Doubly Local: Olympia Farmers Market Does It Right

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Buying local grows powerful commerce. Vendors at our beloved Olympia Farmers Market support one another by using each other’s products in their own businesses. Consequently, many of your market purchases will end up supporting several businesses at the same time. Olympia Farmers Market vendors come from Thurston, Lewis, Mason, and Grays Harbor counties, so your dollar is more likely to stay within the community.

Blue Heron Bakery display cases full of baked goods
Blue Heron Bakery bread is used for sandwiches at Madeline’s Bavarian Wurst at the Olympia Farmers Market. Your local dollars stay local. Photo credit: Mary Ellen Psaltis

Olympia Farmers Market Vendors Support Each Other

Maybe you are having a breakfast sandwich from the longest running restaurant at the Olympia Farmers Market, Madeline’s Bavarian Wurst. Bread comes from the San Francisco Street Bakery and cinnamon bread from Wagner’s Bakery. The bacon drippings end up at Crossed Paws Bakery.  HotBabe HotSauce purchases peppers and quince from local farmers to create seasonal flavors.

Are you enjoying lunch at Mother’s Roots Seasonal Kitchen? The bulk of its produce, bread and meat come from Olympia Farmers Market vendors. Owner/operator Janna Taylor is enthusiastic about obtaining produce from her business neighbors. “It’s clean, fresh, requires less processing and tastes better,” she says looking at the differences between local farm purchases and commercial distributors. Janna also appreciates the relationships she has with other owners and farmers. “It’s incredible!”  

The exquisite dog treats from Crossed Paws Bakery have all sorts of ingredients from neighborly Olympia Farmers Market vendors. “80% of our sourcing is local,” says Lenore Tetreault, owner.

Crossed Paws Bakery at the Olympia Farmers Market bakes smile-worthy treats for your four-legged friends. The bulk of the ingredients are sourced right from the market. Owner Lenore Tetreault and her friend Douglas the dalmatian welcome your visit. Photo credit: Mary Ellen Psaltis

She uses salmon from Sea Blossom and carrots and kale come from Rising River Farm.

“It’s a smaller footprint,” explains Lenore adding, “I get it right here. It’s fresh.” The ingredients are all human grade. Johnson Berry Farm and Spooners supply berries. Crossed Paws purchases apples, cranberries, zucchini, squash, mint, and chicken and beef livers from Olympia Farmers Market vendors. She buys literally hundreds of pounds of carrots. If you don’t have any dog friends, it’s worth a walk by the stall to admire the cleverly made goodies. You can also purchase produce from these vendors so you can eat your own share of fruits and vegetables.

Spending Dollars Locally Matters, so Head to the Olympia Famers Market

When you buy products at locally-owned and independent businesses instead of a chain store or online giant, your dollars recirculate through your local economy two to four times more than money spent at a non-local company. Estimates are that 66 cents of every dollar spent at a small business stays local versus 11 cents spent at a multinational retailer.

two bins of apples, one red, one yellow.
Apples are the Olympia Farmers Market come in many flavors. Some are used in Crossed Paws Bakery treats. You can take home some for you, too. Photo credit: Mary Ellen Psaltis

Seasonal Edibles Delight Shoppers at the Olympia Farmers Market

As we move through the growing season, the types of fruits and vegetables continues to vary. The good news is that things change every week. The other side is that certain choices don’t last forever. Produce at the Olympia Farmers Market arrives at the height of its season for optimum taste. When the berries start rolling in, you might want to decide to freeze or can a few of those raspberries, because they come and then they go. It the same with canning cucumbers and beans.

The ever-changing landscape of the Olympia Farmers Market means that although visits are similar, and the place is familiar, the offerings shift. I love the variety. Do you see an edible that you aren’t familiar with? Or maybe you see luscious greens but wonder what to do with them. The representatives at the stall are often the owners or people who work on the farm. They are proud of their wares and usually willing to share a recipe idea or help with your questions.

Olympia Farmers Market: Find More Than Food

It’s easy to get hyper-focused on summer berries and other favorite foods. Remember that the Market crafters are also around with ideas for your home or for a gift. You will find potters, fiber artists, body-care specialists, woodworkers, and jewelry makers. Since you are right there, you are able to touch, smell and see everything up-close. You might get part of your holiday shopping done extra early this year.

You’ll be entertained with live music much of the year. There is covered seating for weather protection. Check out the calendar of performers to see what is coming up next. Are you interested in performing? The Market is always open to connecting with new musicians. Contact Market staff to begin this process.

a table full of fresh flowers in vases
Enjoy the changing seasons at the Olympia Farmers Market. You’ll find flowers, plants, fresh produce, high quality crafts and body products. Photo credit: Mary Ellen Psaltis

Olympia Farmers Market Helps Seniors and Others Financially

The Olympia Farmers Market offers several programs to stretch funds. People who are 55 and above receive a discount on Thursdays during High Season. Discounts vary with vendors. Look for “Senior Thursday” signage in each vendor stall, or simply ask. No one will assume your age, so you need to let them know.

Customers can swipe their EBT card for EBT Market Vouchers. The SNAP Market Match has a grant for $25 in additional dollars to use for fresh fruit, vegetables, mushrooms and edible plant starts.

From June to October, the Farmers Market Nutritional Program offers support to seniors and WIC participants. With Senior/WIC FMNP dollars, recipients receive extra money to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables at the Market. Seniors can contact Lewis-Mason-Thurston Area Agency on Aging for an application and WIC recipients should talk to their clinic.

Stay up to date with the Olympia Farmers Market newsletter. You will also find information on the Olympia Farmers Market Instagram and Facebook. Bring your appetite, your grocery list, your reusable grocery bags, and ask a friend to join you. The whole community is enriched when you spend locally.

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