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Vendors gear up for first 2014 farmers market
Linda Bartlett could sense by the warmth on her face that the season was changing.
If not that, a certain spring in the steps of her chickens was another sign.
“My interns all arrived last week,” said Bartlett, who runs Rosehip Farm & Garden off Fort Casey Road with her partner Valerie Reuther. “We’re fully into it now.”
Bartlett will be among several Whidbey Island growers, crafters, food vendors and others on hand at the first Coupeville Farmers Market of the season from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, April 5, at the Coupeville Community Green.
One of the state’s oldest established farmers markets, Coupeville is marking its 36th consecutive year.
It is the earliest of the Whidbey farmers markets, falling on the first Saturday in April. Bayview will kick off its market April 26 and Oak Harbor May 15.
Peg Tennant, manager for both the Coupeville and Oak Harbor markets, said participation gradually picks up as the growing season progresses yet, she expects to see some over-wintered crops from farmers, the kettle corn vendor, bedding plants for sale, artisans and others.
“One thing we’re doing new this year on opening day is having an opening market basket giveaway,” Tennant said. “This one does not require a purchase. If you come, you’ll get a ticket and have a chance at a smaller than usual seasonal basket that’s given away every year.”
What visitors won’t see are petitioners asking for signatures. Tennant said Coupeville Farmers Market members voted that out this year.
“It is not a place to recruit people to your theological or political points of view,” Tennant said. “It needs to be welcoming to everybody. That’s what we strive for.”
Bartlett was planning to bring some over-wintered kale and leeks planted during late summer and fall as well as pea shoots and arugula from new crops keeping warm in her greenhouse.
She always looks forward to the farmers market in her town.
The market will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays for the next 27 weekends with the exception of Aug. 9 when the 50th Coupeville Arts & Crafts Festival takes place.
“You get to see friends and people you haven’t seen all winter,” Bartlett said. “You get an opportunity to visit and sell food.”