Leavenworth, Washington, was the location for the 2011 Washington State Farmers Market Association Annual Conference. While in town Joel Wachs, WSFMA board president, spoke with the local radio station, KOHO 101.1FM. You can listen to the interview and hear more about the state of farmers markets across the state in the interview.  

Visit the WSFMA Fan Page … more info  

The Washington State Farmers Market Association (WSFMA) Board of Directors would like to announce a change in leadership of the organization with the appointment Karen Kinney as Interim Executive Director, effective Friday, January 21. Press Release

WSU, in partnership with WSFMA, is offering mini-grants to Washington farmers markets that intend to increase sales of specialty crops for credit/debit/SNAP (food stamps) customers in their markets. …  more info

The Daily Green ranked 12 of the Best Farmers Markets in the U.S. and the University District market in Seattle made the mark! For more information, visit The Daily Green: The Consumer’s Guide to the Green Revolution This is what they have to say about the market: ” The tourists might go to the famous Pike Place Market, but the locals (and the local farmers and chefs) are at the University District Farmers Market. On Saturdays, more than 50 farmers sell delicacies like fiddlehead ferns, raw cow and sheep’s milk cheeses and Mangalitsa pork (a special breed of long-haired pig), as well as market staples like mushrooms, peppers and free-range eggs.  Don’t Miss: The 30 different varieties of apples with names like Cox’s Orange Pippin and Prairie Spy. (Washington grows more apples than any other U.S. state.)”(see slide #10) The site also has an interesting article on “6 Steps to Mastering your Farmers Market“.  

Congratulations to these markets for being voted in as the top 5 Farmers Markets in Washington State: Ballard Farmers Market Olympia Farmers Market Auburn International Farmers Market Prosser Farmers Market University District Farmers Market – read more

Gregoire makes request while on “Feeding Washington” tour of Eastern Washington

OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire today, while on her “Feeding Washington” tour of Eastern Washington, announced she has asked U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to designate 29 counties in Washington as farm disaster areas due to weather-related losses to agricultural producers. The damage was the result of extreme weather conditions throughout the spring, including severe cold, high winds and excessive rains. “Conditions this year have been difficult for our growers across Washington, from Clark County to Okanogan,” Gregoire said. “Cold temperatures have harmed our tree fruit crops, while excessive rain made it difficult for bees to pollinate strawberries and other berry crops. A declaration will help our businesses absorb a difficult year and look forward.” The request includes disaster declarations for Adams, Benton, Chelan, Clark, Columbia, Cowlitz, Douglas, Franklin, Grant, Grays Harbor, Island, King, Kitsap, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lewis, Mason, Okanogan, Pacific, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Skamania, Snohomish, Thurston, Wahkiakum, Walla Walla, Whatcom and Yakima counties. The USDA disaster declaration would allow farmers in the primary counties, as well as adjoining counties, to apply for disaster assistance payments through several programs administered by USDA Farm Service Agency. Farmers may also be eligible for emergency low-interest loans from USDA to cover production and farm property losses. “There are a lot of things farmers can do to minimize the risks they face during the production year, but they’ll never be able to control the weather,” said WSDA Director Dan Newhouse. “For those producers who experienced crop damage, report that information to your local USDA office or agent as soon as you can. And for the rest of us, this disaster is a reminder to purchase the appropriate crop insurance or USDA noninsured crop disaster assistance coverage. We never know when we’ll need those tools to help weather the storm.” Gregoire is in Eastern Washington with Newhouse, Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant and Commerce Director Rogers Weed, leading a two-day tour to meet with leaders throughout the region focused on water, agriculture, and bioenergy. Gregoire’s “Feeding Washington” tour will help ensure growers, producers and distributors have the necessary tools and resources to remain globally competitive and help Washington drive its economy and grow jobs. Before announcing her request to the USDA, Gregoire spent time in Walla Walla, where she toured the Walla Walla pump exchange project that will ensure water flows in the Walla Walla River during the summer months. The project supports the survival of Chinook salmon, endangered bull trout and summer steelhead while securing a more reliable water supply for local farmers. Later today, Gregoire will visit the Red Mountain region near the Tri-Cities, where a project is underway to double the acreage of irrigated wine grapes to support and grow the state’s thriving wine industry. Tonight, Gregoire meets with the Yakima River Basin water enhancement work group to receive an update on a new, widely supported plan for increasing water supply and improving the environmental health of the Yakima River. Gregoire continues her “Feeding Washington” tour tomorrow with stops at Irving Newhouse & Sons 600 acre farm in Sunnyside, Gebbers Farm in Brewster and Inland Empire Oilseeds in Odessa.

Farmers Market Coalition decides on a definition of a farmer’s market as: “A farmers market operates multiple times per year and is organized for the purpose of facilitating personal connections that create mutual benefits for local farmers, shoppers and communities. To fulfill that objective farmers markets define the term local, regularly communicate that definition to the public, and implement rules/guidelines of operation that ensure that the farmers market consists principally of farms selling directly to the public products that the farms have produced.read the full article 6/4/2010

by Travel and Leisure “America’s Best Farmers’ Markets” read the article April 2010