All about the Maple Valley Farmers Market
It’s National Farmers’ Market Day at the MVFM! Come and say “Thank You” to all of our Farmers! Saturday, August 4thJuly 30th, 2012 at Mon, 30th, 2012 at 1:41 pm by Victoria Laise Jonas
To qualify for membership benefits in the Washington State Farmers’ Market Association (WSFMA), Maple Valley Farmers’ Market must submit a yearly vendor roster showing at least five vendors who are classified as “farmers.” These farmers must raise the produce, plants, or animals that they sell on land they own or lease/rent in Washington or in counties bordering Washington. The farmers also may process produce grown on their property into a value-added product, such as jam, cider, or salsa. To further insure that farmers are the main thrust of the Maple Valley’s Farmers’ Market, the WSFMA requires that the total combined gross annual sales of processors and/or resellers not exceed the total gross annual Market sales of the farmers.
With such a strong emphasis on the farmer—the essential backbone of all farmers’ markets–and to further promote awareness of farmers’ markets and of the contributions farmers make to daily life in America, it makes sense that MV Farmers’ Market will celebrate Saturday, August 4, as National Farmers’ Market Day. As our community has experienced for the three previous seasons and the first half of Season Four, our local Farmers’ Market offers affordable and healthful products sold directly from the farm in their freshest possible state, increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables for children and families, which can help promote child health and reduce childhood obesity. In addition, Farmers’ Markets play a key role in developing local and regional food systems, supporting family farms, revitalizing local communities, providing important outlets for producers, and providing the opportunity for farmers and consumers to interact. When visitors come to our local Market this Saturday, they should make it a point to introduce themselves to our farmers and thank them for the role they play in sustaining farmland in America and for bringing fresh local produce to our community.
Always a crowd pleaser, our very own Dan Nichols of the Maple Valley Historical Society will bring in his 1951 John Deere Row Crop Tractor to exhibit. Children of all ages (and adults, too) always enjoy this feature of celebrating National Farmers’ Market Day!
The farmers’ stands will be in abundant array this Saturday, as they are on every Market Saturday. Ramon Ayala Farms, Outlook Produce, Hayton Farms, Yee Yang Gardens, Ze Chang Gardens, Jose’ Bautista Farm , Silver Springs Creamery, Calhoun Fruit Farm, Sweet Briar Farm, Bees in the Burbs, Cartwright Farm, Sophie’s Blueberry Farm, Thistlewood Farms, Mai Houa Garden, R/P Guerrero Farm, Shao Cha Gardens, and Children’s Gardens will all have booths again this week. They will be selling fresh vegetables, including beets, garlic, squash, lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, and chili peppers; fresh fruits, including berries, peaches, apricots, and plums; eggs; fresh flower bouquets; herb pots; hanging baskets; locally-made wine; honey; cow and goat cheeses, yogurts, and milk; and USDA-approved, grass-fed beef that is farm-grown and free of antibiotics, hormones, and pesticides. Visitors can chat with the farmers to learn how and where the item is grown, and how recently it was harvested (sometimes that same morning!), while they admire the hard work and great love that farming entails. With seventeen farmers’ booths, visitors can certainly fulfill their entire week’s produce shopping list before moving on to the 26 stalls displaying processed foods, meats, cheese, wine, tea, milk, arts and crafts, and sugar-laden, hand-baked delights.
And, if all of that healthy food leaves one longing for something decadent, a trip to Ms. Margie’s Sweet Potato Pie booth might be in order. After a layoff from his 30-year job as a carpenter, Richard Tynes of Renton took the secret “gold ole Southern family recipe” for sweet potato pie (actually made of yams) that his mom had passed to his wife 28 years ago, and worked and worked until his daughter told him, “Dad, you got it right. This tastes like Christmas and Thanksgiving wrapped in one.” Tynes named the pies after his mom, began to bake them in Renton and to sell them in 3”, 5”, and 9” sizes. Now being sold at Uwajimaya Stores, and at both Popeye’s Chicken and Original Philly’s Cheese Steaks in Renton, the pies can also be found each week at the Renton Farmers’ Market, the Farm Boat in Seattle, the Madrona Market, the Valley Medical Center Farmers’ Market, and, for the first time this year, at the Maple Valley Farmers’ Market. Tynes acknowledged that he was initially concerned about his potential sales out in Maple Valley, but he said that was based on his own lack of knowledge, as he has sold out every weekend, and remarked that it is a “very, very good Market.” Tynes’ next plan is to try to sell the pies flash frozen so that people can bake them at home, but, for now, local visitors can sample a taste each Saturday at Rock Creek.
Our local non-profit organizations joining in this Saturday festivities include Light of Life Preschool, Amy Croan of P.E.O., and SHADOW.
At 11:00, the band Sealth, playing together since 2006, will provide its sweet therapy for tired feet and weary souls. Sealth is comprised of teachers from the Rock ‘n’ More Music Academy: Dace Anderson on guitar, vocals; Arielle Young on guitar, piano, vocals, and Mitchell Fund on vocals. They’ve enjoyed fame in the Seattle area: playing the national anthem for about 4000 people at Key Arena in Seattle before a Rat City Rollergirls bout in June; releasing an album on iTunes called “Vaguely Familiar” in 2009; and producing a film that they played at the Seattle True Independent Film Festival in 2010. The group often plays community festivals including Maple Valley Days, Covington Days, Cornucopia Days, and Kent 4th of July Splash, and fundraisers, including Rock ‘n’ More, Gilda’s Club, Valley Girls and Guys. Interestingly enough, the musicians also work jobs outside of music: Arielle is a graphic designer who has had art shows in Maple Valley, Issaquah, Bellevue, and Redmond; Dace has had columns run in newspapers in Maple Valley, Kent, Black Diamond, Kent, and Tukwila; and both Arielle and Dace are mascots for the Rat City Rollergirls roller derby. Mitch works as a quartz miner. Visitors to the MVFM won’t want to miss these versatile and talented musicians.
While it’s National Farmers’ Market Day, it’s also a great day for customers, so arrive bright and early this eighth Saturday of the fourth season of your local Maple Valley Farmers’ Market, the “Saturday morning place to be” from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at Rock Creek Elementary School. More information on Maple Valley Farmers’ Market is available at (425) 463-6751 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. All MVFM fans are encouraged to “Friend us on FACEBOOK.” NOTE: This article was written by Brooke Dillon and posted by Victoria Laise Jonas.