Olympia Farmer’s Market growing to new heights

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- For 43 years the Olympia Farmer’s Market has been the bipartisan place where locals gather to shop, eat and enjoy life outside the capital.

Created in 1975, Olympia’s Farmer Market has seen immense growth. The Market now boasts nearly 120 vendors and a building on the waterfront making it a year-round destination.

“A lot of people like to describe it as the jewel Olympia. It’s a hot tourist destination during the summer and it’s a great location for locals to source their daily groceries,” Bryce Dazell, Olympia Farmers Market manager, explained.

Olympia’s market prides itself on being hyper-local. Not only do vendors have to make or produce their own wares, but they also have to do it in the four surrounding counties: Thurston, Mason, Lewis, and Grays Harbor.

“We grow 14 different varieties of blackberries four, five different strawberries raspberries,” Johnson Berry Farm’s owner James Johnson tells us.

Johnson started selling his Olympia-grown berries at the Famer’s Market back in 1976! And his rare berries aren’t the only unique local treasure you’ll find. Sandra Borcas’ Grandmother’s recipe has brought her and her partner to their booth for the last 7 years.

“Caribbean hot sauce in the middle of Washington state!” Fiona Douglas-Hamilton of HotBabe Sauces exclaimed. “We have peppers grown locally by an all women business just outside of Yelm.”

Owners if Hotbabe Hot Sauce say business at the market is booming and that’s apparently a common tend.

“It made my business skyrocket. I’ve been doing jewelry for 25 years on and off, but at the market my business doubles [or] triples every year,” Silent Goddess Jewelry owner Laney Clark said.

One reason for that growth is the sheer number of visitors. Organizers say on any given summer day, 6,000 people visit the market.  There have been enough visitors that the market is now open on Saturdays year round.

“It’s a huge network of really amazing people that can all come together here and everybody grows from it,” Clark added.

And this network cares about affecting social change. For the past two years, the market has offered a ‘Fresh Bucks’ program allowing lower-income families to use EBT at the market.

“They can take their card to the window and get tokens they can spend with vendors and we will double their money so that’s a federal grant that were part of that were really excited,” Dazell explained.

For the first time in 43 years, Olympia’s Farmer’s Market will start selling wine this summer!

The market is open Saturdays year round, and Thursday through Saturday from April through October.

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