Maple Valley Farmers Market

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Third Annual Chili Cook-off Heats Up the Farmers’ Market – Saturday, September 22nd

September 17th, 2012 at Mon, 17th, 2012 at 4:15 pm by Victoria Laise Jonas

     A steaming-hot Chili Cook-off event is a fitting celebration for a summer marked by 48 rainless days 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 in Maple Valley. 

     While Olive has arranged for prizes, including $100 for 1st place, $75 for 2nd place,  $50 for 3rd place, and $50 for People’s Choice, the chili cook-off also serves as a fundraiser for the Farmers’ Market. 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 11:00 a.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 larry@payrollsolutionswa.com, 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 can arrive as early as 6:30 a.m. to set up their space and must turn in their chili for judging at 11:00 a.m.

        As always, nonprofit booths have a standing reservation at the Market, and this weekend Fountain Court Senior Living, an assisted living facility that also offers independent living cottages for seniors, will host a booth.  In addition, Maple Valley City Council will answer questions and provide information, and the ever-popular Master Gardeners will return for a horticultural visit.

       Musical entertainment will keep the chili’s heat blasting with the Maple Valley Big Band, a group of mostly local musicians who enjoy playing the great music from the big band era of the 1930′s and 40′s. Musician Ted Argo says, “We usually have five saxophones, four trumpets, and four trombones, as well as a full rhythm section. It is exciting music that will make you want to get up and dance! We are open to any experienced musicians that want to participate in playing swing and Latin, boogie-woogie and beautiful ballads. Stop by and enjoy the rare opportunity to hear live big band music!”

       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 jam, cheese, meat, dairy products, bread, lavender products, hot sauce, and too many more to mention.

      Visitors, however, will want to take special care to visit the Liberty Alpacas booth, a Maple Valley farm new to the MVFM this year. After recognizing the advantages of alpaca ownership and having had prior livestock experience and professional business experience, Jeff and Lorrie Williamson started raising alpacas in 2007. Their website states, “As newer breeders, the ‘alpaca learning curve’ is fresh in our minds, and we can relate to questions and anxieties about starting up an alpaca business. We use a daily hands-on approach with our young stock and intentionally keep our herd small for the best farming practices. Currently, we are raising our herd of Huacaya alpacas, focusing on a colored program with bloodlines such as Premier Absolute, Hemingway, Snowmass and Accoyo Victor. As well as raising these beautiful animals, we are the Pacific Northwest authorized distributor of MSA green panel equipment for small livestock. One can never have too many alpacas or green panels! We invite you to arrange a visit and see what alpaca life is all about.”

       This Saturday is the third-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 6 at Rock Creek Elementary School from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. each Saturday. More information on Maple Valley Farmers’ Market is available at (425) 463-6751 or at info@maplevalleyfarmersmarket.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.

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