August 30, 2000.
We opened that Sunday, as per usual, a mix of locally grown food and crafts, but that Sunday was different. It was the beginning of a new chapter, a commitment to being open year round. We took a chance at a time when farmers markets were still a fledgling concept. In 2000, the USDA had about 2,800 markets on its official list.
In 2015, there are more than 8,200 markets across the country.
In the state of Washington alone, there are 117 farmers markets. SFMA is proud to have three count among them. And Ballard is proud to be Seattle's first year-round farmers market. Back then, maybe you came to the farmers market as an occasional outing. Today, we know that more and more of you do your weekly food shopping with us.
It's one thing to show up Sunday after Sunday, no matter the weather. But we couldn't do it without the vendors, without whom there would be no market. Fifteen years later, we are more than 70 vendors strong, a vibrant mix of farmers, fishers, ranchers, cheesemongers, winemakers, brewers, foragers, fermented fanatics, artists, artisans, jam makers, bakers and prepared food masters, that brings people to historic Ballard from all over the world. That's right: Our little market that could is world famous.
Thank you for an amazing 15 years, and here's to another. This isn't just our birthday party -- it's yours, too. Together, we are changing the world, one freshly dug carrot at a time.