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Maple Valley Farmers Market

All about the Maple Valley Farmers Market

        Maple Valley Farmers’ Market will be celebrating its 4th Annual MVFM Veteran & Troop Appreciation Day on Saturday, August 18, during normal Market hours from 9:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m. at Rock Creek Elementary School.     Headlining the festivities, beginning at 10:00 a.m., will be the Master of Ceremonies for this special ceremony–retired Air Force Lt. Colonel Chuck Hardaway, locally renowned for his career as a military pilot.  Hardaway flew 104 combat missions in Vietnam and received the Distinguished Flying Cross, seven Air Medals, the Meritorious Service Medal, three Air Force Commendation Medals, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He retired in 1977 after 22 years of military service, and then volunteered for seven years on the Area Council, ten years on the Maple Valley School Board, and two years on the Maple Valley City Council; he also served as chairman of the Seattle-King County Private Industry Council.  Additionally, for the past fourteen years Hardaway has written a popular weekly editorial column for the Voice of the Valley entitled “One Man’s Opinion.” On Saturday Hardaway will introduce the veterans and will speak about “The Cost of War.” In addition to conducting the opening ceremonies and flag ceremony, Maple Valley/Black Diamond VFW Post 50502 will host an information booth.

     Christian Friends of Troops, a mission of the Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, will again host their weekly collection box for cell phones for soldiers.  The group was founded in 2003 by Mrs. T.A. (Louise) Brown, who wanted to help military personnel in Iraq.  Starting with the names of five military police, she sent prayers, care packages, and postcards, and held annual “Welcome Home, Hero” celebrations for military personnel who served in war zones.  At the Maple Valley Farmers’ Market entrance each Saturday, Christian Friends of Troops collect unwanted cell phones, which are exchanged for pre-paid calling cards for the troops through “Cell Phones for Soldiers,” founded by teenagers Robbie and Brittany Bergquest from Norwell, Mass.  This organization sends the collected phones to ReCellular, which pays for each phone received – enough to provide an hour of talk time to soldiers abroad.  The Christian Friends of troops will also host a booth at this Saturday’s Market.

     For the first time at our Market, Seattle Humane Society Max Mobile will make an appearance.  The MaxMobile is a bright yellow, 38-foot, custom-built mobile adoption bus that visits local stores, shopping malls, schools, festivals, and farmers’ markets each week filled with dogs, cats, and other critters ready for on-the-spot-adoption!  More information can be found at  And, the Light of Life Preschool will also host a booth this week.

            The Farmers’ Market season is well over halfway complete on this tenth Saturday of the season, so Maple Valley residents will certainly want to visit the 40+ booths and stock up on fresh, local produce; cheese; honey; baked goods; meat; fresh flower bouquets; beautiful hand-crafted artisan creations; and delicious prepared foods.

            One popular booth, now in its second year, is A Taste of Eden, operated by Lee Ellis of Issaquah, specializes in specialty extra-virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegar blends. All of the products are 100% natural and gluten-free, and contain no soy, MSG, or added salt. These oils and vinegars can also be purchased online at

      The always-popular weekly entertainment will be Banjo Tom and Alabama Dan. Tom and Dan play American Old Time and Bluegrass music on banjos and guitar. Banjo Tom will be playing and demonstrating six different types of banjos from America’s past when, according to Banjo Tom, “it was the banjo, versus the guitar, that captured America’s hearts and imaginations—long, long before there was rock and roll and the folk movement.”

      More information on Maple Valley Farmers’ Market is available at (425) 463-6751 or at  All MVFM fans are encouraged to “Friend us on FACEBOOK,” and to remember that the Maple Valley Farmers’ Market is the “Saturday morning place to be.”   NOTE:  This article was written by Brooke Dillon and posted by Victoria Laise Jonas.


Delicious Breakfasts and Fresh Fruit Pie Bake Off Day – Saturday August 11th

August 5th, 2012 at 10:18 am by Larry Baumgart
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       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  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

          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

        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  All MVFM fans are encouraged to “Friend us on FACEBOOK.”   NOTE:  This article was written by Brooke Dillon and posted by Victoria Laise Jonas.


     Weekly attendance at the Farmers’ Market continues to climb this year, with many folks choosing to make the Maple Valley Farmers’ Market part of their regular Saturday shopping, as well as part of their weekly entertainment and social life. Mary Ann Baker, a long-time Maple Valley resident and frequent Farmers’ Market shopper, noted that she is so pleased to have a local Farmers’ Market in her backyard, so that she and her husband can routinely shop to pick up the freshest of vegetables and berries.  Baker and her husband try to eat on the “healthier side” with daily menu planning. “Having such a wide variety of fresh and locally grown items to select from helps us support our life style. We like the idea that while shopping at the Farmers’ Market, we are supporting local farmers with their businesses,” Baker said.

     The 40+ vendors at the Maple Valley Farmers’ Market are grateful for customers such as the Bakers, as, without such a strong customer base, the vendors would have little reason to haul their products to Rock Creek Elementary early each Saturday morning, set up their bright displays, and stand for four busy hours under their bright-green awnings. 

     As a token of appreciation to Bakers and others like them, Ross Olive State Farm Insurance  (, located in Maple Valley, is sponsoring Customer Appreciation Day. The first 200 customers who spend $40 or more at the Market on Saturday will receive a FREE 2012 collector item Market bag, specially-made to hold the freshest of vegetables and fruits, a jar of jam, some pepperoni sticks, a jar of honey, a hunk of goat cheese, some crunchy biscotti, or a loaf of bread for Sunday’s morning relaxed breakfast.  When winter arrives, and the Market is only a wistful memory, the Market bag can then be used for grocery store visits and a reminder that summer will, indeed, return again.

     Another treat for customers this Saturday is the very popular free bicycle mini-tuneups offered by Dana Parnello, Pat Weiler, and Ron Flores, owner of Bike Masters & Boards, Inc., located in Sawyer Village in Maple Valley.  Flores just celebrated his first year in business in Maple Valley and is excited to bring his knowledge and talents to our customers. As Dana Parnello noted, “We won’t be selling anything more than the love of cycling!”   

     To further celebrate the MVFM customers, the Master Gardeners will make a repeat appearance with complimentary plant and garden advice.

     The MVFM Board also wishes to support those customers who shop at local businesses.  All MVFM customers who bring in sales receipts from businesses within the City of Maple Valley boundaries will receive a raffle ticket (one per receipt, no limit), which will be entered into a drawing at the end of the Market day for a basket of Maple Valley Farmers’ Market goodies.   

     This fourth season has brought several new vendors to MVFM, including Arturo Guerrero’s RIP Guerrero Farm in Quincy. Victoria Laise-Jonas, Market Manager, said, “We were elated to add a farm to our Market that sells certified organic products, as we have had many customer requests for this.  What a tremendous addition for us and for our local community! This year, overall, we have seen an increase in the number of farmers who wanted to be part of our ‘farmers’ market family.’  Our goal has always been, first and foremost, to feature farmers, and with the increase in number, we are well on our way to achieving our goal.” Cherries, peaches, apricots, and nectarines are currently available, and the Guerreros will add plums, pluots, apples, pears, tomatoes, peppers, and fall treats such as pumpkins as they ripen. Guerrero has sold his organic produce for several years at the Federal Way Farmers’ Market.

     Many customers visit each week around 11:00 so that they can enjoy the weekly musical entertainment.  This week’s group, Train Wreck, is a cover band comprised of four friends. Tony Garcia is the designated front man, who plays bass and shares the main vocal work with Brad Naybert, the main guitar player and vocalist. Mark Arnold, percussionist, provides rhythm and drive for the band on his South American Cajon, while Gordy Birse plays guitar and mandolin, and sings harmony. Train Wreck’s music is a mix of country, folk, rock, gospel and bluegrass.

     Come for Customer Appreciation Week, come for the beautiful fresh foods and lovingly-handcrafted products, come to support local entrepreneurs, come for the music, come to see your neighbors…but don’t miss the seventh 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  All MVFM fans are encouraged to “Friend us on FACEBOOK.”   Note:  This article was written by Brooke Dillon and posted by Victoria Laise Jonas





      Enhancing Maple Valley’s health and wellness were two of the reasons for the creation of the Maple Valley Farmers’ Market four years ago, and, so, it makes perfect sense that Saturday, July 21, is Health and Wellness Day at the Market!  This special day will feature a chef demonstration by our beloved and locally-renowned Soup Lady, Ginger Passarelli of Mama Passarelli’s Dinner House in Black Diamond.  “Mama,” as she is affectionately known, as will arrive early to the Market with her shopping list in hand, and will make the rounds to visit the farmers and other vendors to pick up her fresh local ingredients to whip up some delectable dishes.  Visitors should make sure to stop by her booth to learn some of “Mama’s”  cooking secrets and to sample her fabulously prepared dishes. 

     In addition, Thrive Community Fitness, Dr. Ribellia of Kriss Chiropractic, Joy Supplee of Custom Fit Nutrition, Maple Valley Rotary, and the Maple Valley Food Bank and Emergency Services will host booths, while local Boy Scout Troop #594 will be selling three-day emergency preparedness kits as a fundraiser.  And, last, there will be random healthy give-a-ways throughout the market day promoting our Health and Wellness Day.
     No Saturday at the Market is complete without music, and this Saturday will feature the Rhythm Players, a five-piece band playing music ranging from jazz to rock to disco, as well as some original pieces. Their performance will begin at 11:00 a.m.

     Twenty-seven farmers, ranchers and processors will participate in this week’s Market.  New to the Market this year is Sweet Briar Farms of Auburn, Annette Smith’s two-acre farm only 6.8 miles from MVFM. After a job-related injury and months of recovery, Smith realized through research that the farm she had owned for 12 years dated back to 1915, and her dream of selling produce “began to catch fire.”  With help from Puget Sound Fresh, and encouragement from family and friends, Smith decided to start to sell some of her products to Maple Valley Farmers’ Market, a venue that “had such a great feel…and was a good fit for me.” This month Sweet Briar Farms is selling a huge array of  naturally-grown products that travel only a short 6.8 mile trek from farm to market, including beets, bok choy, mixed lettuce with arugula, herbs, peas, squashes, flowers, potatoes, dill, cherries and blueberries, fennel, and much more. Sweet Briar Farm also sells honey and reusable handmade washable produce bags. Smith’s favorite is the fingerling potatoes that are “so sweet and just little bites of pure good!” A 1946 Chevy Flatbed truck, the “Old Blue Belle,” a gift from Smith’s in-laws, graces the farm and carries her goods to market.

     Prepared food is another favorite part of the Market, and E. J.’s Custom Catering is back this year with its always-popular booth.  Specialties include BBQ pulled pork, soups, breakfast frittatas, assorted artisan salads, entrees, mango berry coolers; and other rotating seasonal items. Most menu items are prepared with produce from MVFM, making a visit to EJ’s an even more rewarding taste treat.
      Health and Wellness Day is sponsored by Always Best Care Senior Services Eastside, which serves Renton, Bellevue, Issaquah, Mercer Island and other East King County Communities. Locally owned and operated by Patty and Michael Davis of Renton, the business opened in 2010.   Always Best Care Eastside provides two crucial services to the senior community: in-home non-medical care and finding find a suitable retirement community.  Patti Davis said, “Many seniors prefer to stay in their homes, and with the help of our care providers, we can keep them in their homes. Our caregivers provide help ranging from companionship and meal preparation to assistance in the bathroom and showers. But some seniors either cannot or do not want to remain in their home, and our second service helps seniors and their families. We can help families make the right choice.”  Always Best Care was founded in 1996 and operates over 150 locations nationwide.

     With something for all, and the certainty of improved health and wellness, Maple Valley residents should gather up their friends and family, and make the short trek to the sixth Saturday of this fourth season of “the Saturday morning place to be,” from 9:00-1:00 at Rock Creek Elementary. More information on Maple Valley Farmers’ Market is available at (425) 463-6751 or at  MVFM fans are encouraged to “like” us on Facebook!  Note:  This article was written by Brooke Dillon and posted by Victoria Laise Jonas



It’s Kids’ Day at Maple Valley Farmers’ Market! Saturday, July 14th

July 9th, 2012 at 11:18 am by Larry Baumgart
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      While some parents may argue that every day is “kids’ day,” this Saturday, July 14, is definitely a day geared toward kids. Games and prizes, face-painting, Donut Art sponsored by George’s Bakery, and a visit to the renowned Mrs. Utter Butter will make this Saturday’s Market Day even more entertaining for the younger generation.  And a returning favorite activity for the younger set is our annual Scavenger Hunt.

      Kids are always drawn toward food, so they should check out George’s Bakery’s plate-sized donuts, certain to open children’s eyes as wide as the donuts themselves; Chelane’s shimmery fresh cane sugar fruit jam; Calhoun Family Fruit’s succulent fresh fruit; Mama Rizzo’s enticing cupcake cones; and the smoked cheese and pepperoni sticks from Lind’s Custom Meats, in addition to the remaining 21 farmers/processors’ booths. Brilliant bouquets of flowers, milk, samples of flavored balsamic vinegar, goat cheese, brilliantly-colored produce, and plants will entrance both the younger and older sets.  EJ’s Custom Catering, with its pulled pork, breakfast burritos, frittatas, assorted artisan salads and soups, and mango berry coolers may start children begging for some change, and the other prepared-food booths will also set stomachs rumbling. Art will abound again on Saturday, with checkbook covers, greeting cards, bookmarks, furniture, bird cages, kids aprons and clothing, cutting boards, dog bow ties, jewelry, wood products, photographs, wall hangings, bug repellant, reusable products, and handmade clothing, and more available. 

      To enhance the focus on the younger set, the Light of Life Preschool, Kinder Swimmer, and MOM’s Club of Maple Valley will have non-profit booths this week, and they will be joined by the Serenity Equine Rescue group, the Master Gardeners, and the Maple Valley City Council, as well. And, if parents or grandparents want to expose the younger generation to live music, they can wander over at 11:00 a.m. to listen to musician Paul Ross, who will perform Native American, Celtic (Irish), and New Age music.

     Several new vendors have joined the Market this year, including Cartwright Farm of Auburn. Maple Valley Farmers’ Market is their first-ever market, selected because it was close to home in a “community that is perfect for us,” according to Amber Vaughn, who, along with her husband and a friend turned a small garden hobby on their ten-acre farm into a business in 2011. Vaughn grew up in Lake Chelan with her mother’s garden, and “every Saturday we would go to the farmers’ market (which consisted of ten booths) and see our friends and buy produce.  I love to garden and being at the farmers’ market is a great way to share our produce and meet other farmers and craftsmen/women.” In addition to produce, Cartwright Farm has “40 chickens, including Americauna, Golden Buff Orpintons, Rhode Island Red, Jersey Giant, Black Austrolope and a few others. We also have 8 turkeys and 6 ducks and lots and lots of chicks.”  Vaughn said that “after being stormed out the first week, we still come back and we have sold out of eggs every time! Unfortunately it will be a late season for our produce, but in the meantime we are expanding the amount of birds we have.”  Victoria Laise-Jonas, MVFM Manager, said, “I am always so thrilled to add new local farmers to our market.  That’s our mission—to help farmers and customers who wish to see local, fresh, delicious produce easily accessible.  Welcome, Cartwright Farms!”

     The MVFM Board wishes to remind all that Maple Valley Farmers’ Market is “the Saturday morning place to be!” this Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Rock Creek Elementary School on Maple Valley Highway.  More information on Maple Valley Farmers’ Market is available at (425) 463-6751 or at  Victoria Laise-Jonas, President of the MVFM, urges MVFM fans to “Friend us on FACEBOOK.”  NOTE:  This article was written by Brooke Dillon and posted by Victoria Laise Jonas.




     Quilts, like produce, are planned long before they are planted, and are lovingly “seeded” and “watered.” Each step of their progress is overseen with hovering, hopeful dedication and craftsmanship.  Finally, both are “harvested” and celebrated for their beauty, their uniqueness, and the joy they offer in our busy, rushed world.

     These similarities explain why this Saturday, July 7, is Outdoor Quilt Day at the Maple Valley Farmers’ Market.  The Market is pleased to welcome Covington Quilt Guild members, who will share their love of quilting with a large booth of hug quilts (charity quilts), a magnificent raffle quilt, and a number of prized quilts.  In addition, Market Manager Victoria Laise Jonas will hang some of her quilts around the Market place.

     As always, 40+ vendors will offer freshly-picked, health-inducing fruits and vegetables; custom meat; milk; just-made baked goods, including freshly baked sweet potato pie, sandwiches, soups, and lattes; dazzling, inexpensive flower bouquets with brilliant peonies to brighten any home; juried and unique artwork, jewelry, furniture, children’s clothing, photos, aprons, and more; bath products, lavender products; locally-bottled wine; garlic spread, and plants.  In addition, homemade jams, spices and vinegars tempt the palate.

     Maple Valley Farmers’ Market has added a “sweet” new booth this year—JudyJo Tyler’s The Cupcakery, featuring made-from-scratch cupcakes, cookies, sandwich cookies, shortbread, double-dipped chocolate brownies, and ice cream cone cupcakes. Cupcakes come in multiple flavors and in three sizes: mini-cupcakes; standard-sized, both plain and filled; and XXX large. This is her first year at the Maple Valley Farmers’ Market, and she said, “I love this Market. It is very well organized, thanks to Victoria and her crew. I am looking forward to each and every Saturday, but without rain would be a blessing!” Local residents can see Tyler driving her Chevy Equinox around town, decorated happily with cupcake graphics.

     Music is an essential part of every Market Saturday, and this week will feature music by Gary Benson, who plays folk and acoustic rock with reflecting the influence of James Taylor, Karla Bonoff, the Beatles, the Eagles, Kenny Loggins, Shawn Colvin, and Joni Mitchell. Benson, who performs at local events, and whose music can be previewed at, said, “I play the songs I grew up with plus some from recent times – come, listen, and enjoy!”

     Along with Covington Quilt Guild, one of the Market sponsors, Dr. Melanie Caviness of Wilderness Animal Hospital will have an information booth set-up.  Wilderness Animal Hospital is a full-service veterinary hospital providing care for dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, and pocket pets.  In addition, Tahoma Cooperative Pre-School and NW International Student Exchange will have information booths set up.

     Whether it’s the freshest produce, fruit, and flowers around town; quilts; the unique products made by local entrepreneurs; the music; the delicious food items; the artwork; or the chance to catch up with neighbors and friends—Maple Valley Farmers’ Market, held from 9:00-1:00 this Saturday at Rock Creek Elementary, is definitely the “Saturday morning place to be!” For more information about the Farmers’ Market, visit our web-site or e-mail us at:  Friend us on Facebook.   NOTE:  This article was writen by Brooke Dillon and posted by Victoria Laise Jonas.




     It’s Food Independence Day at the Maple Valley Farmers’ Market this week, celebrating local weekly fresh produce direct from the field and farm.  The Market is a perfect Saturday shopping adventure for those who wish to stock their kitchen for the week and holiday ahead, as well as for those who just wish to admire the colors, textures, and smells of just-picked berries, glorious flower bouquets, lettuce, onions, herbs, and the ever-changing produce array, based on what is in season.

     To add to the old-fashioned celebration, there will be a Patriotic Hat contest at 10:00 a.m.  Market visitors should create a patriotic hat suitable for Independence Day.  Winners will be determined by audience applause, and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners will receive a winning ribbon and prize in both the adult and children’s division.

    It wouldn’t be a Market Saturday without music, and this week will feature Cliff  Okomato, playing a wide variety of music, including old and new songs with a wide range of appeal for all.

    A very special part of the Market experience is the wisdom and guidance brought by the Master Gardeners, who will be present at Saturday’s Market to answer gardening queries.  Their free expertise and resources are a goldmine for local gardeners.

   While produce is the Market’s mainstay, an abundance of other booths abound each week.  Wine, fresh berries, lavender products, local vinegars, bath products, radiant flower bouquets, locally–made jam, and local beef are all available. Artists are also an integral part of the Market, with photography, jewelry , wood products, , quilted products, and other juried artisan creations available weekly.

   Processed food vendors at the Market can satisfy every palate and whim.  E.J’s Catering, Mama Rizzo’s Biscotti & More, and George’s Bakery return this season, while Ristretto’s Coffee, Ms. Margie’s Sweet Potato Pies, and The Cupcakery all make their premier appearances this season at the Market. There will be more to do and experience than customers can even sample this week at the MVFM.  Maple Valleyites should mark their calendars now for 9:00-1:00 on Saturday at Rock Creek Elementary.  It’s the “Saturday morning place to be!”  Friend us on Facebook.    NOTE:  This article was written by Brooke Dillon and posted by Victoria Laise Jonas.

                      The second Saturday of Maple Valley Farmers’ Market’s fourth season offers a continuation of the celebratory spirit enjoyed at last weekend’s Opening Day festivities. Visitors can while away the hours from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., delighting in fresh flower bouquets; freshly-harvested locally-grown produce; garlic spread, cheese, and meat; Maple Valley’s own coffee stand, Ristretto’s; lavender products; artistic creations; prepared foods; and much more.  In celebrating our “Green Living Day” theme, those visitors  who either walk or ride their bike to the Farmers’ Market on Saturday will be rewarded with free Market bucks! 

                      In addition to the 40+ vendor stalls available for browsing, the Market will be celebrating “Green Living Day,” thanks to the generous sponsorship of Cedar Grove Composting. Cedar Grove Composting is proud to sponsor Green Living Day at the Maple Valley Farmers Market.  As an industry-leading environmental solutions company, Cedar Grove harnesses the vitality of organic waste by recycling it into innovative products. In doing so, Cedar Grove helps to “energize cities, businesses and citizens to be a force for good by coming full circle with their organic waste.”  Cedar Grove Composting will have a booth at the market, and visitors can stop by and say thanks for the company’s commitment to the environment.

                      In addition to the fresh “green” produce, some of the especially “green” product vendors include Versatile Designs, a business that fills their garden pots from the bottom up with nutrient-rich compost and perennials that have been raised right here in the Valley. Many bouquets come with shrubs that can be propagated or seeds that can be sowed; custom garden and landscape design are also in their offerings. Another green vendor is Leslie McCann’s My Mama’s Love, which sells certified-organic, all-natural skin remedies for eczema, burns, psoriasis, and acne, as well as bug repellant, lip balms, massage ointments and soothing scalp spray.  McCann was recently featured in Seattle Natural Awakenings Magazine and was also in the running for Startup Nation’s 100 Best Home-Based Businesses.  Other local businesses participating in this special event are CAF Environmental Solutions, a leading manufacturer of outdoor cleaning products; and Republic Services (formerly Allied Waste).   

                      Non-profit groups hold a special place at each week’s Market.  Victoria Laise-Jonas, President of MVFM, said, “Maple Valley enjoys a strong sense of community engagement. Part of our success as a Farmers’ Market is offering a platform for our local non-profit organizations to set up a market stall space for educational/informational or fund-raising activities.” Local non-profits interested in having a stall space are encouraged to contact Laise Jonas directly. To continue with the “Green Living Day” theme, representatives from Master Gardeners, South County Cats, the Tahoma High Green Team, Green Team Glacier Park Elementary School, and Sasha Shaw of King County Noxious Weed Control Program will be on site to answer questions.

                       And, it wouldn’t be the Farmers’ Market without live musical entertainment. This week’s entertainer is Maple Valley’s own beloved Jim Hanna, a local singer/songwriter who plays acoustic folk, rock, country, and original tunes.

                      The Market is located on the grounds of Rock Creek Elementary School, 25700 Maple Valley Black Diamond Road Southeast More information on Maple Valley Farmers’ Market is available at (425) 463-6751, or at Victoria Laise Jonas, President of MVFM, urges MVFM fans to “Friend us on FACEBOOK,” and to remember that Maple Valley Farmers’ Market is the “Saturday Morning Place to Be!”  NOTE:  This article was written by Brooke Dillon and posted by Victoria Laise Jonas.



            A dreary winter marked by a vicious ice storm that cracked and leveled decades-old trees, a spring with sparse sunbreaks,  and a June that has thus far been marked by monsoon rains—without a doubt, the citizens of Maple Valley are more than ready for the summer promises, the fresh-from-the-ground produce, the hot Ristretto’s coffee, the unique artisan creations, the brilliant flowers, and the freshly-made rhubarb cobbler offered at our own local Farmers’ Market.

            Market doors will open at 9:00 a.m., with Opening Day ceremonies beginning at 10:00 am. with the elegant strains of the Maple Valley Youth Symphony, Girl Scout Troop #42325, led by Kristin Burdge, will conduct the 10:00 a.m. Flag Ceremony, followed by opening remarks by Mayor Bill Allison and the traditional ribbon cutting celebrating the beginning of the Market’s fourth season. The 2012 Farmers’ Market bag, designed by Tahoma High students Bethany Skerritt and Dani Skeldon, will be unveiled and available for purchase, and hourly drawings for give-a-way prizes donated by Johnson’s Home and Garden will be held throughout the day.

            With 19 scheduled farmers/ranchers, four processed food stalls, six prepared food vendors, and thirteen artisans. Karen Haines of Illustriddler will paint the faces of eager chubby-cheeked children , and nonprofit groups Lake Wilderness Arboretum, Master Gardeners, and Bears Soccer Boosters will each host a stall.  While fans of the Market will eagerly welcome returning vendors, many new vendors will also grace the grounds of Rock Creek Elementary.

            Sweet Briar Farm of Auburn will feature an array of vegetables including herbs, three types of peas, kale and tatsoi, sweet peas and snap dragons, cauliflower, beets, and green onions; honey; and reusable handmade washable produce bags.  Another new farmer joining MVFM is Auburn’s Cartwright Farm, selling eggs, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, and beans.  Also new for Season Four is RIP Guerrero Farm of Quincy, bringing organic apricots and cherries for Opening Day.

            For those who can’t start their day without a cup of java, Ristretto’s of Maple Valley will provide lattes and coffee drinks to make the shopping experience even more enjoyable.  Sweet tooth fans will find more than enough to tempt them with this year’s new addition of Ms. Margie’s Sweet Potato Pie—pies ranging in size from 3” to 5” to 9” and made from a “good ole Southern family recipe.”  And, if that’s not enough, MVFM finally catches the cupcake fever sweeping the U.S. with its very own cupcake stand, The Cupcakery. Featuring baked-from-scratch goodies from right down the road in Black Diamond, this new business will woo shoppers with their cupcakes, cupcake pops, ice cream cone cupcakes, sandwich cookies and cookie pops, double dipped chocolate brownies, and shortbread.  And, if spicy food appeals more than caffeine and sugar, the Market will certainly satisfy, with the new Four Sisters Gourmet Sauce booth, selling Vietnamese hot chili sauce, spring roll dipping sauce, fresh spring rolls, and frozen egg rolls.

            A grand total of eight new artisans will also join the Market on Opening Day. These include:  On the Up and Up, with children’s outdoor furniture; Beads on a String, with jewelry, purses, table runners, pot holders, cards, and dolls; Life in Stages, with up-cycled, repurposed and/or restored items and furniture; Blue Heart Creations, with towels, reusable sandwich bags, and fun gifts for dogs and babies; Cathy Brockmueller, with handmade earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and lanyards; Aimee Locke, with little girl dresses, kids’ aprons, and sewn clothes; Nutrition, Naturally, with an educational  game, glass heart pendants, whale tails, and healing stones; and Aya! Designs, with greeting cards, checkbook covers, and bookmarks.

           With something for every shopper and with all items made or grown locally, Maple Valley Farmers’ Market from 9:00-1:00 at Rock Creek Elementary is definitely the Saturday morning place to be! More information on Maple Valley Farmers’ Market is available at (425) 463-6751 or at  Victoria Laise-Jonas, President of the MVFM, urges MVFM fans to “Friend us on FACEBOOK.”   NOTE:  This article was written by Brooke Dillon and posted by Victoria Laise Jonas.



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