This Saturday is the start of our local farmers market. Katherine likes to set up a booth at the market a few times each year, especially the opening day. It’s an opportunity to see local friends and market her baskets and basketmaking classes. Besides she has invested in the markets success with her volunteer efforts as a past board member.She likes to bring her weaving set-up and some willows to work on a basket. Demonstrating her craft always generates interest in her baskets.
Our involvement with farmers markets goes back to 1983. We were twenty somethings working for an organic farm out near Sequim, Washington. We were getting a funky house to live in and food from the farm, but our only cash income had to be generated from a farmers market. Of course, we were given a small local market to attend by the guy we were working for. Sequim has a large retiree population so there were a lot of early risers on Saturday morning. We had to be set up for sales by 6:30 AM and by 9:30 we were usually the only ones left in the parking lot! These were the days before it was hip for the younger crowd with families to go to the farmers market.
Later in our “career”, when we had our own farm we went to one of the country’s historical market places – the Pike Place Market in Seattle. In the late ’80s and 90’s, organic produce was still relatively new to the market. Some of the vendors didn’t even believe we were growing such a wide selection of good looking vegetables and herbs. Katherine always put on a nice display in the small 8 foot table that growers were allotted. She even managed to get featured in an article in Sunset magazine in 1994 called “The farmers market frenzy”. Excerpting from the article: “This is the eighth year Katherine Lewis and Steven Lospalluto have sold produce at Pike Place Public Market in Seattle…They are part of a new breed that has chosen farming as a way of life…Today, Lospalluto picks corn and has the truck loaded by 5 A.M. Then Lewis makes two restaurant deliveries and arrives at the market by 7. She’s assigned to a spot she’s had often in the day stalls…With some help, Lewis lays out a display of squash blossoms, beans, celeriac, candystripe beets, zucchini, and other vegetables and herbs–about 20 kinds, from parsley to lemon verbena. Everything is organically grown…Lewis and Lospalluto have sold at weekend markets in Sequim and Puyallup, but prefer Pike Place, which has a week-long schedule (they’re there four times weekly, in season) and a clientele very interested in food.” (written by Jena MacPherson)
The photo is a scan from the Sunset article and taken in September of 1993. (Back then we marketed under the farm name Lombrici’s.) That’s Chris Allen on the right who worked some market days with Katherine (yes that’s Katherine on the left). Chris still lives in Seattle and works for Murdock and White in the specialty foods business.
But those long days! We haven’t sold produce at farmers’ market for about four years. These days we sell our vegetables, apples, and other garden goodies here on our small farm. It is a lot easier to pack up the willow baskets and necessary market booth stuff and head down to our local market. Besides, these days there is a growing number of farms heading to the farmers market with their farm fresh goods. But not too many willow basketmakers!