Essential Service

A market for everyone

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

I’m waiting with bated breath for the day Governor Jay Inslee decrees yard sales are an “essential service,” but in the meantime I’ll make do with celebrating the good news that farmers markets throughout Washington state have been given the green light to proceed.

When the Bellingham Farmers Market kicked off in mid-April—a week later than their typical opening day—they were paving the way for what a modified market would look like in the face of a pandemic. To make sure booths were adequately spaced to allow for social distancing they shrunk the number of vendors to include only those offering farm produce and other grocery staples, limited entry and exit points to the Depot Market Square (as well as the amount of people allowed within the market at any given time), took increased measures for health and safety (including providing extra hand-washing stations and giving a directive to allow only the vendors to handle the produce before it’s purchased) and urged shoppers to stay home if they weren’t feeling well. They’re also asking patrons to wear cloth face masks, use cash apps or exact change when possible, and remember that all food, flower bouquets and veggie starts must be taken to-go. Follow the rules, and you’ll be richly rewarded. When: 10am-2pm Saturdays through Dec. 19. Where: 1100 Railroad Ave. Info:

The Anacortes Farmers Market began their 31st season in early May with an online-only version of the popular event. People were able to pre-order produce and more from area vendors, then pick up their haul at the market headquarters Saturday morning at the Depot Arts Center. Last weekend—after formulating a plan to comply with Washington state health and safety guidelines at the site—they took the next step and opened up for business. Their rules for customers hew to the BFM’s codes of conduct, and include following and obeying all signs, markers, barriers and instructions from market staff or volunteers. It’s worth noting that for now they’re only selling “food and flowers,” but those who want to support the market’s artists and crafters—who have been deemed “nonessential” during the global health crisis—can purchase their products online, then pick them up Saturday at the market’s information booth. While you’re there, you may as well procure a ton of lettuce, kale, eggs and radishes. When: 9am-2pm Saturdays through Oct. 31. Where: 611 R Ave. Info:

Things may have appeared normal when the Mount Vernon Farmers Market opened last weekend at the city’s Riverwalk Park but, like the aforementioned markets, those in charge have made many similar changes—including only allowing 25 customers in at a time to peruse the goods, prohibiting reusable bags for the time being, and encouraging customers to wear masks for safety. Check their website beforehand to find out which farmers will be in attendance each week, then get inspired to make a meal plan (or four). When: 9am-2pm Saturdays through Oct. 10. Where: 501 Main St. Info:

Behind the scenes, the Concrete Saturday Market has been preparing for its Sat., May 23 opening at the Concrete Community Center. Posted signage will direct shoppers to follow safety guidelines, but patrons should know in advance that for now it will begin as a drive-in, farmers-only market per state and county guidelines, and that its hours of operation have been shortened. Artisans and crafters may return when safety restrictions are lifted, so keep an ear open for updates. When: 10am-1pm Saturdays from May 23-Sept. 5. Where:  45821 Railroad St. Info:

Although the Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market will be beginning a little later in the season than usual, the show will indeed go on. They’ve moved opening day to Wed., June 3 at Hammer Heritage Square to help ensure health and safety protocols are in place in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, but still plan to bring fresh, local food and products to residents and neighbors—along with a hearty dose of strong community spirit. A list of 2020 vendors will be available soon, so check out favorites. When: 3pm-7pm Wednesdays from June 3-Oct. 14. Info:

Not much information is available thus far about the Ferndale Farmers Market, but what we do know is that it will open at its previously scheduled date on Fri., June 5 in the parking lot next to the Grocery Outlet, and that its credo of giving local vendors a place to “come together and celebrate good, hard, honest work” will be intact. If you’re interested in helping them grow, head over—and don’t forget your safety standards. When: 2pm-6pm Fridays from June 5-Oct. 9. Info:

The following day, Twin Sisters Market will kick into gear for its fifth season Sat., June 6 from 9am-3pm at Nugent’s Corner, and 10am-2pm in Maple Falls at the North Fork Library. In addition to having new protocols in place to keep the community healthy, opening day will also include a plant sale from Sunseed Farm at the Nugent’s Corner locale. Foothills folks who are accustomed to picking up a diverse array of high-quality produce grown nearby should be aware that new rules will be in place, but they can still expect to find great prices—by taking turns having the hard-working farmers staff the market, they’re able to keep prices low for East Whatcom County residents. When: 9am-3pm Saturdays June 6-Oct. 23. Where: IGA parking lot at Nugent’s Corner, 7506 N. Kendall Rd. Info:

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