Coupeville Farmers Market harvests greenbacks in 2010
By NATHAN WHALEN
Whidbey News Times Staff reporter
January 28, 2011 · Updated 12:53 PM
One thing unaffected by the Great Recession is the Coupeville Farmers Market.
The amount of sales made at the popular Saturday market has been increasing over the past several years to a high in 2010 of more than $339,000, in excess of a 10 percent increase over the previous year.
Farmers Market managers Peg Tennant and Dorothy Mueller attended Tuesday’s Town Council meeting to provide a rundown of the positive market season which begins in mid-April and culminates with Harvest Fest that takes place in mid-October.
Mueller told the council that fresh produce sales accounted for an impressive 68 percent of the market’s income.
As a member of the Washington Farmers Market Association, the Coupeville market must maintain a minimum 50/50 split between produce sales and other sales, such as arts and crafts.
Town Councilwoman Ann Dannhauer inquired about the advantages of belonging to the association. Tennant replied that the association provides affordable access to liability insurance, which makes it financially possible for many vendors to sell at the Coupeville market.
Despite the rainy weather that plagued the 2010 market season, 48 vendors typically participated in the Saturday market with 17 of those being farmers, Mueller said. The farmers sold $183,000 worth of produce throughout the five-month season. Crafts accounted for $55,000 worth of sales, which is a decrease from the previous year.
With Coupeville offering the fourth oldest farmers market in the state, it has developed into a popular social destination for residents.
“One person described it like church with pie,” Tennant said of the market.
People often meet friends they haven’t seen during the week and they can enjoy some of the food prepared at the market.
Councilman Tom Tack, who lives near the market, described the weekly market as providing a fair-like atmosphere.
Mayor Nancy Conard noted the market’s location behind the Coupeville Public Library on Alexander Street has helped funnel more people into the town’s historic downtown.
“It really has become a hub for Coupeville on Saturday,” Conard said told the council.
Tennant said the market in 2011 will continue to offer many of the events that have made the market so popular in the past.
Among them are the Mother’s Day plant sale, the market basket giveaway and the Harvest Fest, which is also a benefit to Gifts from the Heart food bank.Contact Whidbey News Times Staff reporter Nathan Whalen at email@example.com or 360-675-6611 ext. 5058.