 for People’s Choice, all for a $15 entry fee for returning chefs, and a no-cost entry for chili cooks entering the Cook-off for the first time. For a $5.00 donation, the public will be able to sample all of the competing chili recipes, while helping to fund the operational costs of running a non-profit 501c3 Farmers’ Market. Sampling starts at 12:05 p.m., and interested tasters should plan to arrive early, as last year’s chili sold out way earlier than expected. Victoria Laise-Jonas, Market Manager, commented that she expects this year’s event to be as popular as last year’s, an “event that the community embraced to help sustain our local farmers’ market!”

     Those interested in exercising their culinary muscles should quickly contact Larry Gholston before all of the spots are filled; he can be reached at, or at 206.291.5736. More specific information about the Chili Cook-Off, and how to enter, is available at MVFM’s website at www.maplevalleyfarmersmarket, under the “Events” tab.  Those interested in participating should note that they must attend the cooks’ meeting at 9:30 a.m. and must submit their chili by noon. Awards will be given at 1:30 p.m.

     As always, nonprofit booths have a standing reservation at the Market, and this weekend Ensemble Ballet Theatre (EBT) of Maple Valley will host a booth. According to its website, EBT offers dance rehearsals, performances, classes, and costumes at no cost, with a “nominal membership fee required” ( Each year EBT stages professional style ballet productions of “The Nutcracker” in the winter and a classical ballet in the spring.   In addition, Maple Valley City Council will answer questions and provide information, and the ever-popular Master Gardeners will return for a horticultural visit. Finally, representatives of Tahoma School District will be available to answer questions about the November school district bond issue to build a new high school,  and remodel and realign existing ones.

     Musical entertainment will keep the chili’s heat blasting with Clifford Okamoto, who has been playing guitar for forty years, as well as harmonica and ukulele. Okamoto’s music is primarily influenced by Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and JJ Cale, and MVFM visitors can enjoy his renditions beginning at 11:00 a.m.

     Even with so many events taking place, it is impossible to overlook the core of the Market—the farmers with their brilliant array of fresh, local, fall produce; the prepared foods whose tasty aromas drift lazily through the fall air; the artistic creations that lure visitors’ gazes and pocketbooks; the gorgeous armloads of flowers that adorn the flower stalls; and the varied array of unusual and locally-made items including honey, meat, dairy products, bread, lavender products, sweet potato pie, olive oil, flavored nuts, and too much more to mention…customers will need to wander through the Market for awhile to get a glimpse of all that is offered.

     This Saturday is the fourth-to-last Saturday to enjoy the wonders of Maple Valley’s own Farmers’ Market, so there is no time to waste.  The “Saturday morning place to be” is winding down for the season, but there is still ample time to savor its riches, as the Market continues through October 5 at Rock Creek Elementary School from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. each Saturday. More information on Maple Valley Farmers’ Market is available at  All MVFM fans are encouraged to “Friend us on FACEBOOK” or follow us on Twitter.   NOTE:  This article was written by Brooke Dillon and posted by Victoria Laise Jonas.


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