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Poulsbo Farmers’ Market not just a weekend affair

POULSBO — By all accounts, the Poulsbo Farmers’ Market harvested success in its inaugural season.

But instead of resting on its laurels, the Washington State non-profit is already planting the seeds to offer more in its second season, which begins in May.

“We’re poised to grow even bigger and better this year,” PFM outgoing president Ann Pyles said Monday at the organization’s annual membership meeting.

In 2005, PFM will offer a longer season, which will stretch Saturdays from May 7 to Oct. 29 at the same Poulsbo Village Medical & Dental Center location. But the paperwork was signed this week that will also allow it to conduct a midweek market from 3-7 p.m. Wednesdays June 1-Sept. 28 at the new Northwest Design Center and Furniture Gallery at the old Poulsbo Market location.

Pyles said Constance Swanlund, owner of both locations of Bad Blanche and the new center, contacted PFM late last year about the possibility of using her parking lot for a midweek market. Pyles said the location is ideal both for its ample parking and for its location right off State Highway 305.

“We probably wouldn’t have moved as fast as we did if she hadn’t done that,” Pyles commented. “It was something we wanted but we had no idea how we were going to get there.”

Agreements have also been struck with the owners of two nearby buildings for the use of their parking lots during the Wednesday markets.

A midweek market is something that has been requested by both customers and vendors, Pyles explained. While the market is crossing its fingers for success with shoppers, it already knows the idea is a hit with vendors. All but two of last year’s vendors have already signed on to also participate in both the Wednesday and Saturday markets. And as word gets around, calls are coming in from other potential vendors. Many who sell at other local Saturday markets such as Bainbridge Island and Kingston are interested in coming to Poulsbo midweek to expand their selling base.

“The Bainbridge Island market has been trying to put one of these together for years to no avail, so they’re passing information about ours out to all their vendors,” Pyles commented.

But success in creating a midweek market in its second year is something that those in the know feel is indicative of the whole success of the market. In its inaugural summer, PFM exceeded all customer attendance, vendor participation and daily average vendor sales projections. Despite a season that was shorter than most, PFM ranked in the top 50 percent of all Washington State Farmers’ Market Association markets in vendor revenue, and 12th out of 81 in average daily vendor earnings. The market as a whole brought in $86,600 in revenue for an average of $270 per vendor per market. The PFM had a revenue stream of about $27,000.

Now, the only thing to do is keep planning for the 2005 market, which is less than four months away. Vendor packets, community memberships and business sponsorships are now available for the new season. For more information, call (360) 779-6720 or go to www.poulsbofarmersmarket.org.

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