Note: There’s news somewhere in this post. Hang with me.
Where but in Port Orchard is the local farmer’s market more
controversial than a city council meeting? Oh, that’s right …
But let me not pick at
The story we ran today —
about a rule clarification for vendors at the Port Orchard Farmers
Market — garnered some strong opinions in the comment section.
It’s nice to know people are passionate about their vegetables.
I should mention that an e-mail we received last week, harshly
critical of the farmers market, was the reason we checked into what
was going on. I almost hesitate to bring this up … the contents of
the e-mail that is. That would mean I’d have to mention what has
become known as “the great tomato controversy.”
Let’s just say that, as we reported at the time (June 20, 2010),
there was a
widespread smattering of disgruntlement last market season over
prices South Kitsap
Helpline was asking for its tomato starts. Market officials
suggested Helpline raise its prices but, as we reported, did not
force it to do so.
Rumors that the dust-up turned into World War III are greatly
exaggerated, market officials say.
“I want it made perfectly clear I did not receive death threats.
I received some rather nasty phone calls,” said acting market
manager Barbara Fangen Monday. “We just chose to not respond,
because it made us look more ridiculous.”
Instead, as the Kitsap Sun reported, the farmers market
membership affirmed Helpline’s right to sell on the waterfront
Saturday mornings for the remainder of the season, “even though it
doesn’t entirely meet the organization’s guidelines. Vendors who
sell out of commercial stores are not eligible. Exceptions are
allowed with members’ approval, however.”
As we reported in today’s story, the membership revisited the
no-storefront rule in February and decided a clarification was in
order. Period, end of story. Suggestions (including those in the
e-mail) that there is a direct connection between the tomato
pricing issue and the rule clarification were not substantiated by
With that said, let’s move on to other farmers market news (and
thanks for your patience).
Olalla will have its own farmers market this year. The Olalla Valley Farmers
Market kicks off April 15 and will meet 1 to 5 p.m. Fridays in
the field next to the Olalla Bible Church annex, 13053 Olalla
Valley Road Southeast. The last day of the market for 2011 will be
Olalla residents Sandy and Roy Denton, who helped found the Gig
Harbor Farmers Market in 1991, have helped plans for the Olalla
market coalesce. So far 13 vendors have stepped forward, and Roy
says, the more, the better.
According to Roy, farmers markets are more and more being
regarded as commodity outlets for those seeking that
fresh-off-the-farm taste, not just quaint destinations for a
The Olalla Valley Farmers Market is co-sponsored by the Olalla
Grange #1125, the Olalla Community Club, Olalla Bible Church and
Organizers will host a meeting for interested vendors at 7:30
p.m. March 17 at Olalla Bible Church. For more information, call
Roy or Sandy at (253) 857-2691 or e-mail
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