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      Bellingham residents and visitors enjoy fresh produce. // Photo by Molly Workman

By Molly Workman
On a windy spring Saturday, vendors put up tents and laid out tables as they prepared for the first Bellingham Farmers Market of the season. Mayor Kelli Linville inaugurated the Bellingham Farmers Market with a traditional cabbage toss to Sara Southerland, the food and farming manager for Sustainable Connections. The cabbage toss, paired with ringing bells in the Depot Market Square on April 7, ceremoniously invited members of the community to open their reusable bags to local businesses in Whatcom County. Linville spoke at the opening ceremony about the benefits of the market and the impact it has had on the local economy. She spoke about growing up in Bellingham and remembering a time when the farmers’ market only existed in a dirt lot. Now, the farmers’ market houses up to 140 vendors every weekend on a paved parking lot and in the heated depot building. Southerland said the market’s theme this year is “Cultivate Community All Year Long.”
“I want you to ask yourself, what’s one thing you can do to eat local?” she said. Ken Ambrose, a Whatcom County local, said he looks forward to the market for the farm-to-table concept. “The fresh vegetables, man,” Ambrose said. “I mean, you go down to the store and that’s been their process forever, but here it’s straight to the market.” Market-goers can find anything from fresh animal products and vegetables to handmade products, such as wool and jewelry, and live entertainment. Bellingham locals young and old came pouring into the market. Some were looking for a quick coffee, and others were looking to shop for their weekly meals or specialty items such as flowers and essential oils. The Bellingham community can now enjoy the market every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. until December, on the city block of East Maple Street and Railroad Avenue.

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