Yelm Farmers Market
Photo credit: Yelm Community Blog staff
– “YELM FARMERS MARKET CELEBRATES NATIONAL FARMERS MARKET WEEK”
“August is Farmers Market Month in Yelm”
From the Yelm Farmers Market:
National Farmers Market Week is August 7-13, 2016. In celebration, the Yelm Farmers Market declares the entire month of August as Farmers Market Month. There will be free I “Heart” Farmers Market temporary tattoos given out on the first week to allow Yelm area shoppers to participate in an I “Heart” Farmers Market Instagram contest. The Yelm Farmers Market will also feature a free cooking demo and sampling section in our Taste the Place Booth every week with farmers’ fresh vegetables and fruit. Through the month, Yelm Farmers Market will involve shoppers in writing love letters to the market, using a photo booth, and voting for their favorite farmer and other vendor in the market’s Love Your Local Farmer, Love Your Local Vendor promotion.
The Yelm Farmers Market will also continue the ever-popular Power of Produce (PoP) Kid’s Club Program for the expected 500 club members (the market currently has 460 members as of July 24). PoP is a nationally-recognized childrens’ program, introducing kids to where their food comes from and empowering kids to make healthy food choices. Each child 5- to 12-year-old receives a “Passport to Health” which is kept at the market and stamped every time they visit. At the time of joining, each member receives a free PoP Club reusable shopping bag and then, $2 in tokens every time they come to market– to spend on fresh fruit, veggies and food-growing plants. The program changes the way families in the Yelm area are shopping for healthy, nutritious foods. A double win is that the new young shoppers are putting dollars into the hands of local small family farms to help them stay viable.
Farmers markets are more than just an outlet for fresh produce and friendly farmers. According to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics, these grassroots venues have increased in number by over 60% since 2009 to more than 8,500 today. These markets preserve farmland, stimulate local economies, increase access to fresh nutritious food, improve community health, and promote sustainability. For example, growers selling locally create thirteen full time farm operator jobs per $1 million in revenue earned while those that do not sell locally only create three. Washington state is home to 116 farmers markets in the Washington State Farmers Market Association, of which Yelm Farmers Market is the last – though not the least – on the list. See the website http://wafarmersmarkets.org/washingtonfarmersmarketdirectory/ for a full listing of the markets across the state.
Yelm Farmers Market began in 2012 as a program of the non-profit Yelm Cooperative, and it is in its fifth year. It is one of only a few farmers markets in the state of Washington that is located on an organic farm, Nisqually Springs Farm on SR 507. The market currently has eight farmers from the immediate local area selling a wide variety of products, from fresh vegetables, to local wild berries, grass-fed beef, honey, eggs and locally made cheeses. A family orchard, Fardell Farms from Entiat, is also present at the market bringing in Eastern Washington fruit directly from their own farm. The farmers are complemented by about 20 other vendors that round out the offerings at the market – prepared foods, value added foods like hot sauces and salad dressings, baked goods, non-gmo popcorn, non-gmo pet snacks, and high quality artisan wares.
“We are especially fortunate in that the Yelm Farmers Market is home to so many local farmers for the size of the city and the surrounding towns that we serve,” said Suzanne Santos, Yelm Farmers Market Manager. “The farms are truly only minutes away from their farms bringing in the freshest, tastiest local produce imaginable.”
The Yelm Farmers Market features an Information Booth to accept SNAP (EBT) cards and debit cards to turn into tokens that can be spent at the market. The market also hosts free live music from noon to 3 pm every Sunday, a picnic eating area, and engaging activities focused on the monthly themes. September will be Discovery Month, and October will be Harvest Month, through the market’s last day, October 16.
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For the first week August 7-13, there’s a #lovemymarket Instagram contest. And I am handing out 200 temporary tatoos and asking shoppers, farmers, kids – to put them on themselves, items, etc. and then encouraging them to take an Instagram photo with the hashtag #lovemymarket. It goes into a national Farmers Market Coalition competition, and winners will get neat prizes, as well as the market that they took the shot in.
Week 2: Love letter writing activity to write #lovemymarket love notes – and we’ll pin them on tent canopies. Continuation of the Instagram contest
Week 3: Kids will make kazoos (out of toilet paper rolls) and paper hats at the PoP booth and two special vegetable costumes will be donned by parade leader volunteers and we’ll have a parade through the market (probably around 11 and also at 2)
Week 4: Customers will be given 3 stickers upon entering the market and they can “vote” for their favorite farmer and other vendor by placing the stickers on their favorites. The farmer and other vendor with the most stickers wins a free booth space for the day, and a lunch the next week on me!
Yelm Farmers Market Manager
M: PO Box 2583, Yelm, WA 98597
Open Sundays, May 22 – Oct. 16, 2016, 10a – 3p
at Nisqually Springs Farm, SR 507 17835