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Whidbey Island farmers markets up and running
If the early weeks are any indicator, Whidbey farmer’s markets are due for a banner year in spite of the cold and wet weather.
Farmers markets in Oak Harbor and Coupeville are operating each week and selling locally grown produce to North and Central Whidbey Island residents.
“We’re ahead of last year,” said Peg Tennant, who manages both the Coupeville and Oak Harbor farmers markets. Coupeville’s market opened in April and Oak Harbor’s market opened in mid-May, which is a week earlier than in previous years.
Tennant said the late-May opening of the Oak Harbor market seemed late since spring vegetables were harvested earlier this year.
The bulk of the produce sold at the Coupeville and Oak Harbor farmers markets are grown on Whidbey Island. However, there are always some off-island growers scattered throughout the market.
Chai Chan made the trip from Falls City in King County to sell flowers and vegetables.
“I try to be diverse and mix it up,” Chan said while he was assembling a bouquet for sale. He’ll be selling at markets in both Oak Harbor and Coupeville this summer.
Tennant said the markets try to feature local farmers, but will look off island for people who grow items that aren’t produced on Whidbey Island. Notable items include stone fruits such as peaches, apricots and cherries.
In addition to crafts and fresh produce, there are a number of vendors cooking food at local markets. During a recent market in Coupeville, folks could enjoy barbecue, ice cream, cookies and pizza.
The Coupeville Farmers Market takes place Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until the Harvest Fest, which will be in mid-October. The market is held in the large field behind the Coupeville Public Library.
Oak Harbor’s public market takes place Thursday’s from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the wooded area next to the Greater Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce on Highway 20.
Tennant said the Oak Harbor market is full with approximately 80 vendors selling each week through Sept. 30.
She said shoppers will have to endure a parking change throughout the season. People driving to Oak Harbor’s market can’t park on the nearby tennis courts, which are being used by the Oak Harbor School District.