Kent Farmers Market opens Saturday, June 4

As many as 50 vendors selling everything from fruits, flowers, vegetables and crafts are expected at the opening Saturday, June 4 of the Kent Farmers Market.

Vendors Ze Lao

Vendors Ze Lao

As many as 50 vendors selling everything from fruits, flowers, vegetables and crafts are expected at the opening Saturday, June 4 of the Kent Farmers Market.

“Things are looking really good,” said Bill Westcott, organizer of the market sponsored by the Kent Lions Club. “We’ve got almost all of the vendors from last year back and so far we have about one-half dozen new farmers.”

The market runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Saturday through Sept. 24 at Town Square Plaza Park on Second Avenue between West Smith Street and West Harrison Street in downtown Kent.

“Most of the farmers are from Eastern Washington,” Westcott said about the lineup for opening day. “The farmers on this side of the mountain will be delayed (because of the cool weather) until stuff starts growing around here.”

One farmer already told Westcott strawberries won’t be ready until June 11.

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.

“Most of what we get is from Eastern Washington,” Westcott said. “The flower vendors are from this side of the mountains.”

Fifty-one vendors have signed up and paid for spots at the market. Another couple of dozen vendors have filled out applications but not paid yet.

“It’s one of the oldest continuous running farmers markets in King County,” Westcott said.

The Kent Lions took over operations of the market in 1974 after several other groups ran it.

“It helps keep local farmers in business,” Westcott said. “They make more money at the market than selling to stores because you cut out the middle man.”

In addition to produce and crafts, market attendees can enjoy live music each Saturday. For the first time, the market has lined up a group for every weekend.

“They’re mostly from the Seattle to Tacoma area,” Westcott said of the musicians.

Westcott expects the market to be hopping with business on several weekends that it runs as the same time as other events, including the Kent International Festival on June 18 and Kent Cornucopia Days July 7-10.

The market also accepts coupons 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.

Congress set up the Farmers Market Nutrition Program in 1992 to provide fresh, unprepared, locally grown fruits and vegetables to WIC participants, and to expand the awareness, use of, and sales at farmers’ markets, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture website at www.fns.usda.gov.

Kent Farmers Market

When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, June 4 to Sept. 24

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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