Farmers market opens Saturday in Kent

Coolbird

Coolbird

Expect to see fruits, vegetables, flowers, crafts – even frozen beef – at this year’s Kent Farmers Market.

Sponsored by the Kent Lions Club, the market opens June 6 and runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Saturday through Sept. 26 at the Town Square Plaza Park on Second Avenue North between West Smith Street and West Harrison Street.

This will mark the second consecutive year for the market at Town Square Plaza Park, after three straight years at different locations.

“Last year worked out quite well,” said Bill Westcott, spokesman for the market. “It flowed well. The vendors and people liked it.”

As many as 40 vendors are expected for the opening Saturday. The market averaged about 40 vendors per Saturday last year, with a total of 100 vendors appearing at one time or another.

“To have 40 vendors on opening day is very good,” Westcott said.

Vendors will sell fruits, vegetables, flowers, food and crafts at the market. The types of produce available changes every couple of weeks depending on which crops are ready to sell. Strawberries, cherries, corn, onions, peppers, apples and melons are among the local produce that shoppers will find.

“We try not to tell what will be there each week because it really depends on what the farmers have ready,” Westcott said.

A new vendor – Richard Gradwohl of the Happy Mountain Miniature Cattle Farm in Covington – will sell frozen beef this summer.

The market accepts applications from vendors throughout the summer.

Organizers plan to have musical entertainment at least a couple of times per month.

Second Avenue North will be closed to vehicles from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Saturday between West Smith Street and West Harrison Street to allow the market to expand beyond the park toward the Kent Regional Library.

“We will have more vendors on the street and in the park area,” Westcott said. “We will expand both areas.”

City officials gave market organizers the option to close Harrison Street.

“But we decided to keep that open for traffic,” Westcott said.

As far as the impact of the recession, Westcott said the number of vendors and customers could actually increase because of the tougher economic times.

“We see an increase in vendors because more people supplement their income with a hobby or a craft,” Westcott said.

The market also accepts checks from the state’s Women, Infants and Children (also known as WIC) program. State and federal funds are distributed to low-income women to help them buy nutritional food for themselves and their children.

A total of 91 farmers markets in the state and nearly 700 farmers participated in the WIC program in 2008. Kent ranked in the top 10 percent for use of the WIC coupons last year, Westcott said.

WIC coupons are available Monday through Friday in Kent at King County’s Public Health Centers at Alder Square, 1404 Central Ave. S., Suite 112, call 206-205-1938 or at Birch Creek, 13111 S.E. 274th St., call 206-296-4930.

Kent Farmers Market

When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, June 6 to Sept. 26.

Where: Town Square Plaza Park, corner of Second Avenue and West Smith Street.

Details: www.kentfarmersmarket.com or 253-486-9316


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