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Farmers Market, Viking Ave. property owner talks ‘positive’

POULSBO — Talks between the Poulsbo Farmers Market and a Viking Avenue property owner this week were positive, according to real estate agent Terry Burns, treasurer of the Farmers Market Association.

The long-range plan is to find a permanent location for the market, with cover so farmers can sell year-round. “We would be the first [in the county] if we pull this off,” he said.

While talks are preliminary, proponents of a year-round market say the market would benefit from moving to Viking Avenue from the 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.

“I think everybody kind of has the same visions for Viking Way,” Burns said of the association and the property owner, who he did not identify. The association’s board of directors will be meeting for a retreat next week, where board members will discuss the next steps.

The market currently operates at the Doctor’s Clinic parking lot in Poulsbo. 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. Burns said they average around 50 vendors in the summer, and 25 in the winter.

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.

Tom Clark of Clark Farms, a cattle farm in Sequim, said he looks forward to Poulsbo going year-round if that happens.

“It’s good for the community, helps keep the local food out there for folks,” he said, adding that eating locally is “on the rise.”

Paula Strid, the association’s co-president and a vendor, said, “[Farmers] can grow year round, but they cannot invest in everything takes to grow year-round until they have a place to sell,” “It’s like the chicken and egg [story].”

Burns said the association has received a lot of encouragement from businesses, patrons, vendors and the community in general to expand. He said it’s “possible, but not probable” the market will move to a Viking Avenue location in time for the spring opening. The association does not want to start in one location and then move.

The spring market will open April 7.

 

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