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Farmers market to debut in Snoqualmie
For the first time, the city of Snoqualmie will sponsor a weekly farmers market to be held in the covered picnic area adjacent to the Northwest Railway Museum and the log pavilion in downtown Snoqualmie.
Organized by North Bend's Laura McDonald, also known as "The Pickle Lady," the market will be open every Friday from 3-7 p.m. starting June 16 to Sept. 15.
Fridays were chosen in part because neighboring farmers markets have events on other days and the city wanted to alleviate competition, as well as to make sure that interested venders did not have conflicting schedules.
The idea came about last fall while McDonald was planning her new deli/restaurant on Snoqualmie Ridge called "The Pickle Lady and more." It is currently set to open before the end of June.
"I heard from a lot of the community that they were looking for organic food," McDonald said. "I just thought Snoqualmie would be a perfect venue [for a farmers market]."
The farmers market currently has about 15 vendors signed up to sell organic fruits and vegetables, jams and jellies, honey, flowers, children's items, jewelry and crafts coming from local venders, as well as from venders in Yakima and Wenatchee.
There will also be music, entertainment and a children's activity area.
"I really believe in bringing the community in," she said. "I think that blending the whole area, the whole Valley, and bringing people in, for those people to come in and find Snoqualmie, I think it's really important."
McDonald has long been active in local farmers markets, selling her homemade pickles on a stick, cookies and apple chunk bread at the farmers markets in Duvall and Carnation.
In addition to what she sells at the markets, her store will also sell breads, soups and salads.
A professional chef (she received her training from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco) who worked mostly in the corporate world of sales and data management, McDonald and her husband Craig have lived in North Bend since 1993. They have an 11-year-old daughter named Maleah.
Looking for a unique way to bond with her daughter, McDonald said the two began to frequent local farmers markets a few years ago and realized how much fun they could be.
She soon began selling her homemade food items.
The positive response led her to the creation of her deli and the proposal to Snoqualmie for a farmers market.
"[Without a farmers market] you'd have to piecemeal it, meaning you'd have to go to several locations," she said. "This enables you to, on a weekly basis, get supplies and hang out and have fun."
McDonald had to work with the city of Snoqualmie to obtain permits (including one from the health department) and secure venders.
The city of Snoqualmie's Lodging Tax Adversary Committee (LTAC) provided seed money for the development of the market.
The LTAC funds come from lodging taxes collected from direct taxes on hotels and motels in the area and can only be spent on promoting tourism and tourism activities, explained Snoqualmie City Councilmember Maria Henriksen.
The city of Snoqualmie would like to see the farmers market become an annual event.
"We were looking for an event that would serve both residents and tourists and a farmers market keeps with our small-town character," Henriksen said, noting that the city was already interested in developing a farmers market when McDonald proposed the idea.
"[McDonald] came to us at the right time," Henriksen added.
A farmers market in Snoqualmie also aligns with the city's ongoing economic development plan that calls for more events in its downtown area.
"It's not my dream for the market to become overwhelming, but it is [my dream] to have quality merchandise there, to have quality product there and things that will draw people in," McDonald said.
For those interested in volunteering or learning more about becoming a vender, call McDonald at (206) 423-0819 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Snoqualmie Farmers Market will run Fridays from 3-7 p.m.
Other farmers markets in the Valley include:
The North Bend Farmers Market, which this year will be held at Si View Park located on Southeast Orchard Drive. This market is open from 4-8 p.m. on Thursdays starting June 29 to Sept. 28. Call (425) 831-1900.
The Duvall Farmers Market is held at the McCormick Park parking lot on Wednesdays from 3-7 p.m. through Sept. 27. For more information, visit www.cityofduvall.com/farmersmarket.html.
The Carnation Farmers Market, held at Tolt Avenue and Bird Street along state Route 203 is open from 3-7 p.m. on Tuesdays through Sept. 26. For more information, visit www.carnationfarmersmarket.org.