March has a lion and lamb split personality, but April’s arrival brings cherry blossoms and lighter, warmer days. It also heralds the return of high season for the Olympia Farmers Market. On Thursday, April 1, the Farmers Market switches back to a four day a week format to provide local food, plants, artwork, products and ingredients to eager visitors.
This year’s format is something of a hybrid. “Our hope for this season is to provide a safe, cooperative, and successful environment where the community can once again come together as we transition from the 2020 year,” says Operations Manager Brett Warwick. Coronavirus guidelines are still in play, but a few aspects are slowly returning to normal.
There will not be live music due to COVID-19 restrictions, but the covered stage area will be converted to seating areas for those enjoying lunch or brunch on-site. On the Olympia Farmers Market’s website you can the most up-to-date information, says Warwick. “This will include the vendors scheduled to sell on specific market days, our online market, market program information and updates, vendor information and contacts.”
If you prefer to socially distance, consider shopping online for pick-up after the Farmers Market is closed. “We have many participating vendors providing a variety of products,” says Warwick. “All orders must be submitted by Thursday at 5 p.m. to be available for pick up the following Saturday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.” The ordering deadline was previously midnight, so keep an eye on the clock.
Available through the online shopping portal are farm fresh produce, eggs, cheeses, and more; artisan candies, breads, sauces, and to-go hot meals; hand-made crafts and jewelry; and Market Merchandise like aprons, tote bags and gift certificates.
Visitors who participate in the statewide SNAP nutrition program can now find dollars doubled. Formerly Fresh Bucks, their new SNAP dollars program provides a $40 match per customer to use at stalls around the Olympia Farmers Market. Simply drop by the Market office for additional details.
Ringing the opening bell at 10 a.m. on April 1 will be Thurston County Commissioner Carolina Mejia and Stephen Bramwell from the Agriculture Faculty of WSU. That day the first 50 customers in attendance will also receive a free plant start courtesy of Spring Creek Farm.
And a new season brings new vendors galore. Warwick and Farmers Market staff are eager to welcome several new producers to the family. Domina Dairy and Creamery offers farmstead cheeses from cows which are raised on site. Olympia Salsa makes family-recipe salsas using a traditional mortar and pestle called a molcajete.
Want some hummus and pita to go alongside your chips and salsa? Visit Mediterranean Flavors for a wide, flavorful variety. Tenino’s Alan Perillo Pottery can showcase any food or drink with their earthy mugs, pitchers and bowls. Set off your new pitcher with a cut flower bouquet from Cedar Slope Farm. They also grow heirloom tomatoes, slicing cucumbers and a bounty of seasonal specialties. Kiona Native Plants grows flowering native Pacific Northwest perennials, grasses and flowers.
As summer draws to a close, look for the arrival of Cascadia Knitwear. They’ll bring handmade scarves, hats and headbands to keep you warm and fashionable well into the colder months. Check out the vendor schedule for that week’s attendees.
Thursdays are still Senior Days with special discounts for those 55+ and fun raffle opportunities. Consider signing up for a CSA share from a local farm or grower to keep amazing fruits and veggies coming all summer long. Some plans are customizable in size and flavor and many offer pick-ups at the Farmers Market. Look through the list and see which is right for you. It benefits farmers and families alike.
Follow all the latest Olympia Farmers Market news online or through their Facebook page for updates, changes, and new vendors. Contact staff with questions by calling 360.352.9096 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Despite all the chaos of daily life, time marches on. Flowers bloom, fruits ripen and delightful things are all around. Make a trip to the Olympia Farmers Market part of your weekly routine. Markets keep food and shopping dollars local and provide healthy ingredients good for body, mind and spirit. Support the community from the ground up at this year’s Market high season on April 1. Now that’s no joke.