The power of produce
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Per usual, when it comes to the Bellingham Farmers Market, the action starts with the traditional tossing of a head of locally grown cabbage.
Of course, by the time Mayor Kelli Linville flings the power produce into the air at 10am Sat., April 7 to kick off the first of the 38 Saturday markets that will take place at the Depot Market Square through Dec. 22, plenty of seasonal labor will have already gone into ensuring Whatcom County residents will have access to farm-fresh fare for many months to come.
In fact, more than 30 farms from Whatcom and Skagit counties will have representatives on hand on opening day with a plethora of locally procured goods—with more to come. In addition to seasonal produce such as leeks, raab, kale and potatoes, shoppers will also find baked goods, hot sauce, fermented foods, pasta, meat, jams, crafts, jewelry, art and ready-to-eat fare.
“In addition to 15 new vendors, the market will welcome back many vendors that customers know and love,” Market Director Caprice Teske says of the 26th season. “Some exciting new items being offered include handblown glass from Asp and Hand, artisan perfumes from AWE Botanical Parfum, traditional salsas from Sabor de Jalisco, and infused Greek olive oil and olives from Dimitri Olive Farms.”
Because Saturday’s event acts as a reminder that our corner of the country is a fertile one, Sustainable Connections will also be on hand to unveil the newly designed “Eat Local First Food & Farm Finder” and launch the Eat Local First Campaign.
The campaign helps people find, buy and prepare fresh, high-quality food grown, raised, harvested and made in Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan and Island counties, and the gustatory guide helps support not only local farmers, but also fishermen, restaurant owners and grocers who sell local products.
“Eating local is one of the best ways to stay healthy, nourish the people you love and support our community,” says Sara Southerland, Sustainable Connections Food & Farming Program Manager.
The guide lists 120 local farms and businesses, and how to find them. From A (apples) to Z (zucchini), interested parties will find information on organic farms, U-pick and farm stands, humanely raised animal products, dates for local food and farming events, and where to sign up for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares.
“These shares or boxes of food have been running in Whatcom County since the late 1980s,” Southerland says. “Investing in a CSA share is the best way to support local farmers and eat local on a budget, and are a great addition to any wellness program.”
To add to opening day festivities, there will also be a nonprofit fair on Railroad Avenue, free cake and historic tours from the Good Time Girls. Join the party, and, while you’re at it, pick up a head of cabbage.
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