Market Dinner Delicious Success

A Banquet to Behold:  Mercer Island Farmers Market Celebrates Successful Fundraising Dinner as It Readies for Fifth Season

It was a fundraiser. A celebration of the coming season.  A thank you to the volunteers and contributors who make the market possible.  And after dessert, when the last dinner guests had paid for their auction items and said their goodbyes, Julie Sarkissian could only smile, sit back and marvel at the success of the evening event.  Julie is the newly-elected Chair of the Mercer Island Farmers Market Board of Directors.  “Tonight I can sleep.  We all worked so hard to make this happen.  You worry about selling tickets, getting donations for the auction, making sure the chef and restaurant have everything they need from us.  And everything worked out wonderfully well.  The dinner and auction were a great success.”

One hundred supporters and guests attended the Market’s third Annual Celebration Dinner and Silent Auction at Lilly’s Restaurant at Aljoya Sunday, May 20.  Chef Nathan Zielske prepared a sumptuous feast, showcasing products donated from the Market vendors, Aljoya and the creative talents of his Lilly’s kitchen. Flower and herb-crusted salmon on green tea soba noodle salad; chicken breast baked with pistachio breadcrumb and Frangelico sauce, kale Caesar salad…yumm!

The silent auction before dinner drew spirited bidding, particularly for a number of showcase items.  The celebrity item had to have been the week’s stay in an Oahu condo overlooking the ocean.  Other showcase items, lovingly donated by local residents and merchants, included a homemade quilt, dinners at Roanoke Inn, John Howie Steaks and Dahlia Lounge, catering by Stopsky’s, tickets for the Mariners and Seattle Philharmonic, product potpourri from All The Best and Trader Joe’s, services from Uyeta Landscaping, to name a few.

“So much bidding enthusiasm”, pronounced Carol Branom, Market Board Treasurer. “So many appealing items were donated.  We exceeded our fundraising goal!  This is a great start for the season!”

Dinner guests included: State Representative Marcie Maxwell, a dedicate Market patron; King County Council Vice Chair Jane Hague, and Mercer Island Mayor Bruce Bassett, whose wife Nannette is a Farmers Market Board Member.

This was the first public event of the Mercer Island Farmers Market for Patty Spahr, the new Market Manager.  “I am very excited to be working with these people”, she said, referring to the Board.  “So much energy and enthusiasm.  Now we turn our attention full time to Opening Day of the Market itself.  We have been planning and preparing for seven months.  Now our energy levels kick into high gear.”

Twenty-three vendors are returning from last year’s market and are being joined by 20 new vendors.

“We think our patrons will be very pleased with our product mix and with the quality of our vendors”, says Kari Fisher, Vice Chair of the Market Board.  “We survey our patrons and track what works or doesn’t work.  We attend ‘Marketing the Market’ seminars.  We want this to be our best season yet.”

The fifth season of the Mercer Island Farmers Market begins Sunday, June 10.  Market hours are 10am–3pm.  The Market is located near Mercerdale Park on 77th Avenue South and SE 32nd Street.  It will be there every Sunday through October 14, with the exceptions of July 15 and August 5.  For more information, go to the Mercer Island Farmers Market web site:  http://www.mifarmersmarket.org.

September 18th Mercer Island Farmers Market Event Highlights: Market Totes, Music, Kids Table

Besides the great chef demo by Tracy Green and her students from the Newport High School Culinary Arts program at last Sunday’s Mercer Island Farmers Market, the day was filled with fun and educational events.

2011 Mercer Island Farmers Market Reusable Bags Are Here!

Susan Kleiner, nutritionist and Mercer Island Farmers Market supporter, with three of the four Mercer Island Farmers Market totes on September 18, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Susan Kleiner, nutritionist and Mercer Island Farmers Market supporter, with three of the four Mercer Island Farmers Market totes on September 18, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

At last Sunday’s MI Farmers Market, we began to give away the 2011 market season reusable bags. As in previous years, the bag has a new color, which is blue this year.

After picking up her 2011 Mercer Island Farmers Market tote at the information booth, Susan Kleiner posed for a photo with it along with market totes from 2009 (green) and 2010 (orange). Dr. Kleiner is a Mercer Islander, huge support of the MIFM, and a nutritionist, who conducted two tours of the MIFM for our community earlier this year.

While picking up this year’s market bag, she explained to the volunteers that the only market tote that she is missing is the one from our first season in 2008, which is tan.

Do you have all four season’s totes? If you, please let us know.

To get a 2011 market tote, come down to the farmers market on Sunday, pick up a coupon from one of the vendors or from the information booth, and shop the MIFM. The farmers will mark on the coupon the amount of your purchases. Once you have bought $30 of local, fresh produce, bring your filled out coupon to the information booth and exchange it for a reusable bag.

We gave out nearly 200 bags on Sunday and supplies are limited.  So be sure to get to the MIFM this Sunday to get your 2011 market tote.

Children’s Table: Spiders

Judy Witmer and three children learning about spiders at the children's table at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 18, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Judy Witmer and three children learning about spiders at the children's table at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 18, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Judy Witmer developed yet another fun and educational activity for the children’s table at this past Sunday’s MIFM.

The theme was “Amazing Spiders in Your Garden.” Judy had live spiders in sealed plastic tubes for the children to examine and reference books with plenty of photos and drawings for the children to read and browse so that they would have a better understanding of the role that spiders play in our gardens.

In addition, Judy brought string and other materials so that the kids could build their own “spider web.”

Community-Service/Non-Profit Booths: Mercer Island Boy Scouts and Mercer Island Sister City Association

The Mercer Island Boy Scouts' and Mercer Island Sister City Association's booths at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 18, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

The Mercer Island Boy Scouts' and Mercer Island Sister City Association's booths at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 18, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

The MIFM hosted two important Mercer Island organizations—Mercer Island Boy Scout Troop 624 and the Mercer Island Sister City Association—in our community-service/non-profit booths.

Both organizations used the opportunity to teach to the our community about their mission and activities.

Music: Yaamba Marimba Band

Children dancing to music by the Yaamba Marimba Band at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 18, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Children dancing to music by the Yaamba Marimba Band at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 18, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

As they did earlier this season, the Yaamba Marimba Band were a huge hit with our farmers, volunteers and shoppers.

Throughout the market day, their infectious music got people, particularly children, dancing, spinning, jumping, kicking and…well..just plain moving. At one point, the volunteers saw one little girl doing handstands to their music.

Children dancing to music by the Yaamba Marimba Band at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 18, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Children dancing to music by the Yaamba Marimba Band at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 18, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Another demonstration of their popularity was the produce donations by our farmers.

One of the ways that the MIFM compensates musicians for playing the market is through these donations. The market’s farmers always give generously to thank the musicians for entertaining them and the customers throughout the market day. But this past Sunday they really showed their appreciation in a way that was unprecedented with several shopping bags and two boxes of produce for the members of Yaamba to divide among themselves.

Teenagers dancing in a circle to music by the Yaamba Marimba Band at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 18, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Teenagers dancing in a circle to music by the Yaamba Marimba Band at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 18, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Perhaps the strangest moment demonstrating just how appreciated the band’s performance was just before the close of the farmers market. At this time, over a dozen teenage girls formed a circle in front of the music booth and began dance. It was all so spontaneous and unexpected.

Everyone at the Mercer Island Farmers Market hopes that the members of Yaamba had as much fun playing at the market as we did listening and dancing to their music.

We also want to extend an invitation to Yaamba to come back next year.

September 18th Mercer Island Farmers Market Event News

The Mercer Island Farmers Market manager, Edee Phillips, with the help of many volunteers has put together another set of fun and educational activities for this Sunday’s farmers market.

Mercer Island Farmers Market Reusable Shopping Bags

Savannah of the Snohomish Bakery with a 2010 Mercer Island Farmers Market reusable shopping bag. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Savannah of the Snohomish Bakery with a 2010 Mercer Island Farmers Market reusable shopping bag. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Le beaujolais nouveau est arrivé!” say the French on the third Thursday of November.

Les mallomars sont arrivés!” (tongue firmly in cheek) say New Yorkers once the weather turns cool.

Well the ever-popular Mercer Island Farmers Market reusable shopping bags are back. Alors, tous ensemble, “Les sacs sont arrivés!”

In all seriousness, the question “When are the new season’s shopping bags arriving?” has easily been among the top five questions that the MIFM’s market manager and volunteers have fielded all season long. We are thrilled that our community likes the Mercer Island Farmers Market totes so much.

This market season, as in previous market seasons, there is a new color. As it is a surprise, we won’t reveal it now; you’ll just have to head down to the MI Farmers Market and discover it along with all of the great seasonal produce from our wonderful farmers.

The bags will start to be given out this Sunday at the MIFM. To get one, simply pick up a coupon from one of the vendors or from the Information Booth. As you shop for fresh, local produce, have the farmers mark your coupon with how much you spend. Once you have purchased $30 worth of delicious food, bring the coupon over to the Information Booth and exchange it for one of the 2011 season MIFM totes.

We will keep handing out the bags while supplies last.

Music

Hula-hoopers hula-hooping to music by the Yaamba Marimba Band at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on July 31, 2011. (Photo by Alyssa Hatsukami)

Hula-hoopers hula-hooping to music by the Yaamba Marimba Band at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on July 31, 2011. (Photo by Alyssa Hatsukami)

The Yaamba Marimba Band is returning to the MIFM for an encore performance.

They were last at the MI Farmers Market at the end of July, when they were joined by community members who hula-hooped to their infectiously fun music. We hope that the hula-hoopers will be back too; they always bring an extra level of excitement and energy to the MIFM.

Yaamba Marimba features Angela Carey, who is the music teacher at Lakeridge Elementary School here on Mercer Island. We love showcasing the talent of our community members.

Chef Demonstration

Also this Sunday, the MI Farmers Market is very excited to be hosting the culinary arts team from Newport High School.

Teacher Tracy Green and her students will be doing a chef demo using pears to make a pear tart. The demonstration will begin at 12:30 p.m. We hope that you will join Tracy and the students as they teach us all about pears and how to prepare a delicious dessert with them.

Community Service/Non-Profit Booths

This Sunday, there will be two community-service/non-profit booths at the MI Farmers Market—one for the Mercer Island Boy Scout Troop and the other for the Mercer Island Sister City Association (MISCA). Please stop by the booths to learn more about these important organizations in our community.

Sharon Kramis in front of the Kittitas Valley Greenhouse booth while leading a tour for members of the Mercer Island Sister City Association on July 17, 2011 of the Mercer Island Farmers Market. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Sharon Kramis in front of the Kittitas Valley Greenhouse booth while leading a chef tour of the Mercer Island Farmers Market for members of the Mercer Island Sister City Association on July 17, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

The MISCA was at the farmers market earlier this season, but not at a community-service/non-profit booth. Instead, the MISCA organized a special tour of the farmers market by chef, cookbook author, and food writer, Sharon Kramis. The MISCA were interested in shopping for food as the community members do in Thonon-les-bains, our sister city in France.

The MIFM was thrilled that other community organizations are interested in using the farmers market for such educational purposes. If you are interested in your organization doing an educational activity at the Mercer Island Farmers Market, please let us know as we would be very interested in helping you. Email us at “info (at) mifarmersmarket.org”.

August 28th Mercer Island Farmers Market Event News

Once again the dedicated Mercer Island Farmers Market market manager and volunteers have put together another market day full of fun and educational activities.

Music

Matt Lome playing at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on June 19, 2011.

Matt Lome playing at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on June 19, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

This Sunday, Mercer Island resident and musician, Matt Lome, will be providing our vendors, customers, and volunteers with wonderful “music to shop by.”

Many customers might remember that Matt played at the MI Farmers Market in June, when the weather was very cold (Matt was wearing a jacket during most of his performance). This Sunday it is supposed to be in the 80′s, so we suspect that no jacket will be necessary for this coming market day.

Matt also is a music teacher. In June, one of his young students joined him at the MIFM. She really impressed everyone with her playing, singing, and poise. We all are hoping that another one of his students might join him this Sunday as well.

Kids Table

Materials for berry-ink painting at the Kids Table at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on July 31, 2011.

Materials for berry-ink painting at the Kids Table at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on July 31, 2011. (Photo by Alyssa Hatsukami)

Judy Witmer, Mercer Island Farmers Market volunteer extraordinaire, has developed another educational activity for our youngest shoppers. This Sunday, the Kids Table activity will be “making veggie prints from around the world.”

Thank you, Judy. We really appreciate all that you do, and we know how much the kids and their parents love the activities that you create.

Master Gardeners

Master gardeners providing advice to a Mercer Island Farmers Market customer on July 24, 2011.

Master gardeners providing advice to a Mercer Island Farmers Market customer on July 24, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

The Master Gardeners will be back for another Sunday at the Mercer Island Farmers Market, ready to answer all of your lawn, garden, and landscaping questions.

Community Service/Non-Profit

The Mercer Island Women's Club at the community service/non-profit booth at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on August 21, 2011.

The Mercer Island Women's Club at the community service/non-profit booth at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on August 21, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

The Swedish Medical Center Foundation and the Seattle Brain Cancer Walk are coming to the MI Farmers Market, where they will be in the community service/non-profit booth.

The Seattle Brain Cancer Walk is coming up on September 24, 2011. Be sure to stop by the booth to find out more about the event and how you can support this important cause.

Highlights from the July 17th Mercer Island Farmers Market

On Sunday, the Mercer Island Farmers Market not only had tables overflowing with beautiful, local produce but also had an abundance of wonderful activities and events.

Power Hour

"Early Bird" shopper picking up some free coffee during the Mercer Island Farmers Market's Power Hour.

An "Early Bird" shopper picking up some free coffee and pastries during the Mercer Island Farmers Market's Power Hour. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

From 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., we started off with a “bang” when we had free coffee and pastries at the Information Booth for the MI Farmers Market’s “early bird” shoppers. The “Power Hour” is a small reward for those dedicated customers who come during the market’s first hour. This market season the Mercer Island Farmers Market extended its hours by opening an hour earlier than previous years. We hope that our customers are enjoying the extra time to shop. Some of you have even suggested to us that we open even earlier at 9 a.m. Please let us know what you think of the market’s extended hours by posting a comment below. We can also be reached at info (at) mifarmersmarket.org.

This month’s power hour was sponsored by MIFM board member and long-time volunteer Tanya Bednarski and her family. We wish to extend our thanks to the Bednarski-Johnson family for the many ways that they support our organization.

Mercer Island Sister City Association Chef Tour

The outdoor market in Thonon-les-bains, France in May, 2009.

The outdoor market in Thonon-les-bains, France in May, 2009. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

At 10:30 a.m., chef, food writer, and cookbook-author Sharon Kramis led a group of fifteen curious and hungry Islanders on a tour of the MI Farmers Market. This chef tour was organized by the Mercer Island Sister City Association (MISCA) to reflect the shopping habits and cooking traditions of our community’s French sister city, Thonon-les-bains, which has the largest outdoor market in its region (Haute Savoie) with well over one hundred merchants.

Chef Sharon Kramis buying some rainbow chard and greens at Five Acre Farm's booth at the Mercer Island Farmers Market.

Chef Sharon Kramis buying some rainbow chard and greens at Five Acre Farm's booth at the Mercer Island Farmers Market. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

With a meal in mind that they would prepare together just after the tour, Ms. Kramis and the group stopped by many of the booths, talked with the farmers, and purchased carefully selected fresh fruits and vegetables. We are so pleased that the MISCA chose to tour the MIFM as one of their activities.

Later this week, we plan to post on this blog some more photos of the chef tour as well as photos of the cooking demonstration and meal at Island House. So please plan to come back to this blog to read more about this event.

If your group would like to hold a tour of the Mercer Island Farmers Market, please contact us at info (at) mifarmersmarket.org or 206-235-1185.

Music

All market day, the Mercer Island Farmers Market vendors, volunteers, and customers were entertained by musician Patrick Daughtery. To Islanders, this was no surprise as Patrick is a wonderful performer, who is well-known not only from previous performances at the market, but also from his many years of performing on the Island and in the region.

Patrick Daughtery performing a song with John Morris at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on July 17, 2011.

Patrick Daughtery performing a song with John Morris at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on July 17, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

However, Patrick did have a few surprises for us: guest performers. He was joined for a few songs by several other performers during the day including John Morris of Swamp Soul, which performed later Sunday evening at Mercerdale Park as part of Mercer Island’s Mostly Music in the Park summer series. Among the other unexpected guest performers was one of the MI Farmers Market’s vendors, Lorraine Ford of Two If By Seafoods, who performed a lovely duet with Patrick late in the market day.

The Flash Family Inspiration Award

Fran Call accepting the Flash Family Inspiration Award from Mayor Jim Pearman at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on July 17, 2011.

Fran Call accepting the Flash Family Inspiration Award from Mayor Jim Pearman at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on July 17, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

At noon, several dozen Mercer Islanders gathered to celebrate resident Fran Call receiving the 2011 Flash Family Inspiration Award. Mayor Jim Pearman presented the award to Ms. Call to honor her thirteen years of volunteer work at the Mercer Island Parks and Recreation Department, where she has created a program leading hikes in Seattle and its suburbs. During this period, over 200 Islanders have participated in these hikes.

The event was full of laughter and humor. Ms. Call is a former Mercer Island Middle School teacher, and, during the presentation, Mayor Pearman, a graduate of the Mercer Island public schools, and Ms. Call joked that he could have been one of her students. But there were also serious moments during the event, particularly when Mayor Pearman discussed his recent heart attack and the value of Ms. Call’s long-time efforts promoting health and exercise.

The Mercer Island Farmers Market congratulates Ms. Call on her much-deserved award.

Community-Service/Non-Profit Booths

The Mercer Island Visual Arts League (MIVAL) at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on July 17, 2011.

The Mercer Island Visual Arts League (MIVAL) booth at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on July 17, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Youth Theater Northwest booth at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on July 17, 2011.

Youth Theater Northwest booth at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on July 17, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

This week the Mercer Island Visual Arts League (MIVAL) and Youth Theater Northwest (YTN) had booths at the MIFM as part of our community-service/non-profit outreach program.

Both MIVAL and YTN have been pillars of the Mercer Island arts community for many years.

MIVAL has also been a wonderful partner for the Mercer Island Farmers Market by jurying our first-ever poster contest earlier this year. We look forward to working with them on future poster contests as well as other projects.

Youth Theater Northwest and the MI Farmers Market share similar missions in that they both seek to educate our community’s young people: YTN on the arts; and the MIFM on health and local agriculture. So we really appreciated an opportunity to host another Mercer Island organization that strives to improve the lives of Mercer Island’s youth.

Kids Table

Judy Witmer digging for earthworms at the Kids Table with one of the Mercer Island Farmers Market's young customers.

Judy Witmer digging for earthworms at the Kids Table with one of the Mercer Island Farmers Market's young customers. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Volunteer Judy Witmer once again created another wonderful educational experience for our younger shoppers. Sunday’s farmers market’s kids table was dedicated to learning all about earthworms and the important role that they play in maintaining the health our soil.

A big “thank you” to Judy for all that she does for our farmers market and for helping to educate our community’s young people.

Vendors

Among the many vendor highlights from Sunday’s market was the return of Billy’s Organic Garden, Tonasket, WA, and the first MIFM market days for two new-to-our-market farms: the River Farm Organic Produce, Ellensburg, WA; and Tonnemaker Family Orchard, Royal City, WA.

Billy's Organic Garden booth at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on July 17, 2011.

Billy's Organic Garden booth at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on July 17, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Billy’s came with an large variety of organic produce, including apricots, arugula, blueberrries, herbs, and tomatoes. Billy’s was one of the most popular farmer-vendors at last year’s Mercer Island Farmers Market. We know how much our customers are waiting with great anticipation for their organic peaches and peppers as well as for their organic heirloom tomatoes to begin arriving in greater numbers and varieties as the weather gets hotter.

Jerry, owner of the River Farm Organic Product, waiting on customers at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on July 17, 2011.

Jerry, owner of the River Farm Organic Product, waiting on customers at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on July 17, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

On Sunday, due to the poor growing season, the River Farm was able to come to the MIFM with only a few products: cabbage, peas, zucchini, and zucchini blossoms. But even this limited product still proved popular and demonstrated the farm’s commitment to producing quality organic fruits and vegetables. Depending on how the rest of the growing season works out, Jerry, the owner of the River Farm, plans to bring to our market chickens, eggs, melons, and peppers. We hear from our customers that have purchased Jerry’s melons at other area farmers markets that his melons are the most delicious around. Let’s all hope that the days and nights out in Ellensburg get hotter than they have been so that his heat-loving melons can grow and ripen so that we can get a chance to try them ourselves.

The Tonnemaker Family Orchard booth at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on July 17, 2011.

The Tonnemaker Family Orchard booth at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on July 17, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Tonnemakers is well-known for their huge variety of tree fruit (they have well-over 100 different varieties). This past Sunday, the Mercer Island Farmers Market’s customers got just a small taste, literally, of this diversity. Among the produce that they brought to the MIFM were three kinds of cherries: Rainier, Sandra Rose, and Sonata. Like Billy’s and the River Farm, Tonnemaker’s diversity of product should increase in the weeks and months ahead. So plan to head to the Mercer Island Farmers Market weekly to find the freshest, local produce around.

The Mercer Island Farmers Market still does not have its full complement of farmers yet. Later this year as their produce comes into season, we expect to welcome back to the Mercer Island Farmers Market two popular tree-fruit farmers:

  • Booth Canyon Orchard, Carlton, WA, whose organic apples, pears, and plums were very popular at the MIFM in 2009. Due to a storm that destroyed a large portion of their crop last year, they couldn’t attend our market. We look forward to their return sometime in September; and
  • Jones Creek Farm, Sedro-Woolley, WA, whose organic apples, plums, and garlic have been a mainstay of the MI Farmers Market since our first season. We look forward to their return sometime next month.

July 17th Event News for the Mercer Island Farmers Market

For our July 17th market, the Mercer Island Farmers Market has a huge number of fun activities and events going on all day long.

Power Hour

The MI Farmers Market will start off with our monthly “Power Hour.” From 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., there will be free coffee and pastries for our “early bird” customers.

Music

Patrick Doherty joined Joe Ross to perform at the Mercer Island Farmers Market.

Patrick Daugherty joined Joe Ross to perform at the Mercer Island Farmers Market. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

All market day long, musician and singer Patrick Daugherty will be performing. Patrick should be a familiar face and voice to the market’s customers as he not only entertained us at the market earlier this season, when he joined Joe Ross at the July 3rd market for an impromptu duet (see photo), but also because he has performed at the market since its first year and was a key volunteer, organizing the music at the MI Farmers Market for the 2009 and 2010 market seasons.

MISCA Market Tour

The Mercer Island Sister City Association has organized a chef tour, demonstration and meal to be led and cooked by chefs, food-writers, and cookbook-authors Sharon Kramis and her daughter, Julie Kramis Hearne.

This is a wonderful event with three parts:

  1. At 10:30 a.m., the group will meet at the market and, with the Kramises, purchase fresh, local produce all while being given a tour of the Mercer Island Farmers Market and its vendors;
  2. After purchasing the ingredients from the MI Farmers Market, the group will head over to Island House, where the Kramises will demonstrate how to make dishes with these ingredients. The Kramises will provide copies of all of the recipes; and
  3. After the dishes have been prepared, the group will sit down for a meal and enjoy all of the delicious food together.

This event is limited to 15 participants and there is only one ticket available as of Friday afternoon.  Tickets are $50 per person.  For information and tickets, please contact Sue Sherwood at 206-300-0313.

Flash Family Award

Mayor Jim Pearman (center) awarding the Flash Family Inspiration Award in July 2010.

Mayor Jim Pearman (center) awarding the Flash Family Inspiration Award in July 2010. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

At noon at the music booth, Mercer Island’s mayor, Jim Pearman, will be awarding the 2011 Flash Family Inspiration Award to Fran Call. Ms. Call is a former Mercer Island Middle School teacher, who is being honored for her thirteen years of volunteer work at the Mercer Island Parks and Recreation Department, where she has created a program leading hikes in Seattle and its suburbs.

Community Service/Non-Profit Booth

Maeve O'Briant, winner of the MIFM's first-ever poster contest, reviewing her winning poster with MIFM board member, Ed Pollan.

Maeve O'Briant, winner of the MIFM's first-ever poster contest, reviewing her winning poster with MIFM board member, Ed Pollan. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

The community service and non-profits at this Sunday’s market will be Youth Theatre Northwest and Mercer Island Visual Arts League (MIVAL). We are so pleased to have them both at the market. Each plays such important roles in creating the vibrant arts community here on Mercer Island. In addition, MIVAL was a wonderful partner for the MI Farmers Market earlier this year for our first-ever poster contest, which they judged.

So be sure to stop by their booths to learn more about their programs and activities.

Vendor News Posted Tomorrow

The Mercer Island Farmers Market is thrilled to announce that after an extremely difficult growing season, Tonnemaker Family Orchards, Royal City, WA and the River Farm Organic Produce, Ellensburg, WA, now have enough produce to be at our market. They will both be at the MI Farmers Market on Sunday, July 17th.

Check back tomorrow here on the Mercer Island Farmers Market blog for more news about our vendors and what fresh produce they will be bringing to market tomorrow.

Mercer Island Sister City Association to Host July 17th Chef Tour of Mercer Island Farmers Market

Shoppers at the Mercer Island Farmers Market

Shoppers at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on opening day 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

On July 17th, the Mercer Island Sister City Association (MISCA) will be hosting a tour of the Mercer Island Farmers Market. The tour will be led by chefs, food writers, and cookbook-authors Sharon Kramis and, her daughter, Julie Kramis Hearne. They have written separately or together such books as Berries: A Country Garden CookbookThe Cast Iron Skillet CookbookThe Dutch Oven Cookbook, and Northwest Bounty: The Extraordinary Foods and Wonderful Cooking of the Pacific Northwest.

After the tour, the Kramises plan bring participants to Island House to cook the ingredients that they purchased at the MI Farmers Market. These dishes will then be served as lunch for tour participants. Thus this event is a “three-fer”: a “Shop with a Chef” tour; a chef demo; and a delicious meal made with fresh ingredients shared with friends.

This MISCA event is sold out, but there is a waiting list. If you are interested in being on the waiting list, please contact Sue Sherwood at 206-236-0740 or Kathy Erickson at 206-232-7622.

Chef Nathan "Chef Z" Zielske of Aljoya, Mercer Island, WA answering a question at a chef demo at the Mercer Island Farmers Market.

Chef Nathan "Chef Z" Zielske of Aljoya, Mercer Island, WA answering a question at a 2011 chef demo at the Mercer Island Farmers Market. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

In previous years, the Mercer Island Farmers Market has organized chef demos and tours of the market by chefs. Last weekend, we were thrilled that Susan Kleiner hosted our first-ever “Shop with a Nutritionist” event. (If you missed it, don’t worry, we will be posting a video of it soon.)

The MI Farmers Market is so pleased that other Mercer Island groups are now organizing similar events. We love that our community has embraced our farmers and producers and their fresh, local products and also discovered that the market is a great educational resource as well–a wonderful place to learn about about food, cooking, and local agriculture.

We hope to see more events like the MISCA’s in the months and years ahead.