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To Market, To Market!

The first Kitsap Farmers Market opened May 20, 1922, in Bremerton and continued one day a week. Many other farmers sold produce at the docks, greeting the Mosquito fleet, and shipping their goods along with the fleet to be sold along the way. Not always profitable for the farmer, they might receive a bill for freight rather than money for their produce if no one along the way needed their eggs or berries. In this regard the farmer cooperatives helped tremendously, getting the best prices for farmers, and setting production goals.

Vegetable farming declined after its heyday in the 1920s and by 1956 the county was not self-sufficient in vegetable production. This was mainly due to the lack of fertile bottom soil for commercial vegetable growing and the use of most suitable land for pasture, hay and forage production. Gardens producing for home use were still very important in the 1950s but most fresh and processed vegetables came from counties in northwest Washington or from the eastern part of the state.

In 1978 a small group of farmers started the Port Orchard Farmers Market as a marketing venue for local vegetable growers and fiber producers. Still operating, Port Orchard Market has been joined by eight other farmers markets in Kitsap including: Bremerton, Silverdale, Poulsbo, Kingston, Bainbridge, Suquamish, Port Gamble, and most recently Ollala.

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