Market season opens

Gayle Hassler selects a spring bouquet at Coupeville Farmer’s Market.  - Susan Mador
Gayle Hassler selects a spring bouquet at Coupeville Farmer’s Market.
— image credit: Susan Mador

April 6 was a gray, chilly Saturday — not the best day to be outdoors. Despite the weather, Coupeville Farmer’s Market opened for its 22nd season. Dave Thomas, market president, was pleased with the turnout.

“We’ve had a good, steady trickle of people so far. At least it isn’t snowing,” he said.

“At least it’s not doing that other thing,” said Irene Thomas, market manager, pointing to the sky.

Thomas said the market is “starting to look pretty nice with the consistency of the canopies.” While all market spaces are spoken for, not every vendor has set up yet.

“Give us another month, and we’ll have everyone here,” Irene Thomas said.

Everything from plants to potholders was displayed. Fleece hats were selling briskly.

Tammie Nagel and her children Sara, Laura and Wyatt toured the market. “We came once last year and decided we had to come this year. We’re seeing flowers and all kinds of beautiful things,” Tammie Nagel said.

While Dave Thomas said the market’s “first focus is local agriculture,” he added that “it’s a bit early for produce.” Thomas and his wife brought daffodils, hyacinths and anemones from their land north of Oak Harbor.

Sheila Case-Smith had starter plants along with hyacinths and narcissus. She also offered leeks, “Just picked this morning. You can’t get any fresher.” Case-Smith said she will be bringing more produce from her 104-year-old family farm: “Tomatoes and onions eventually. Miscellaneous vegetables and pumpkins later on. We’re well-known as Mr. and Mrs. Pumpkin among kindergarteners.”

Dave Thomas says the market welcomes the backyard grower. “This year we’re starting a cooperative produce booth,” he noted. Local growers can come to the market for a day without having pay a membership fee; 10 percent of their proceeds will go to the market. Thomas says they’re encouraging people who have a seasonal crop like rhubarb or asparagus to come in.

“In the fall, many people have more fruit from their tree than they know what to do with,” Thomas said. Cooperative growers would need to bring in their produce already packaged, priced and identified and be ready to help a bit in the cooperative booth.

This year’s Coupeville market is targeting children Irene Thomas said kids who grow produce can set up at the market for free. “This market always has plenty of festivals and special days for kids. Now we’re encouraging kids who garden and have produce to come participate in the farmer’s market.”

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