Farmers Market fundraising campaign set to start later this month

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Farmers Market fundraising campaign set to start later this month

An anonymous resident will match donations up to $5,000.

For the third year in a row, an anonymous local resident has volunteered to help out at the Mercer Island Farmers Market.

The market is set to open its 15th season on June 5 at its usual location next to Mercerdale Park, and the resident is once again ready to match personal donations from islanders up to $5,000. The fundraising campaign will begin on May 22 and potential donors can keep an eye on the market’s website at https://www.mifarmersmarket.org/ for more details.

Market President Jennifer Goodrich said she has beaten the corresponding target for the past two years and hopes to meet or exceed the target again on opening day. With market trading sponsors feeling a monetary pinch due to the pandemic in 2020, the resident swung into action with the corresponding scenario and maintained it to the present day.

“We were blown away, quite frankly, considering all the craziness of the past two years. We think the island appreciates having the market, and I think they really appreciated it during COVID when many other community events unfortunately couldn’t operate,” Goodrich said, adding that Aljoya is again the market’s number one sponsor this season and a few small local businesses have also entered the sponsorship arena to contribute to the costs of running the market.

Market manager Sam Bradshaw said it was a “huge deal” to have the donor on board again and added that the nonprofit received $2,500 from the Mercer Island Community Fund this season.

The market – which features fresh produce, live music, food and crafts – will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Sunday, with a rolling weekly schedule from June 5 through September.

Eunyoung Kim, a member of the marketing committee, said that one of the board members contacted her to help her in her mission to diversify the market with sellers from different ethnic backgrounds offering products that do not were not available to customers before.

The marketplace’s website now includes a statement that reads, “We welcome and respect differences within our community and are committed to advancing equity and inclusion in all areas of our mission.”

Farmers markets have always had a place in Kim’s heart, she said. While growing up in South Korea, she and her mother bought exclusively from open markets.

“I have many fond memories of the markets. It’s a community place where you see everyone every day,” she said.

Goodrich echoes Kim’s sentiment, adding that she enjoys the positive energy of the market while shopping with her children and meeting friends every Sunday.

Bradshaw noted that they have 62 vendors approved this season and will feature around 50 per market, with the list including Oxbow Farm, Premier Catch, Snohomish Bakery and Cookies With Tiffany.

Live music will also take center stage and Paul Sommer is the man in charge of the tunes.

“We are all excited about this year’s live music lineup. Look for fabulous performances from many well-known and beloved local artists,” he said. “Each week there will be music that will include bluegrass, western swing, country, jazz, blues, rock, soul, folk, gypsy swing as well as one of our favorites from back, Yaamba Marimba, playing music from Zimbabwe.”

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