All about the Maple Valley Farmers Market
Delicious Breakfasts and Fresh Fruit Pie Bake Off Day – Saturday August 11thAugust 5th, 2012 at Sun, 5th, 2012 at 10:18 am by Larry Baumgart
Saturday mornings are made for gentle beginnings, for a leisurely start to the day, for treating oneself after a long week. “What better way to indulge oneself than to visit Maple Valley’s very own Farmers’ Market?” asks Market Manager Victoria Laise Jonas.
Visitors to the Market don’t even have to eat breakfast before arriving, as a wide array of breakfast treats is available. Along with sandwiches and lunch specials, EJ’s Catering offers breakfast frittatas, breakfast burritos, and mango berry coolers –all prepared by local Maple Valley chef Eric Elmer, who utilizes locally grown, organic, natural, and freshly-prepared comfort foods. His beautiful displays are certain to woo new customers, according to Laise Jonas.
Another Market favorite is George’s Bakery, owned by Joe McKeown and Kathleen Stohesberry, who have a storefront in North Bend and who began to sell at farmers’ markets four years ago. Their breakfast delights include plate-sized fresh donuts, assorted breads, and a wide variety of pastries such as cinnamon disks, pear-almond tarts, bran muffins, coffee cake, pan dowdy, and almond tarts. Laise Jonas commented, “Best of all, they use fresh fruit from Farmers’ Market vendors!”
New to the Market this year is a coffee booth hosted by Ristretto’s, a coffee and wine bar serving lunch, dinner, and dessert, located at 27203 216th Ave. SE in Maple Valley. At MVFM, they sell hot coffee and lattes for those who need an extra morning jolt to get them shopping. “Ristretto’s is a perfect complement to our market and to our community. Over the past few years, our customers have requested, time and time again, for us to recruit a latte stand, and Ristretto’s fits the bill perfectly,” noted Laise Jonas.
The most senior MVFM participant and most local breakfast establishment of all is Mama Rizzo’s Biscotti and More: It’s a true family affair that includes parents Loretta and Jules Gommi, along with adult children Lorraine, Julie, and Michael at the booth. An assortment of lovingly-prepared, cooked-right-here-in-Maple Valley biscotti, coffee cake, and mini dessert bread loaves, can satisfy one’s morning sweet tooth at the Gommis’ “outdoor café.”
Victoria Laise Jonas said, “All of these vendors are local business owners who have committed to the Maple Valley Farmers’ Market. They signed up for the entire 17-week season and have not missed a Saturday. Come say ‘hi’ to these wonderful folks!”
While the breakfast treats fill the stomach and set a happy glow upon the day, the Market offers even more. August 11 is Fresh Fruit Pie Bake-Off, a competition open to youth (ages 17 and under), adults (ages 18-49), and seniors (50 and over). Each participant may submit one completely homemade pie in a disposable tin. The filling must be fresh fruit only–no tarts, crisps, creams, meringues, pumpkins, or custards, etc., will be accepted. Pies, accompanied by the recipe, may be submitted between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. and judging will begin at 11:45 a.m. Specific rules are available at http://www.maplevalleyfarmersmarket.org/2012_Pie_Rules.pdf Prizes range from $25 Market Bucks (1st place in each division) to $5 in Market Bucks (3rd place in each division).
With over 40 booths to choose from, it is sometimes difficult to know where to begin, but seasoned MVFM visitors might want to wander by one of this year’s new booths—Four Sisters Gourmet Sauces, selling hot chili sauce, spring rolls and spring roll dipping sauce, and frozen egg rolls. Owner Julie Quoch was the oldest of four and learned to cook traditional Vietnamese dishes from her mother and grandmother. Fascinated with organic fruits and vegetables, she combined those with traditional Vietnamese recipes so that she could share her “love of healthy food with an Asian flare.” She was drawn by the “beautiful colors and variety of peppers” she saw when touring a few organic farms in Eastern Washington and began to make her products fresh and local in Burien about three years ago. Quoch said, “Patrons of the Maple Valley Market are wonderful and very welcoming–it’s our first year and we have felt nothing but community support. Thank you to those that support local small businesses. We work hard to bring you fresh local products and your support has kept us wanting to be there for you!”
The amazingly talented Ensemble Ballet Theatre (EBT) will be once again performing at our market beginning at 10:15 a.m. Music always sweetens the heart, and this week’s music will be provided at 11:00 a.m. Musical entertainment will keep the fruit pie-sweetness bubbling, as Tori Whitten, now in her fourth year of public performing, shares some of her country and pop music repertoire. Whitten, who has been singing since the age of three, is fifteen years old and travelled to Nashville in 2010 to record four original songs. More information and samples of her music can be found at http://artistecard.com/ToriWhitten.
As always, the non-profit booths will be filled at the Market and offering information to interested visitors. This week’s non-profits include Amy Croan of P.E.O., the Master Gardeners, the Serenity Equine Rescue group, and the Maple Valley Rotary. Another nonprofit group participating will be the Christian Friends of Troops, a mission of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church founded in 2003 by Mrs. T. A. (Louise) Brown. Brown wanted to help military personnel serving in Iraq, and, starting with the names of five military police, she sent prayers, care packages, and postcards. Since that time, the group has mailed thousands of care packages and postcards to troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, in addition to praying for them daily. They also hold “Welcome Home, Hero” celebrations for military personnel who served in war zones and collect unwanted cell phones at the Maple Valley Farmers’ Market entrance each Saturday, which they then exchange for pre-paid calling cards for the troops through “Cell Phones for Soldiers.”
With 40+ vendors, the freshest of produce, jewelry and artistic creations, honey, jam, hot sauce, lavender products, dairy products, and organic meat, the Market offers more than can even be sampled in a season! And, with the season already half over, time is running out to partake of and enjoy even a portion of the offerings. And, yes, just ask Victoria Laise-Jonas, “The Maple Valley Farmers’ Market is the Saturday morning place to be! And, don’t forget to Friend us on FACEBOOK!” The Market is open from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. each Saturday through October 6 at Rock Creek Elementary School. NOTE: Article written by Brooke Dillon and posted by Victoria Laise Jonas