A sign of spring: Farmers market starting Saturday

The arrival of spring came and went rather unceremoniously this month.

Prolonged cold, wet weather has a way of doing that.

Proof of spring’s emergence comes this Saturday when the Coupeville Farmers Market kicks off its 39th consecutive season — rain or shine.

Farmers and vendors will be on hand from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Community Green.

Participation in the season opener is expected to be a little paltry, which isn’t uncommon in early spring.

“The fields have been cold and wet. That’s not good for having a lot but we’ll have plants,” said Peg Tennant, who manages the market.

“We have guest vendors coming from the south end until Bayview opens. They’ve got plants to move and we’ve got a place to move them.”

Some farmers market regulars such as Bell’s Farm near Coupeville and Case Farm in Oak Harbor are expected to attend, joining Round Tuit Farms in Oak Harbor and Fennel Forest Farm in Freeland.

Expect Kettle’s Edge Farm and Rosehip Farm in the coming weeks.

Bell’s Farm has been successfully harvesting some over-wintered crops and is planning to bring spinach, baby kale, arugula, broccoli, broccolini, beets, carrots and several types of potatoes.

Case Farm will have onions from last year’s harvest that were stored over winter and some pots of started pea plants, according to Sheila Case-Smith.

Most crafters are waiting until late this week to see how the weather is shaping up before committing to the opening market, Tennant said.

Brett’s Bread is one vendor expected to attend. Another is Oak Harbor’s Greenman’s Guild, which sells natural herb products.

Coupeville Farmers Market consists of 28 selling days. It will run every Saturday except for Aug. 12 (the weekend of the Coupeville Arts &Crafts Festival) and wrap up Oct. 14.

The Oak Harbor Farmers Market starts May 18 and takes place every Thursday until Sept. 28.

As is typical for Coupeville’s season opener, there will be a market basket giveaway. The drawing will take place at around 1:45 p.m.

A memorial table also will be on display during the market’s first few weeks to remember Oak Harbor woodturner Gary Preder, who died last month. His booth that featured “beautiful turned wooden bowls” was a market staple, Tennant said.

“It’s been our tradition to put up a small table with pictures and announcements as a way for customers who are missing someone to know what happened,” Tennant said.

Another loss to the island farming community since last year’s market was Coupeville’s Gerald Bell, one of the original owners of Bell’s Farm. He died in December at the age of 89.

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