Thursday, January 10, 2008

Mercer Island Farmers Market

A group of citizens are trying to create a farmers market for Mercer Island, an absolutely wonderful idea that is long overdue.  I can't make it to tonight's planning meeting (Jan 10th, 7pm at the library), but here are my ideas:

First, I think the focus should be on variety -- diversity in products (of course), but also vendors, geography, and processing.  Locally-grown, farm fresh produce is great, but rather than simply imitate other local farmers markets that overflow with aisle after aisle of similar vendors hawking the same fruits and vegetables, how about just one or two of those, plus some or all of the following:

  • Dairy: Dungeness Valley Creamery already delivers extremely fresh, unprocessed milk, cheese, and cream to Mercer Island each week.  Ask them to set up a stand and sell it to the public.
  • Kosher and halal: micro-scale cooking, like from Kafe Kineret: falafel, real Matzo Ball soup, shawarma.
  • Tofu: freshly-made tofu tastes completely different from that yuk stuff you get at Safeway or Whole Foods.
  • Grains: Koshihikari rice (order through Uwajimaya) or barley or whole wheat, ground for you on the spot?
  • Coffee: Maybe Trabant could do a tasting menu?  or bring one of their Clover machines for us to try?
  • Spices: invite World Spice Merchants from Seattle or other small vendors who will sell small samplers in bulk.
  • Rain Forest fruits: find a supplier who can provide samples; nobody wants to risk ordering a large quantity without trying it first.
  • Meat: Alligator meat, goose, black bear?  Invite Exotic Meats from Bellevue to provide samplers.

Remember, you can get a lot of the fresh vegetables and locally-grown produce delivered to your door through services like Pioneer Organics (and without encouraging more driving, the way a farmers market does), so I hope that rather than displace these other excellent services, the Mercer Island Farmers Market can serve as a catalyst to expose more people to the joys of super-fresh food, increasing the market for everyone.


Anonymous said...

How about locally crafted wines and beers?

Ellie said...

Bring it on! We need one of these. The QFCs aren't cutting it.

rg said...

I'm an importer from the Philippines and offer products of indigenous fibers (abaca, buri, tikog (seagrass), and pandan). I've networked with a local friend of mine who makes coffee mugs and wine glasses; she has in the past turned the handbags I carry into gift baskets. I would absolutely love to continue to do this at a farmer's market. Would the locals be interested?

Richard Sprague said...

RG, I'd certainly be interested in hearing more.

You should contact the Islandvision site (link listed in the body of my post) about participating.

rg said...

Thanks, Richard, and have done so by filling out the business survey portion on their website, although the deadline for responding is well-past. I'll act quickly on this for sure!

rg said...

Richard, any way you can make the progress faster for me; would you want to be my advocate with Island Vision? I'm really wanting to get this going. Thanks!

Richard Sprague said...

sorry rg, I'm just a normal guy with no particular "inside" connections at Islandvision. Maybe somebody else will read this and can help?