Following an abundance of April showers around these parts, May flowers are blooming across Tacoma – and with them comes the opening of farmers markets in two different areas of the city.
Tacoma Farmers Markets Executive Director Janie Morris said she is excited for this new market season happening in this Year of the Dragon.
“Dragons inspire passion, enthusiasm, ambition and of course, magic. These traits also describe the 2012 outlook for our Tacoma Farmers Markets team,” she said. “We are starting the 2012 market season with a fresh perspective and new ideas from passionate staff and board members that believe in the mission of serving our neighborhoods with the freshest local food. The stars have aligned and ‘It Starts Here’ will be our slogan for the season ahead.”
Kicking off the season, the 6th Avenue Farmers Market opened on May 1 at 6th Avenue and Pine Street. The skies may have been partly cloudy, but the atmosphere certainly wasn’t at this much-anticipated outdoor marketplace. To celebrate, the day included musical performances from Jason Lee Middle School, “Footloose” from Tacoma Little Theater and a special maypole dedication ceremony featuring a number of 6th Avenue business partners.
Spring greens, edible plant starts, flowering baskets, fresh cut flowers, seafood and smoked salmon, farmstead cheeses, baked goods, art and crafts made by local talent and more await those who venture out to enjoy everything the market has to offer. More than 40 local farms, food vendors and artisans will be selling throughout the season – and a few new ones have signed up this year as well.
Live music is a big part of the market festivities. Coming up: singer/songwriter Gen Obata on May 29; high-energy, three-piece pop rock/punk band Automatic Theory on June 5; old-school rock The Broken SongByrds on June 19; and Tacoma’s favorite eclectic songsmiths The Fun Police on June 26.
The 6th Avenue Farmers Market is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Tuesday.
The Broadway Farmers Market at South 9th Street and Broadway opened its 22nd season on May 3, much to the delight of downtown residents who will have a place to buy fresh, local produce, seafood, cheeses and meats through October.
Tacoma’s original and longest-standing farmers market, the giant downtown marketplace has a slew of vendors including farmers, artisans, bakers, specialty foods producers and plant nursery experts. There are also chef demonstrations, gardening clinics and live entertainment. Billy Farmer delighted crowds on opening day with his brand of American music; Gary Reid plays on May 17; May 24 features Ron Fowler playing acoustic rock, folk and country; and on May 31 singer/songwriter Gen Obata takes the stage.
Parking is not an issue, either. Shoppers can park the car at the Tacoma Dome Park and Ride (25th Street and ‘D’ Street) and ride the Tacoma Link, or choose public parking at two garages near the market – the Rhodes Center garage at 11th and Market streets and the Pierce Transit garage on Commerce between 11th and 9th streets.
Opening June 3 at 11 a.m., the South Tacoma Farmers Market will be enjoying its new home at Metro Parks’ STAR Center, 3873 S. 66th St. Live entertainment, cooking classes and stuff for the kids to do combine with all the bounty the farmers, bakers, cheese artisans, crafters and more bring to this popular South End market. See a special performance by the Barleywine Revue on opening day. July 15 is Healthy Kids Day full of family friendly cooking demonstrations, picnics on the lawn, drum circles and crafty ways to dress up your favorite veggies for the little ones. The market will be open every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. through September.
Proctor District’s farmers market at North 27th and Proctor streets opened March 31 and has been seeing brisk business. Open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., this market offers meats and cheeses, fruits and vegetables, freshly cut flowers, prepared foods, decorations for the garden, cooking demonstrations and even tasty treats for four-footed friends at the Dog Treat Bakery. There’s a wine and beer tasting booth and entertainment every Saturday as well. Learn more at http://www.proctorfarmersmarket.com.
The 6th Avenue, Broadway and South Tacoma markets accept SNAP, WIC and senior vouchers. Take your EBT SNAP benefits card (or debit/credit card) to the market information booth to receive market tokens in the denominations you request and use them throughout the market. Visit www.tacomafarmersmarket.com to learn more.