Saturday, April 22, 2006

Sunshine feels like a blessing in April when it seems as if the cold rains and winds of winter won't release their hold. This is the first Saturday that we've had a pleasant calm day. Gini came to take the market van to our local farmers market in Coupeville. We loaded her up with tables, a canopy, products, lots of plants, and enthusiasm. On Whidbey Island we have five (5) farmers markets! That's a lot for a long skinny island of about 75,000 people. Lavender Wind Farm used to go to three a week, Thursday evening, Saturday, and Sunday. As things got busier on the farm we reduced the numbers and now just go to the one Saturday market.

I was on the board of the Coupeville Farmers Market for several years and learned a lot about running markets. In Washington we have the Washington State Farmers Market Association. It has rules and standards for markets as well as resources such as insurance and networking. Vendors at markets are an interesting, free-spirited lot. They pride themselves on their individual ways of doing things and their own products as well they should. But, sometimes it's hard to get that level of individually focused people to band together or agree on a course of action. The underlying agreement, though, is to provide the best possible for their customers and to get customers to come to the markets. In cities, it's less difficult to find people, but out here in the rural areas where the population of the town is not yet 2,000 folks critical mass can be a problem. Nevertheless, the people on this island value homegrown food and local crafts, so the market is growing every year.

Gotta go, the sun is shining and the weeds are growing.

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