By Ben Olson
The Sandpoint Farmers Market was first launched 30 years ago, when local businesswoman Lois Wythe distributed flyers around town asking locals if they would be interested in having “high quality, locally-grown vegetables available to buy” in Sandpoint. As a result, dozens of interested people showed up and subsequently established what is considered to be one of the brightest parts of Sandpoint.
Today, the market is as vibrant as ever, with vendors selling locally grown produce, garden starts, plants, crafts, art and much more every Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and every Wednesday from 3-5 p.m.
With the first day of the 2019 Market season approaching on Saturday, May 4, market staffers are seeking new vendors who may want to sell their wares, especially on Wednesday markets when attendance is a bit lower than the weekend market.
“We’d love to get more vendors interested in selling on Wednesdays,” said Market Community Outreach Manager Emma Stanford. “So we’re making Wednesdays really affordable this year.”
Stanford said the fee to sell your wares on Wednesdays is only $5, as opposed to the weekend rate of $20.
“It’s a really good opportunity. I feel a lot of people are intrigued by the market but don’t know where to start,” Stanford said. “It’s actually quite a simple process and we’re always welcoming new people.”
Stanford said potential vendors will need to apply via the SandpointFarmersMarket.com site. Once their application has been received, a jury process will commence to avoid duplicate items and vendors. This helps provide a wide variety of items available for sale at the market.
“Farmers don’t have to go through the juried process, but a board member will do a farm visit with them,” Stanford said. “This is to get to know the farmer and get a feel for their farm.”
Stanford said the market is also interested in planning more community outreach events this season.
“We are really interested in doing food education and cooking with kids,” she said. “If there are any local nonprofits or community groups that want a table to do outreach like this, please let us know.”
Stanford said special events have been planned for every second Saturday of the month, with the following schedule planned:
May 4 – Opening Day
June 8 – Customer Appreciation Day
July 13 – 31st Anniversary Day
Aug. 17 – Kids’ Day
Sept. 14 – Taste of the Market
Oct. 12 – Harvest Fest (and last day of Market)
Nov. 9 – Holiday Market at the Bonner Mall
Local musicians interested in playing live music at the market should also check out the website and fill out a quick application.
“We’d love to hear from musicians, performers, or anyone who thinks they could be a good fit for the market,” Stanford said.
Also, this year Stanford reminds shoppers that the market will accept food stamps.
“We’re working on a foot stamp incentive program,” she said. “We’d like to do a market match, to give extra bang for their SNAP dollars. We’re working on getting funding for that.”
To keep up on Farmers’ Market news, check their Facebook page every Monday morning for their weekly Market news tidbits.
Finally, Stanford said vendors and market staff are interested in setting up a celebration for Tami Martinsen, a longtime vendor who passed away last year.
“Tami sold so many flowers and plants, so there’s talk of trying to grow flowers that were her favorites and get donations to make a plaque or bench,” said Stanford. “She was such a great part of our market, and we’ll miss her.”
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