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”.

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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.

Update on the MISCA-Kramis Chef Tour on July 17th

Customers at the Mercer Island Farmers Market, July, 2011.

Customers at the Mercer Island Farmers Market, July, 2011. (Photo by Alyssa Hatsukami)

This morning we heard from the Mercer Island Sister City Association (MISCA) that a space has now become available on Sunday’s chef tour of the Mercer Island Farmers Market with chefs, food-writers, and cookbook-authors, Sharon Kramis and her daughter, Julie Kramis Hearne.

Following in the farmers-market traditions of the citizens of Mercer Island’s French sister city, Thonon-les-bains, the Kramises will lead a tour of the MI Farmers Market and purchase fresh, local produce. The Kramises and the group will then head over to Island House, where they prepare and enjoy a meal made with the delicious, market-bought ingredients. Thus this event is a “three-fer”: a “Shop with a Chef” tour; a chef demo; and a delicious meal shared with friends.

This event is limited to only fifteen participants. Tickets are $50. If you are interested in the newly available ticket, please contact Sue Sherwood at 206-300-0313.

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.

Nutritionist Susan Kleiner Giving Tour at the Mercer Island Farmers Market This Sunday

This Sunday at noon, nutritionist and author Dr. Susan Kleiner, Ph.D. will be giving a tour of the Mercer Island Farmers Market. Come join Susan as she explores the market, its wonderful vendors, and their produce. She will discuss the nutritional value of different produce and products while also highlighting the values of shopping local for nutritional and health benefits.

Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes from Kittitas Valley Greenhouse

Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes from Kittitas Valley Greenhouse of Ellensburg, WA at the Mercer Island Farmers Market. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Susan is a Mercer Islander and has been a loyal shopper at the MIFM since it started three years ago.  She is a prominent expert in the field of sports nutrition and supplements and has consulted with professional sport teams, including the Seattle Seahawks, the Seattle Supersonics, the Cleveland Browns, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Miami Heat, as well as many Olympic and other elite athletes in different sports. Dr. Kleiner is the author of seven books, including The Good Mood Diet®, POWER EATING®, and POWERFOOD Nutrition Plan.

Radishes from Hand-Farmed Organics

Radishes from Hand-Farmed Organics of Fall City, WA at the Mercer Island Farmers Market. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

We are proud to have Susan lead our first ever “Shop with a Nutritionist” event. So please plan to join her at noon this Sunday, July 3. The tour will begin at the Information Booth at the Market. If you can’t make it precisely at noon, please feel free to join the tour while it is in progress.