Spring in the Pacific Northwest can be drowned out, sometimes literally, by atmospheric rivers, chaotic schedules or back-to-back holidays. But nothing rings in the spring, and kicks off Spring Break, like the return of High Season at the Olympia Farmers Market. This year’s festivities start on Thursday, April 4, 2024.

The Olympia Farmers Market will return to a bustling four days a week schedule with an abundance of produce, flowers, artisanal goodies, hand-crafted gifts, live music and Senior Thursdays. Open from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., parking is always free.

people with bags full of fruits and vegetables at the Olympia Farmers Market
With farmstands full of the freshest fruits, veggies and greens, spring means eating green, going green and saving green at the Farmer’s Market. Photo credit: Shanna Paxton Photography

Springtime’s Best Food, Music, Family and Fun at the Olympia Farmers Market

Interim Market Director Isabel Thomas says their whole team is gearing up for high season at the Market. Running from April 4 through October 27 this year, the opening bell will be proudly rung by Olympia’s Mayor Dontae Payne. “We are very excited to be entering our 49th high season,” Thomas says, “and continuing to provide our supportive community with fresh, local and handmade goods.”

Whether you swing by to fill the pantry with the ripest local fruit or crispest veggies, enjoy lunch and live music during the workday or want to pick up a floral bouquet and hostess gift for your weekend brunch, the Market has it all. You can even keep track of the current week’s vendors online to make your shopping list in advance. Check out hyperlinked category types and jump straight to specific suppliers of everything from baked goods and basketry to wreaths and yard and garden décor.

a woman buys vegetables from a man at a booth at the Olympia Farmers Market
More than just tasty treats, the downtown Market offers live music and vendors with art, crafts, gifts and freshly cut flowers. Photo credit: Shanna Paxton Photography

Going Green and Eating Clean at Olympia’s Downtown, Waterfront Market

Administrative Manager Nora Hantula encourages guests to think green during their April meal planning. “Spring is officially here and with spring comes a variety of farm-fresh greens,” says Hantula. “Cruciferous vegetables like kale, cabbage, and arugula, are popular this time of year, but you can also find salad mixes, scallions, cilantro, and more that are harvested fresh each week. I often leave the Market inspired to try new recipes with the produce that is in season.”

The freshest include kale – Red Russian, Lacinato and Curly Green – as well as collards, arugula, decorative microgreens and raab. “Raab is harvested from cruciferous vegetables that have overwintered from last fall,” Hantula explains. “Broccoli, cabbage, kale and collards produce flowering branches that grow off of the main stem. After the winter, these stems have a sweetness to them that can only be tasted after the main plant has lived through a frost. Roast the stems whole, leaves and flowers too, for a quick side dish. The crunchy charred leaves and tender stems will make this one of your favorite spring vegetables.” 

rows of bundled bok choy at the Olympia Farmers Market
Check out programs like Senior Thursdays, SNAP matching and WIC benefits which help dollars stretch into healthy food and quick-growing veggie starts. Photo credit: Shanna Paxton Photography

Olympia Farmers Market: Senior Thursdays, SNAP Matching and WIC Benefits Galore

To give shoppers a boost, the Olympia Farmers Market offers several programs that stretch limited funds. Thomas says that Senior Thursdays “allow for shoppers who are 55 or better to receive a discount every Thursday during our High Season. Discounts vary per participating vendor. Just look for signage in vendor stalls that informs the shopper that the vendor gives a discount.”

But Thomas reminds visitors, “shoppers will most likely need to request this discount when checking out as we try not to make assumptions regarding age. There is also a weekly Thursday raffle that all shoppers may enter into for free for a chance to win a variety of Market goods!”

Other programming allows guests to swipe their EBT Card for EBT Market Vouchers and use the SNAP Market Match which grants up to $25 in additional bucks to SNAP families for fresh fruit, veggies, mushrooms and edible plant starts. There are also WIC and Senior Farmers Market benefits in partnership with the Lewis-Thurston-Mason Area Agency on Aging. Simply visit the on-site office window with questions or to learn more.

Whatever your springtime holds, improve every day with delicious healthy treats from the Olympia Farmers Market. Photo credit: Shanna Paxton Photography

At the Farmers Market, New Vendors, Crafters and Artists Pop Up Like Spring Daffodils

The Market welcomes prospective new vendors year-round and this spring is no exception. “We are very thankful for our current vendors who attend the Market each year and provide a vibrant place for the community to gather,” says Thomas. The team is also excited to welcome new vendors to the Market family. These include Hops Honey Farm, Kawaii Donut House, Tease Cakes by Francesca, Withywindle Valley Farm, Crafted Restorations, Hood Canal Beadwork, Smoke and Fire Forge, Serenity Lavender Farm, Sweetlee’s Ice Cream, Creative Ginger and more to come.

But don’t forget the Olympia Farmers Market’s main stage. There is live music much of the year and a handy calendar of performers is posted to the event schedule page. New musicians are always welcome, simply contact Market staff to start the process.

“We try to keep our shoppers updated on what’s happening at the Market through many outlets,” says Thomas. “One of the best ways to keep up to date weekly would be signing up for our Market newsletter and checking out our website for more detailed information about specific vendors.” They also post on the Olympia Farmers Market Instagram and Facebook. Then grab your reusable shopping bag and head downtown for High Season’s best.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email