By Lyndsie Kiebert
There’s a delicate balance to strike when taking over a long-standing Sandpoint tradition.
Kelli Burt and Emma Stanford are well aware of that balance, so in taking over the Sandpoint Farmers’ Market, they said it’s all about keeping the market’s core values strong while kicking everything up a notch.
“We’re really enthusiastic about breathing new life into the market,” said Burt, the Market Manager.
Burt said the Sandpoint Farmers’ Market is a producer-based market, meaning the farmers and artisans have been with their products — whether they sell produce, jewelry, bread, etc. — from start to finish. Burt said it’s important to the integrity of the market that vendors aren’t selling goods they didn’t produce.
“No one is opposed to change within the market, but we’re definitely keeping our core values of being producer based and keeping high-quality goods,” Burt said. “All of these farmers have been with their vegetables since the beginning. It’s really special to shake the hand of the people growing the food you buy.”
When it comes to breathing in “new life,” Burt said she and Stanford are focused largely on new live music and food vendors. The idea, she said, is to make the market a one-stop-shop for produce, entertainment and a quick bite.
“We absolutely want the musicians who have been playing there for years and years, but we also want to incorporate new options because there are a lot of new bands in Sandpoint,” she said. “And vendor-wise, we want more food vendors. We want (the market) to be a place you can come with your family, sit down and eat.”
Stanford, the market’s Community Outreach Manager, said she’d encourage anyone who wants to be a vendor to apply. As of now, 70 vendors are signed up for this season, but Burt said she anticipates 100 will participate at the height of summer. Stanford said part of freshening up the market is getting new producers involved.
“We have lots of long-term goals, which is exciting,” Stanford said. “Not all of them will happen this market (season), but we’re looking forward and looking to grow with Sandpoint.”
The Sandpoint Farmers’ Market is every Wednesday and Saturday at Farmin Park starting May 5 and ending Oct. 13. Wednesday markets are 3-5:30 p.m. and Saturdays are 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Some markets will have special events incorporated. This Saturday, for instance, is a “Welcome to Spring” celebration. Sandpoint Waldorf School will host a May Pole starting at 9:30 a.m. and Ben Olson and Cadie Archer will provide the music. Other key dates are Customer Appreciation Day on June 9, the market’s 30th anniversary on July 14, Kid’s Day on Aug.18 and Taste of Market on Sept. 8. For a full list of updated special events, as well as the vendor application, visit www.sandpointfarmersmarket.com
“It’s a chance to sit down and see everyone in town,” Stanford said. “It’s a great way to get a taste of the community.”