Stand Up For Farmers Markets! Help Us Challenge Proposed Huge Fee Increases By King County Health Department!November 11, 2014
Imagine your Wallingford Farmers Market without eggs, pickles, fish, meat or hot food vendors. When Public Health – Seattle & King County recently announced that they want to increase permitting fees in 2015 up to 300% for vendors, and more than double the fees for the markets themselves — fees they just increased by 500% two years ago — many markets and farmers in the King County farmers market community openly began asking, how much longer can we afford to be in this business?
While maybe the first sentence is the extreme, imagine if our one egg farmer quit Wallingford Farmers Market. How would that affect your farmers market experience? Do you really want to go back to buying eggs at the Big Box store? Well, we have already been told by one of our egg farmers that they will consider quitting farmers markets if these fees go through.
And it’s not like Public Health has been dealing with a rash of food-borne illnesses caused by farmers markets. In fact, there have been none. Inspections in 2013 and 2014 show a dramatic decrease in violations of health codes at farmers markets, so one would think the cost to the Department would be decreasing, not increasing.
That’s why we need your help… right now! We need you to make public comments on this proposed fee increase before December 10th. And we’d appreciate you joining us at one of three public meetings on these fee increases scheduled over the next two weeks. (Please scroll down to see the press release from our Market Master.)
Please submit comments to King County Board of Health at: Maria.Wood@kingcounty.gov.
Comments can be made to Public Health online at www.kingcounty.gov/healthservices/health/ehs/fees/proposal.aspx.
To attend a public meeting near you:
Thursday, November 13th
9:00 – 10:30 am
Phinney Center, room 6, blue building*
6532 Phinney Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103
*this room is accessible by elevator
Thursday, November 13th
6:30 – 8:00 pm
Rainier Community Center, Multi-purpose room
4600 38th Avenue S
Seattle, WA 98118
Wednesday, November 19th
6:30 – 8:00 pm
Kent Senior Center
600 East Smith Street
Kent, WA 98939
Seattle Farmers Market Association
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Huge Fee Increase for 2015 Farmers Markets and Vendors
Proposed by Public Health – Seattle & King County
Fee Increases As Much As 300% Over 2014
November 12, 2014
Department of Environmental Health Services at Public Health – Seattle & King County submitted a proposal to the King County Board of Health in late September to increase farmers market permit fees for 2015, without adequate justification. Called Temporary Recurring Event permits, these permits are required of every farmers market and hundreds of farmers and food vendors in King County.
This proposal stunned farmers market organizers who, like farmers, have been working in partnership with Public Health over the last several years to dramatically reduce violations at farmers markets, as well as Dept. staff time necessary at markets. Under the Public Health proposal, in 2015, the permit fee increase for each farmers market in King County will increase by 132%, and amounts to a more than ten-fold increase in the cost of fees paid by farmers markets just 3 years ago. Farmers and farmers markets alike are struggling to keep up with the escalating costs of doing business in King County.
King County is the economic engine of Washington State. It has the highest concentration of farmers markets of any Washington county, with about $20 million in farmers market sales in the county in 2013. Hundreds of small farms and family businesses from around the state bring their fresh, healthy, artisanal foods to markets around King County. All are required to make separate applications and pay separate permits for each market at which they sell. (King County does not issue county-wide permits.) These market vendors will see the cost of their 2015 health permits increase by as much as 300% over 2011 rates. Local farmers selling meats, poultry, eggs, dairy, cheese, fish and shellfish face similar dramatic increases. Requiring farmers to pay for a separate health permit for the same activity at each individual farmers market is redundant, inefficient, and overly burdensome.
Seattle Farmers Market Association, which organizes three markets in Seattle’s Ballard, Madrona and Wallingford districts, is very concerned that many small farms and food processors will stop participating in King County farmers markets. The result will be the loss of availability of quality foods, poultry and eggs at many smaller markets, and could lead to the closure of some farmers markets in the county.
There has never been a documented food-borne illness outbreak from a farmers market in King County, despite the significant growth of farmers markets in the county in recent years. And with increased inspection enforcement in 2012 and 2013, the Health Department’s own report to the Board of Health, dated March 2014, details the significant decrease in violations found at farmers markets. The report credits:
- Close working relationships and coordinated effort with market staff
- Educational emphasis on handwashing, cold holding, and washing produce samples
- Increased enforcement
It is difficult to understand the justification for this proposal. This is in direct contrast to the County’s policy to support farmers markets as a critical part of King County Food Policy. It is also contrary to other programs funded by Public Health that focus on increasing use of farmers markets by low-income families to improve their diets.
The Board of Health has not posted a date when the vote will be held on this proposal. Public testimony will be accepted until December 10, 2014. There is still time for concerned farmers market shoppers and supporters of local farms to contact King County Board of Health to urge them to reject the proposed fee increases for farmers markets and food and farm vendors.
Please submit comments to King County Board of Health at: Maria.Wood@kingcounty.gov. Comments can be made to Public Health online at www.kingcounty.gov/healthservices/health/ehs/fees/proposal.aspx. Join at us at one of three public hearings on Nov. 13th & 19th to express your concerns (go to ballardfarmersmarket.wordpress.com for more details).
For more information, contact the SFMA Market Master, Judy Kirkhuff, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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We love you Wallingford, and we thank you for another awesome season of your Wallingford Farmers Market! But the earth has taken another trip around the sun, and as of Monday, we are officially back on the dark side of the calendar. Yes, we have reached the end of the 9th season of your Wallingford Farmers Market. Today, the sun will set at 7:02 p.m., and we will be packing up in the dark, as we do the last Market of every season here in beautiful Meridian Park. Without a doubt this season has been one for the record books, with the most vendors, the best produce and absolutely extraordinary weather for picnicking in the park all summer long. So stock up one last time this year, and we will see you again next spring. In the meantime, we thought we’d introduce you to some (yes, this is only about half of our vendors) of the diverse, creative and groundbreaking people who make this Market so special. (And please visit us all winter at Ballard Farmers Market on Sundays.)
Let’s start with our helpful and friendly Market staff. Each week this summer, you probably saw Ben and Sergio (above), as well as Gil, Tyler and myself, and on occasion you also saw our fearless leader, Market Master Judy, as well as Oleana, Candace and Lauren wander through your Wallingford Farmers Market.
We cannot forget the amazing team of Wallingford chefs who came out just about every week to give us tips on working with the local bounty here, and to feed us deliciousness. We round out this year’s cooking demonstration calendar today at 4 p.m. with Chef Rachel Yang of Joule, Revel and Trove. Thank you, chefs. We are indeed chef rich here in Wallingford!
Around The Table Farm joined the vendor ranks anew of your Wallingford Farmers Market this season, and wow, did Aaron bring it! Simply stunning produce that one can only find in Seattle right here! And we love his sign that reminds us that his farm is only 16 miles away, across Puget Sound, in Poulsbo.
Delilah is the third generation of her family to work for their farm, Gaia’s Harmony Farm, in Snohomish. And while many Hmong farmers around here have focused on growing flowers, Gaia’s has taken a different path, growing certified organic berries and vegetables.
It is with a bit of sadness that we will be sending dear Paul of One Leaf Farm back to his family in Michigan after this season. Paul is such a talented young farmer, and he will blindside you with is wry wit. (He’s also a bit camera shy, so thanks, Paul, for letting me capture this one!)
Adele is camera shy, too. Don’t know why. Clearly, the camera loves her! Adele has been slinging her family’s outstanding ferment vegetables all summer long this season, and she’s even gotten some of us fermenting our own, too, via the Britt’s Pickle-ator. This stuff has class… and culture.
You’ll find a big line every Wednesday afternoon at Patty Pan Grill Cooperative, as Adam and Tre feed and entertain us. But did you know that Patty Pan is owned by its workers? Yup. The original farmers market prepared food vendor, committed to using market fresh ingredients direct from our market farmers for years, is also now breaking ground by being about serving its customers and its workers.
Seattle Youth Garden Works offers disadvantaged and at risk teenagers in Seattle a chance to learn about farming and sales, offers them jobs, and helps them find a way to self-empowerment. And Suez and Shougo have been bringing the delicious rewards of their work every week!
AJ from Sidhu Farms may be soft-spoken, but he will also plain bust you up with his sly wit when you’re not paying attention. He also brings us wonderful berriliciousness from his family’s Puyallup farm ever week.
Crystal has been baking for Tall Grass Bakery for years. She may be a new face to many this year who never shopped at our old site at Wallingford Center. She used to join us every Wednesday over there, and we are pleased as punch that she rejoined us this season. And did you know that Tall Grass Bakery got its start with our markets about 15 years ago?
Maggie and Jacob have been a joy to have will us this summer, representing Growing Washington at Alm Hill Gardens. And they gave Jason a chance to enjoy being a new daddy… again. (Congrats, JT & Gabby!) And speaking of congrats, these two adorable kids are off on an epic road trip soon that will culminate in them getting hitched in the Big Easy around Christmas. Have a blast, guys!
Michael Pinckney, cookie maker extraordinaire from Pinckney Cookie Café, helped sweeten us up all summer with his amazing creations made with Washington flour. And hey, he didn’t leave out gluten-free folks either. Good on you, Michael. BTW, did you know that you can buy frozen cookie dough from him now? So stock up for winter!
We all kinda missed having Samuele Lucchese charming us with his thick Italian accent this season, waxing poetic about his pastas and sauces. That is, until we got to know Cassie. Sam who? It’s pasta weather again, folks, so stop by Pasteria Lucchese today and stock up!
Deliverer of meat and potatoes, thank you Dae for bringing us our full-on America square from Olsen Farms all summer long. Because if we Seattleites are going to eat meat and potatoes, it better be direct from a local farm that treats their animals well and offers us as many as 26 varietal choices of spuds!
Aimee from Soulever Chocolates believes in bringing us full-strength chocolates with pure, natural flavors in great combinations. She works directly with cacao farmers and organic chocolate makers to ensure she has the finest ingredients. and she offers a number of vegan and paleo-friendly flavors, too.
Every week this summer, a different crew of chefs from Ethan Stowell Restaurants has set up camp here at your Wallingford Farmers Market and slung amazing food make from fresh market ingredients. Every week saw a different menu, but the same long lines. Thanks, guys, for taking market food to a new level!
Cousins JC and Ray from Alvarez Organic Farms will load you up with a rainbow of peppers and eggplant, a bag of peanuts, some organic okra, and send you off you with a smile, if not an outright guffaw!
We got to learn the difference between “sprouts” and “microgreens” this season from Michael of Farmbox Greens. See, sprouts have roots! We also learned about urban and vertical farming, that microgreens are, pound-for-pound, anywhere from four to 18 times as nutrient dense as their mature vegetable counterparts. Oh, and they taste really good, too!
Remember a few years back, when it was hard to get eggs here at your Wallingford Farmers Market? Well, thanks to Caitlin and the whole crew at Sky Valley Family Farm, that is a problem we no longer have. Plus, they also brought us chicken and duck, and great pork products, too.
We were joined by a new (to us, anyway) full-service bakery this season: Snohomish Bakery. They’ve actually been around for over five years. They loves them some farmers markets, and we were happy to have them join us, and to have Derek ply us with cheese bread and chocolate croissants all summer!
Megan finished college and thought, “I want to bring ice pops to the people!” We were game. Enter Seattle Pops this season at your Wallingford Farmers Market. Made with local dairy and Theo chocolate, and lots of fruit and berries from local farms, these pops have been a real hit. Better bring the kiddies for one last round today, eh?
Collins Family Orchards has consistently brought the highest quality tree fruit to your Wallingford Farmers Market for years, this year courtesy of Will. From some of the sweetest cherries you will find anywhere to these big, ripe and juicy peaches to amazing apples and pears, like their website says, it is fruit with a-peel. (They said it, so don’t blame me!)
Thank you, buskers, for coming voluntarily to our Wallingford Farmers Market to entertain us all season long. Remember, these guys are working exclusively for tips. We don’t hire them. If you like what you see and hear, please tip generously!
Finally, thank you! Without your support, week in and week out, this market would not be possible. Thank you for making Wallingford Farmers Market your grocery store. Thank you for building your Wednesday evening picnic plans around our market and its vendors. And we will look forward to seeing you again right here next spring, though we welcome you to join us and many of your favorite vendors at Ballard Farmers Market all winter. There is plenty more local deliciousness waiting for you today at your Wallingford Farmers Market. Just check What’s Fresh Now! in the righthand menu for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now. Please remember to bring your own bags today, and please take note of our new green composting and blue recycling waste receptacles throughout your Wallingford Farmers Market, and please make an effort to use them correctly. Each container has what’s okay to put in it pictured right on the lid. Please do not put the wrong materials in, because that drives up the cost of recycling and composting, and it can result in the entire container being sent instead to a landfill. Your understanding and cooperation are appreciated.
Wednesday, September 17th: Winter Squash, Celery, San Marzano Tomatoes, Giant Italian Prunes & More!September 17, 2014
Only one more market day remains after today in the 2014 season of your Wallingford Farmers Market. Celebrate a season nothing short of epic with us the rest of September, and then visit many of your favorite vendors all winter at our Ballard Farmers Market on Sundays. And if you wonder why we’d end this season while it is still raging? Simple. By next Wednesday, the sun sets at 7 p.m., and given that there are no lights here in Meridian Park, we’ll already be packing up in the dark!
And speaking of the onward march of the seasons, Kirsop Farm has the first winter squash of the season today at your Wallingford Farmers Market. And hey, why not? It may be warm and sunny by day lately, but it is cooling off overnight now, so crank up that oven, and roast up some acorn or delicata squash in all its sweet, comforting glory! Just thinking about it is like receiving a hug on a cold winter’s night. And hey, it will last for months, so stock up. Your Wallingford Farmers Market may be going on its fall/winter hiatus after next week, but that doesn’t mean you have to go without great local food for all that time. Strategic squirreling of storage crops like these will get you a long way into the cold, dark wet months.
San Marzano paste tomatoes are the pride of Italy, growing near Naples in the fertile volcanic soils around Mount Vesuvius. So it is no wonder that they also thrive in the rich volcanic soils in the Yakima Valley of Eastern Washington at Alvarez Organic Farms. And in this epic year of the tomato, this is perhaps the best year we’ve ever had for these little treasures. They are a thick fleshed tomato with fewer seeds than a Roma tomato, and a robust flavor that makes them an ideal sauce tomato. If you ever wanted to can some sauce tomatoes, this is the year, and these are the tomatoes to can! They are great roasted and grilled, too.
It’s getting deep into celery season folks. Nothing like some crisp celery on a crisp night. Besides, you are cooking more now, and your heartier fall recipes call for lots of this super food. Lucky for you, One Leaf Farm has some gorgeous celery right now, grown just a few miles from here in Carnation!
Another sign of fall’s approach are these giant Italian prunes from Collins Family Orchards. But aren’t these really plums, you ask? Aren’t all prunes dried plums? Actually, all plums are members of the family Prunus. These are proper prunes, with a more oval shape, to a plum’s round shape. And all prunes are freestones, meaning they come easily off of their pit for easy eating, drying and cooking. Think of the sauces, chutney and jams!
Washington has more than 750 licensed wineries currently, up from less than 150 just 15 years ago. And most use grapes grown in the many recognized wine grape growing appellations of Eastern Washington. But did you know that there is a Western Washington wine appellation? It is called the Puget Sound Appellation, and it is known for producing wine grapes the enjoy our cool, damp nights. Bainbridge Vineyards is one of Washington’s oldest estate wineries, based on Bainbridge Island, and it specializes in Puget Sound wines, including Madeleine Angevine, Siegerrebe and Müller-Thurgau. Founded in 1977, when Bainbridge Vineyards released its first estate wine in 1984, it was only the 84th licensed winery in Washington. So, for a taste of truly local wine, right from the farm, and for a taste of Washington wine making history, grab a bottle or six today!
With the 2014 Wallingford Farmers Market season winding down, don’t forget to get another good fix of these great, farm-fresh duck and chicken eggs from Sky Valley Family Farm. After all, you will miss them come October. Grab an extra dozen or two. Eggs keep well, and after all, these are super fresh! And grab some of their great pork, bacon and sausage while you are at it. Vac-packed and frozen, they will keep in your freezer for months!
Farmbox Microgreens is an urban farm. It is based in West Seattle, and it actually grows its microgreens indoors in what it refers to as a vertical farm, meaning the farm stacks multiple trays of the sprouting microgreens one atop the other. They are grown aeroponically, meaning they are grown in the air and watered using mist. They do not require soil, which eliminates many potential contaminants that have been associated with sprouts in recent years, and they are not constantly in contact with water, like in hydroponics, which results in a higher quality product with a superior flavor. Other than the mist of filtered water, they enjoy bathing in the light of LEDs (above). And if you are wondering what the difference is between a sprout and a microgreen, it is the roots. Sprouts have them, and microgreens do not. You will find them on the menus of many of Seattle’s best restaurants, but why not add them to your own menu today? They are delicious, and pound-for-pound, they are four times more nutrient dense than their fully-grown counterparts.
Orca beans from Alm Hill Gardens are one of those varieties of shelling beans that was developed in partnership with Washington State University in an effort to produce beans that would thrive in the climate of Western Washington. Alm Hill actually developed and named these right on their farm in Everson, Washington, a stone’s throw from the Canadian border. They are gorgeous, aren’t they? And they do look like Orcas. Alm Hill has a number of fresh shelling beans, both in the pod and shucked, right now. If you haven’t cooked with fresh shelling beans before, I highly recommend it. Mmm. Think of the soups, the salads, the sides… think of the succotash!
These Asian pears from Tiny’s Organic may look like apples, but they are all pear. Now, I say that only to then tell you that they are really another fruit unto themselves in many ways. They have a flavor that is almost wine-like. The point is, they are wonderful, and you should get some.
Seattle Pops introduces a brand new ice pop flavor today at your Wallingford Farmers Market today: cranberry-orange. They feature freshly-pressed, organic cranberry juice from Starvation Alley Cranberry Farm on Long Beach Peninsula, a lone organic cranberry farm in the heart of Washington’s huge cranberry growing region on the coast. Enjoy!
These gluten-free brownies from Nuflours Gluten-free Bakery are as good as they look. Seriously. If you require gluten-free baked goods, these will thrill you with the bakedliciousness you’ve been missing. Even if you don’t require gluten-free goods, you will still love these. And Nuflours uses all sorts of yummy local ingredients from local farmers in many of their goodies. Right now, their products feature produce from Hayton Farms, Kirsop Farm, Martin Family Orchards and Stoney Plains Organic Farm, to name a few.
Don’t forget to pick up a lovely bouquet of late summer flowers from Pa Garden today at your Wallingford Farmers Market. These beautiful, local flowers are fresh, affordable, have a smaller carbon footprint, and come with the face of a local farmer, unlike the flowers from the Big Box store which come via airplane from places like Holland, Israel, South Africa and who knows where.
There is plenty more local deliciousness waiting for you today at your Wallingford Farmers Market. Just check What’s Fresh Now! in the righthand menu for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now.
Please remember to bring your own bags today, and please take note of our new green composting and blue recycling waste receptacles throughout your Wallingford Farmers Market, and please make an effort to use them correctly. Each container has what’s okay to put in it pictured right on the lid. Please do not put the wrong materials in, because that drives up the cost of recycling and composting, and it can result in the entire container being sent instead to a landfill. Your understanding and cooperation are appreciated.