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Farmers Market in talks for Viking Ave. site
POULSBO — Poulsbo Farmers Market officials are scheduled to meet Tuesday with a Viking Avenue property owner about leasing property there for a year-round market.
Real estate agent Terry Burns, treasurer of the Farmers Market Association, said Thursday he could not disclose the property owner’s identity but said “the owner is pretty interested in it.”
If approved, it would be a big step toward the Farmers Market having a permanent, year-round home. The proposed market site does not currently have a building, but that’s the ultimate goal.
Poulsbo Farmers Market Association board members have met with proponents of moving the market to Viking Avenue; they say the market would benefit from parking availability, the location on a major throughfare, and proximity to Highway 3. They also believe it could be a catalyst for Viking Avenue’s economic turnaround.
In addition, they like the diversity of established businesses on the thoroughfare: Ag-related services, a bank, brewery, children’s clothing store, grocery, home services, movie theater and restaurants, and historical resources such as the Martinson House Museum, Nelson Park, and the County Road 50 Walking Trail.
The Farmers Market is currently located near Poulsbo Village in the Doctors Clinic parking lot, but that site is for sale.
The Poulsbo Farmers Market has more than 60 vendors and is affiliated with the Kitsap Community Agricultural Alliance, Kitsap Master Gardeners, Puget Sound Fresh, Seattle Tilth, WSU’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the Washington State Farmers Markets Association.
The Farmers Market served more than 30,000 customers in the 2010 season. Several businesses that started at the market have gone on to open storefront locations. The market also hosts educational events and live music.
This year, for the first time, the market extended its season to Dec. 17. According to year-end figures, the market generated $426,926 in gross revenue over 36 Saturdays — an average of $11,859 per Saturday. The market accommodated 34,665 customers.
“That was encouraging,” Burns said. “It was up over the previous year — not a real lot, but it was certainly up.”
Burns said inclement weather during the extended season underscored the need for a sheltered market. But despite the inclement weather, “we had a good turnout and good spending per customer.”
Some 25-30 vendors stayed on for the extended season and said they’d do so again, Burns said. “If we can get a permanent location, then it’s off to the races.”
The Poulsbo Farmers Market was the fastest-growing market in the state last year, according to Farmers Market Association co-president Paula Strid.“Kitsap has rural roots and without keeping and encouraging those local farms, there is no local food,” Strid wrote in a Sept. 9 letter to the Herald.