Thank you, good people of Ballard and beyond, for your love and support over the past year. Farmers markets are three-legged stools, requiring organizers, vendors and the surrounding community to survive and thrive, and we can think of no better partner community for supporting a farmers market than our beloved Ballard! And we are particularly grateful for your support these past few weeks as we struggle with very high proposed new health permit fees. (Please keep those public comments rolling in!)
Your Ballard Farmers Market turns 15 next year, though we spent our formative, per-2000 years in Fremont... which probably explains a lot. We are grateful for many things over the past 15 years, not the least of which are our original craft vendors, like Fran from Brown Butterfly Aromatherapy. Many self-proclaimed "purists" think crafters have no place in a "true" farmers market. But Fran, and a few other crafters, supported us year-round through the early days, coming every Sunday, rain, snow, wind or cold, paying stall fees on days with few customers and helping us build the magnificent, world-renowned farmers market we all know and love today. Without the support of these pioneers, we might not be here at all. Thank you Fran, et al!
As we take this bit of a stroll down memory lane, we must express our gratitude to Michaele from Growing Things Farm. Did you know that she was the first manager of our farmers market, way back in the 1990s, when it was still part of the Fremont Sunday Market? Yup. She helped lay the foundation for what you see before you now. Thanks, Michaele! And while we're at it, thank you, Marina (left, above) for helping Michaele over so many years, and enjoy your life's next adventure carving pipe organs in Austria.
We appreciate farmer-activists like Growing Washington's Clayton Burrows for speaking up and telling it like it is with grace and wit. When you go to a Big Box store, you are in a place strictly for commerce. But we're more than that here at your Ballard Farmers Market. Even though our farmers, fishers and ranchers work harder than pretty much anyone I know, they still find time to fight the good fight, to stand up for each other and what's right. They are generous beyond their means, and they make up one of the largest, most wonderful families it has ever been my privilege to know.
We are grateful for the broad spectrum of our greater community that comes together each week here at your Ballard Farmers Market. Farmers come from all over Washington to sell here, from many different backgrounds and many different communities. Farmers like Roberto of ACMA Mission Orchards who, with his extended family, has been building an amazing orchard business in Quincy with an extraordinary diversity of fruit. It has been our honor to work with farms like ACMA, to support them and help them grow, and it turn, to watch with pride as they get that new(er) truck, or that organic certification, or that additional piece of land. We are all invested in each other here.
We are giddy with thanks for pie! And lucky us, we have the best pie maker this side of the Pecos right here at your Ballard Farmers Market, Deborah's Homemade Pies. In fact, we are blessed with an awesome collection of food artisans, from Pasteria Lucchese to Mt. Townsend Creamery to Firefly Kitchens to Soda Jerk Soda. We are proud of our legacy of fostering upstart food businesses into storefronts that rebuild neighborhoods and create living wage jobs, from Veraci Pizza to Tall Grass Bakery to Hot Cakes to Nuflours Gluten-Free Bakery, and on and on.
We have a great crew here at your Ballard Farmers Market, and we have all been together for years. We are family, and we are a team. It takes a lot of effort to carry off this Market week in and week out, year-round, and I, for one, feel blessed to work with this wonderful bunch of folks.
And not so much a thank you as a shout out to our dear friend Wynne from Jerzy Boyz. You may have noticed their absence this fall, and that is because Wynne is not feeling well. Get well, soon, Wynne! We miss you around here!
A lot of folks around here are grateful for the lovely people at Sustainable Ballard for coming to your Ballard Farmers Market every Sunday at 4 p.m. to pick up surplus produce from our farmers to give to the Ballard Food Bank. Thousands of pounds of the best food anywhere is given by our market farmers to Sustainable Ballard to deliver to Ballard Food Bank each year, and then Ballard Food Bank redistributes that produce to those in our community who need it. Additional produce goes to a local women's shelter and to the Sailing Ship Adventuress. And then there is our Fresh Bucks Program, that doubles the first $10 of Food Stamps used by EBT customers at your Ballard Farmers Market. To that end, we must also issue a huge thank you to all the local businesses who contributed auction items to our Fresh Bucks Fundraiser back in May, to our vendors who provided most of the food and beverage, and to Chef Jason Stoneburner and the whole crew at Stoneburner Restaurant for hosting the event on the rooftop of Hotel Ballard.
Your Ballard Farmers Market is a favorite of local chefs, and we appreciate their ongoing support of the Market and its vendors. Chefs like Dustin Ronspies (above) of Art of the Table, and his brother Derek Ronspies of Cochon, who shop every week here for their menus and do cooking demonstrations for us (Dustin again on December 14th!). And chefs like Jason Stoneburner, who hauls out a truckload of produce from Market farmers every Sunday for the menus at Bastille and Stoneburner. (His demo is on the 21st!) And many other menus in the 'hood serve Market-fresh ingredients, right down to our own Los Chilangos and Patty Pan Grill!
And finally, again, thank you! You, the good people of Ballard, for supporting us for all these years. We love you! Especially when you are willing to look silly wearing one of our vendors' paper hats! Happy Thanksgiving!