Poulsbo market harvests success opening day

POULSBO — Much like tending a field of corn or a row of beets, Poulsbo Farmers’ Market organizers have watched their idea grow and thrive over the last year.

Just like a farmer, too, Saturday was a time to harvest their crop.

Of course, this crop included tomatoes, onions and lettuce, alongside things like Bavarian bratwurst, goat cheese, pinot gris and even emu oil.

More than 200 people gathered July 10 for the opening of the Poulsbo Farmers’ Market inaugural season. After a ribbon cutting by Mayor Donna Jean Bruce, market mascot Farmer Fjord (aka David Lambert of Poulsbo’s Red Rooster Farms) blew the Norwegian signal horn to officially open the market and the shopping began.

Hans and Anne Schmidt of Bavarian Bratwurst were doing brisk business from the onset and never really slowed down all day. The couple offered a distinctively European treat of breakfast sausage-sized bratwurst served hot off the grill on a roll. Hans Schmidt said in Nuremburg, Germany where he grew up, the streets are lined with vendors like them offering the hand-held treats.

“And everybody has gray and yellow spots on their shirts from the mustard because they’re so hard to eat,” he explained with a chuckle.

The couple reside in Yelm and their family-recipe brats are made in Odessa but they said the idea to travel all the way to Poulsbo for a farmers’ market was an easy one.

“We love Poulsbo,” Hans Schmidt said.

“And the people who organized it were so supportive of the vendors who wanted to come here,” Anne Schmidt added.

Brian MacWhorter of Butler Green Farms, which raises organic produce at sites on Bainbridge Island and in Poulsbo, was also on hand Saturday. A 30-year veteran of farmers’ markets, MacWhorter hurriedly laid out a variety of fresh produce like onions, zucchini, tomatoes and lettuce prior to the 9 a.m. start.

But by about noon, it was fairly slim pickings.

“I think it was really big,” MacWhorter commented of the Poulsbo market. “I can see a lot of people support it. I also do the Bainbridge Island market, which is at the same time, but I’ll be back (to Poulsbo as well).”

The popularity of the first market was also witnessed by PFM president Ann Pyles of Smoke Tree Farms in Poulsbo. While keeping up with the steady barrage of customers swiping up everything from greens to bunches of sweet pea flowers, Pyles’ group was also on the count. Every half-hour, the organization took a tally of the number of people in attendance, which hovered around 200 people every time. Though many people may have stayed longer than half an hour, they estimated the counts added to potentially 1,400-1,600 people who visited the inaugural market.

“Fabulous — for us personally and for the market,” was Pyles’ reaction. “We’ve been getting a lot of positive comments and we’ve gotten interest from five more vendors who came by to see what it was like.”

But keeping those first-day numbers is something PFM members acknowledge will take some work. Pyles said the first goal will be to keep the wide variety of vendors at the market and ensure that each week’s offerings, like the seasons, will change. Market Manager Jackie Aitchison is also planning special events for markets throughout the season to keep locals and tourists alike visiting the market. Events planned include the July 30 children’s day, Aug. 28 touch a tractor (which will coincide with the popular Poulsbo Village Touch a Truck event) and the Sept. 18 Scandinavian festival.

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