September 11th Mercer Island Farmers Market Events Highlights: Music, Sampling Table, Children’s Table

In addition to the commemoration for the 10th anniversary of 9/11 that the Mercer Island Farmers Market held this past Sunday and the chef demo by Kurt Daimmeier of Bennett’s Pure Food Bistro, there were several other events and activities.

Music

Patrick Daugherty (left with electric guitar), Bert Bertram (center with trombone), and Joe Ross (right with acoustic guitar) playing at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 11, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Patrick Daugherty (left with electric guitar), Bert Bertram (center with trombone), and Joe Ross (right with acoustic guitar) playing at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 11, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Musician Joe Ross returned to the MIFM. Joe last played at the market over July 4th weekend. This Sunday, he was joined for a few sets by another popular Mercer Island musician, Patrick Daugherty, who has been a musical mainstay of the MI Farmers Market, playing consistently throughout the market season, as well as in previous seasons volunteering as music coordinator.

In the afternoon, Joe was joined for a set not only by Patrick, but also by Bert Bertram, who played the trombone. We aren’t sure, but this might be the first time that a trombone was played at the MI Farmers Market. Over the years, there has been an extensive array of instruments played at the MIFM: guitar; banjo; bass; clarinet; harmonica, accordion; saxophone; steel drum; marimba…We love how the list and diversity continues to grow.

Thank you, Joe, Patrick, and Bert, for the great music.

Sampling Table

Kari Fisher (left in red top) talking with a family about the different varieties, tastes, and textures of the peaches at the sampling table at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 11, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Kari Fisher (left in red top) talking with a family about the different varieties, tastes, and textures of the peaches at the sampling table at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 11, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

In the morning, MI Farmers Market board members and volunteers, Tanya Bednarski and Kari Fisher, organized a sampling table featuring fresh peaches grown by our farmers.

There were Angelo’s peaches from Collins Family Orchard, Selah, WA, J.H. Hale peaches from Martin Family Orchard, Orondo, WA, organic donut peaches from Billy’s Organic Garden, Tonasket, WA, and Diamond Princess peaches from Tonnemaker Family Orchard, Royal City, WA.

We want to thank Tanya and Kari for taking the time on such a beautiful day to put together this educational activity as well as Billy’s Organic Garden, Collins Family Orchard, Martin Family Orchard, and Tonnemaker Family Orchard for supporting it.

Children’s Table

Judy Witmer talking with a parent and her children about snails and slugs at the children's table at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 11, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Judy Witmer talking with a parent and her children about snails and slugs at the children's table at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 11, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Volunteer Judy Witmer developed another educational, hands-on activity for kids at the children’s table.

This past Sunday’s activity was “snail hunts and slug traps.” While some might have thought that kids might be put off by such “slimy” and off-putting creatures, there was, in fact, a great deal of enthusiasm for them.

Each week, Judy is a wonder coming up with a different fun activity that teaches our community’s children about gardening and food.  Thank you, Judy.

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August 21st Mercer Island Farmers Market Event News

Once again our volunteers have developed a full program of activities for this weekend’s Mercer Island Farmers Market.

Power Hour

Dedicated MIFM volunteers and board members, Mindy Landsman and Tanya Bednarski, serving pastries at the July 2011 Power Hour.

Dedicated Mercer Island Farmers Market volunteers and board members, Mindy Landsman and Tanya Bednarski, serving pastries at the July 2011 Power Hour. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Our monthly “Power Hour” for the market’s early shoppers will be this Sunday. From 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., there will be free coffee and pastries (from the MIFM’s own Snohomish Bakery, natch) to fortify both customers and vendors alike.

So please plan to get to the Mercer Island Farmers Market during the first hour not only to support our farmers and buy fresh, local produce, but also to join our early-bird community over a cup of coffee and some delicious pastries.

Farm Day

Kids searching for the queen bee in the bee hive at the Island Apiaries booth at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on July 31, 2011.

Kids searching for the queen bee in the bee hive at the Island Apiaries booth at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on July 31, 2011. (Photo by Alyssa Hatsukami)

For our annual Farm Day, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., there will be rabbits, goats, hens, and bees at the MI Farmers Market.

The rabbits, goats, and hens will come from our friends and neighbors here on Mercer Island. (Bet you didn’t realize what a menagerie lived on the Island.)

The bees will be a familiar presence to our shoppers as they will be from Island Apiaries, which has been thrilling customers this market season with their bee hive. David Neal, the owner of Island Apiaries, will be moving the hive from his booth to the “farm” next to the market. As always, he will be there to answer customers questions about the bees and their hive.

A big “thank you” to David Neal and the Mercer Islanders who are providing animals for our Farm Day.

We are sure that our community’s children are going to love this fun, educational activity.

Music

Patrick Daughtery performing at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on July 17, 2011.

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

This Sunday, Mercer-Island-Farmers-Market favorite, Patrick Daugherty, will be back to entertain us. Patrick has not only been a consistent musical presence at the MIFM since our first year, but also was a dedicated volunteer for many years organizing the market’s musical entertainment.

This Sunday, though, Patrick is going to be trying something new and different. At 1 p.m., Patrick and community group, Transition Initiative Mercer Island (TIMI), are planning the Community SongFest, which will be a sing-along for everyone at the market.

Patrick and TIMI are inviting the entire community to join them singing such traditional favorites as “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” this Sunday afternoon. Everyone interested should plan to meet just before 1 p.m. at the flagpole.

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.

Highlights from the July 3rd Mercer Island Farmers Market

Happy 4th of July!

For our Independence-Day-Weekend market, we had some great weather to help bring out the crowds.

Blue Skies above the Mercer Island Farmers Market.

Blue Skies above the Mercer Island Farmers Market. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Below are some highlights from the vendors and events from the market.

Vendors Highlights from the July 3rd Mercer Island Farmers Market

Collins Family Orchard of Selah, WA brought apriums and two kinds of cherries–Titan and Rainier. But Nick explained that the asparagus at the market yesterday was probably the last of this season for them.

Last of the asparagus from Collins Family Orchard for 2011.

Last of the asparagus from Collins Family Orchard for 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Ryan Lichttenegger of Hand Farmed Organics, Fall City, WA had his usual great selection of greens, radishes, turnips, and broccoli. He also brought the first carrots of the season from the farm. They are very sweet; you should definitely get some at our next market on July 17th (remember, no market on July 10th due to Summer Celebration). But what really caught my eye–and according to Ryan several other customers–was the Flashy Trout lettuce, a red-speckled variety with beautiful full leaves.

Ryan Lichttenegger of Hand Farmed Organics, Fall City, WA holding a head of Flashy Trout lettuce at the Mercer Island Farmers Market.

Ryan Lichttenegger of Hand Farmed Organics, Fall City, WA holding a head of Flashy Trout lettuce at the Mercer Island Farmers Market. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Moua’s Garden of Woodinville, WA had tables filled with fat sugar snap peas and buckets filled with mint and flowers. For Independence Day, Moua created special “4th of July” bouquets of red, white, and blue flowers, which were very popular. By the time, we were finally able to get a picture of one, Moua was running out of white and was putting in stems of mint to fill out the bouquets.

"Red, White, and Blue" Bouquets from Moua's Garden, Woodinville, WA.

"Red, White, and Blue" Bouquets from Moua's Garden, Woodinville, WA. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

We were thrilled to welcome back to the MI Farmers Market Martin Family Orchard of Orondo, WA, who due to the bad growing season didn’t have enough fruit to be at our market until now. Martin Family Orchard has been a vendor–and an extremely popular one at that–at our market since our market began in 2008. We know that our customers were excited to see them and their tables filled with Bing cherries.

Shoppers at the Martin Family Orchard booth at the Mercer Island Farmers Market.

Shoppers at the Martin Family Orchard booth at the Mercer Island Farmers Market. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Event Highlights at the July 3rd Mercer Island Farmers Market

In addition to our wonderful vendors, we had several community members volunteer their time for some special events at the market.

Nutrionist Susan Kleiner lead a group of shoppers on the first-ever “Shop with a Nutritionist” tour. Susan stopped at nearly every vendor to talk about the value of the products that each was selling. Susan is editing a video of the tour and we hope to post it here soon for those who missed the tour. Thank you Susan for volunteering your time for the Mercer Island Farmers Market and educating its shoppers.

Susan Kleiner leading MIFM customers on the first-ever "Shop with a Nutritionist" tour.

Susan Kleiner leading MIFM customers on the first-ever "Shop with a Nutritionist" tour. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

At our tasting table, volunteers and MI Farmers Market board members Susie Rosenstein and Tanya Bednarski featured strawberries and cherries. Susie and Tanya had a great time having customers sample the delicious fruit and discussing the differences between the varieties…some juicier than others, some sweeter… Thank you to Collins Family Orchard, Martin Family Orchard, and Skagit Sun for contributing the strawberries and cherries for the sampling. And a big thank you to Susie and Tanya for organizing the tasting table and creating such a valuable educational opportunity.

A child and her mother enjoying a strawberry from the tasting table.

A child and her mother enjoying a strawberry from the tasting table. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

At our kids’ table, our dedicated volunteers worked with children on painting. The children produced dozens of paintings that decorated the kid’s table canopy while they dried. You can see some volunteers, two busy painters, and a few drying paintings in the photo below. Thank you to all of the kids’ table volunteers.

Children painting flowers at the kid's table at the Mercer Island Farmers Market.

Children painting flowers at the kid's table at the Mercer Island Farmers Market. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Plus Joe Ross of the Haggis Brothers, our market’s musician on Sunday, unexpectedly, but very welcomely, found himself in a duo midafternoon. Musician Patrick Daugherty, after finishing his market shopping, sang a few songs with Joe. A big thank you to Joe and to Patrick for some great music.

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

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