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Farmers Market seeking

POULSBO — After about nine months of talking, the Poulsbo Farmers Market is pushing into the final stretch until the debut of Little Norway’s first fresh produce and crafts showcase.

And they’re looking for a little help along the way.

Last April, talks began to form a farmers market in Poulsbo, which received resounding support from the community and local farmers. That market will open July 10 in the parking lot of Tim Ryan Properties’ Valley Medical/Dental Center at the corner of Iverson Street and 7th Avenue.

President Ann Pyles said the blossoming group has already gotten substantial help from the community, including a $4,000 lodging tax grant from the Poulsbo City Council and discretionary money from North Kitsap Commissioner Chris Endresen. Many in-kind donations have also been made such as logo help from Jill Harris, Marta Morris and Bill Austin, Web Site work from Jane Bedinger, bookkeeping and accounting help from Gary Anderson and legal advice from Bob Hakanson and Linda McMaken.

“We have so many people who are helping us,” Pyles commented.

But the group is always looking for new voices. Pyles said the easiest way to participate is to attend meetings from 7-9 p.m. the second and fourth Monday of each month at First Lutheran Church social hall.

The next deadline for the Farmers Market is to complete its bylaws and rules and regulations to be submitted to the Washington State Farmers Market Association by Feb. 1. This application will allow Poulsbo’s market to be listed in the WSFMA’s 2004 guide and also receive insurance through the state association.

In late 2003, the Poulsbo market applied for and received its status through the State of Washington as a tax-exempt charitable organization. This means market members are also now free to solicit donations and sponsorships from the community toward their $15,000 to $20,000 estimated operating cost needs. Pyles said she will soon be speaking to several local community organizations about helping with one-time donations to start up the market.

“What we really need is seed money,” Pyles said.

Individuals may also contribute to the Poulsbo Farmers Market, however, since the organization is not a 501c3 entity, donations are not federally tax exempt.

A July opening was chosen to accentuate the bounty of local harvests. As a WSFMA site, the Poulsbo Farmers Market will carry only Washington State produce, artisan products and farm crafts with special attention to local vendors. Pyles said they’ve already received interest from a number of local farmers and crafts people interested in giving Little Norway a whirl.

“From the vendors I’ve heard from, I think we have the potential to be one of the biggest markets in this area,” she commented.

Pyles said interested vendors should get onto the organization’s mailing list and applications are expected to be ready to be sent out in upcoming months. But board member John Pyles cautioned it is important those interested understand that the market will focus on local farmers and their products, which means some crafts are not appropriate.

“Crafts have to be farm-based crafts,” he said. “For example, if you raise lavender, you can sell lavender pillows. You have to grow the majority of what you’re using in your crafts.”

But overall, whether a potential vendors or just a community members itching for a source for fresh food, organizers hope the excitement is building for a big milestone just six months down the road.

“We’re hoping this becomes a Saturday morning destination site,” Ann Pyles said. “We’re envisioning family fun for all ages, from children to seniors.”

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