Caprice Teske, the director of Bellingham Farmers Market the past five years, says one of the things that make Bellingham's market different from others is the sense of community.
"We are a gathering place where neighbors can run into one another and visit," she says. "People can bring out-of-town guests to share the Bellingham spirit and to entertain them. Customers can learn from producers and ask questions. Basically, we are not just a market, but a weekly event that embodies the heart and soul of Bellingham."
When people shop at the market, they are buying directly from the producer, providing them financial stability to keep their farms running, she says.
One of the market's founding farm members is Cedarville Farm, owned by Mike and Kim Finger. They have stayed at the market, Teske says, because Mike enjoys farming and interacting with his customers, and farming has provided a great backdrop to raising their family.
Teske acknowledges that farming is laborious and often fickle, but most farmers choose their endeavor because they truly love growing food.
She says the market will continue to sponsor Chef in the Market the third Saturday of each month, with local chefs showcasing the best in seasonal local products with demonstrations, samples and recipes.
New this season, the market is adding a sampling booth the second Saturday of each month to showcase simple preparations of seasonal products.
"For example, in the fall we will showcase how to break into those really thick-skinned, gnarly-looking winter squashes," she says.
Kids' day is still the last Saturday of the month, when young people can set up tables to sell food and crafts. Kids through senior year of high school are eligible; the cost is $5 per table.
The market often features musicians, with an occasional magician and circus performer. Buskers (entertainers) must purchase a $10 pass, good for the entire season, but there are only four or five busking spots available that rotate on a 30-minute basis, so there can be quite a bit of competition on a sunny day, Teske says.
She says some people still don't know that the market accepts EBT/SNAP benefits, which makes the market a good option for low-income people seeking healthy food for their families.
Reach Margaret Bikman at 360-715-2273 or email@example.com.