Winter Farmers Market pops up again for the season

Customers explore the Foothill Farms produce stand. // Photo by Claudia Cooper

By Claudia Cooper

On an unexpected sunny day in the middle of the winter season, Bellingham residents gathered downtown on Railroad Avenue on the morning of Jan. 19 to support local businesses at the Bellingham Winter Farmers Market.

As eager lines formed to buy fresh fruits and vegetables from the Foothills Farm produce stand, others stopped to sample ginger beer made by Bright & Sunny Wild Fermented Ginger Beer, owned by Miranda LeonJones.

The market is held weekly from April through December and monthly during the winter season, with over 40 local vendors setting up shop at Depot Market.

Kylie Lewis, an employee at Bellingham organic mushroom farm Cascadia Mushrooms, is one vendor that can be found working behind her stand with crates of mushrooms and kits for customers to grow their own mushrooms at home. They are also the only mushroom stand you can find in the whole market, Lewis said.

“The more you get to know the vendors, the more you get to know their impact,” Lewis said.

Also at the market were Meredith McDowell and Abby Rand, employees of 11th Hour, a tea and coffee bar on State Street in downtown. Jars filled with superfood and hot kettles full of tea lined their booth as they smiled at prospective customers.

“The biggest place to sell and meet others in the community is in the market,” McDowell said.

Many vendors have locations for their businesses right in town and others take advantage of the market because they work right from home. LeonJones, owner of Bright & Sunny, and her husband Jay Jones put out samples of homemade wild fermented ginger beer for passersby in the market. LeonJones makes her ginger beer with a wild fermentation process so everything is natural, organic and brewed right in Bellingham.

Since she does not have a permanent location, LeonJones said she’ll countdown the days until the next farmers market to get new customers on her “batch list” for her ginger brew.

The Bellingham farmers market will open its doors again Feb. 16 with its regular hours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will continue to have monthly events until April where the market will occur every Saturday through December.

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