Change is Good: 2011 Kirkland Wednesday Farmers Market

A lot of changes occurred this year with Kirkland Wednesday Farmers Market, not only did the location change from Marina Park to Park Lane, but most importantly we have a new market manager — Christina Martin. So I approached her for this interview as an opportunity for all of us to getting to know her and learn what’s new at the market this year, so here you go

A: What make Kirkland Wednesday Farmers Market special this year?
Christina: One of the things that make the Kirkland Wednesday Farmers Market special this year is its shift in focus to a smaller market that supports Washington’s amazing family farms.  The market this year features a wonderful collection of family farmers ranging from 1st generation to 5th generation.  These farmers are the heart of Washington’s Agriculture community.  The love that they have for their produce is shown in their display and how they share their products with the customers.

Kirkland Wednesday Farmers Market

A: What made you decided to accept the Kirkland Wednesday Farmers market manager’s position?
Christina: It was a remarkably easy decision to make. As a business owner myself, I started selling my products, Blue Cottage Jams, at the Kirkland Wednesday Farmers Market years ago. I was one of the vendors on Park Lane who watched the market grow and change and then move to the Marina Park. During my time as a vendor, I came to love the downtown area, the people, and the general feeling of small town. When the job offer came up, it was like returning to my roots at the market, and my great love for this market lead me to take on the changes that it faced and bring my vision to it.

Fresh Produces at Kirkland Wednesday Market

A: How do you feel to have the Kirkland Wednesday Farmers Market on Park Lane?
Christina: I love the market on Park Lane. It has a lovely feel to it, and the majority of the feedback we have received has been extremely positive. The street provides a lovely scenic feeling for the market.

Kirkland Wednesday Farmers Market

A: Any exciting programs or events that you can share which will be happening this year at the Kirkland Wednesday Farmers Market?
Christina: As far as programs at the market, we are just finishing up the Grilling demonstrations that were provided in cooperation with Kirkland Uncorked and Weber Grills. Sprout Story Time has begun, and every other week for the rest of the summer we will be offering a story or two with some activities. This story time was a result of working with the Lake Washington Toddler Group. Also, the Max Mobile is here the first Wednesday of every month offering a chance to adopt a homeless pet. Finally, I am still working on the annual Harvest Festival. It is still in the planning phase, but I hope to work with some volunteers to put it together for the celebration at the end of the season.

Beautiful Flowers at Kirkland Wednesday Farmers Market

A: Anything at all that you would like to let the public know about this year Kirkland Wednesday Farmers Market?
Christina: What I would like to let our friends in Kirkland know is that I appreciate their support for the market through all its changes. I have heard from many residents about their market experience, and will do my best as the market matures to incorporate some of their ideas and visions into the market. This market is all about the Kirkland community, coming together to enjoy the bounty of the Washington Farmers and local artisans.

Christina was born and raised in outside New York City. She spent much of her childhood traveling into the city to enjoy operas, ballets, and the amazing array of museums. When not spending her weekends there with her mother and sister, she was out in the countryside where their lived. She spent many days in the family garden, planting, weeding and harvesting, developing a healthy respect and love for farming (even just in their back yard). Life took her to Cleveland for a few years then Worcester, Mass., where she raised her sons until they were teens then moved to Redmond, Wash. She has been a resident of Redmond for a bit over 10 years now, and loves everything about her home. Two of her three sons still call Washington home, and plan to stay settle here after college. Her oldest son followed his job to North Carolina, but still talks of coming back to where his heart is here in Redmond. She started her own business about nine years ago, with her youngest son (then 13) as her business partner. They worked with farmers at the markets to get the freshest fruits available, and made their signature jams to sell at local farmers markets. They started in Issaquah and quickly moved to Kirkland, where they sold their jams for about 4 years. Blue Cottage Jams is still a thriving business, and she spends many hours still in the kitchen cooking her favorites.  Now they sell only at Edmonds Saturday Market and the Lake Forest Park Farmers Market. Last year, Grant Davidson (founding manager of the Kirkland Wednesday Market) retired from managing some of his farmers markets, and she was asked to step in as a manager for the rest of the season. Grant had been a mentor to her at the markets for years, and she was thrilled to work with him as she learned the ropes of market management. Last year she managed Lake Forest Park and the Crossroads Bellevue Market, and this year she is continuing there and adding the Kirkland Wednesday Market to her schedule. Also, last year she joined the WSFMA (Washington State Farmers Market Association) as a board member to learn more state policy on Farmers Markets.

When I asked if I can have some of her pictures to use for this blog post, she simply suggested me to use pictures of the market instead as the market is truly not about her, but about the farmers who make it special.

I encourage you to stop by Park Lane on Wednesday from now through September 28th between 2-7pm to enjoy fresh produces and find out for yourself what Kirkland Wednesday Farmers Market this year has to offer.

I also would like to hear what you think about this new location, hours of operation and anything at all about the market. Please feel free to leave your comments.

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