MI Farmers Market set to roll into its 17th season

Market will kick off on June 2.

Rolling into its 17th season, the Mercer Island Farmers Market will once again spotlight community engagement and giving and a plethora of vendors, artisans and musicians who will engage with attendees along Southeast 32nd Street and 77th Avenue Southeast near Mercerdale Park.

This year’s market will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays starting June 2 through Sept. 29. A Harvest Market is also on the docket from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 24.

On the live music front, performers — including some Mercer Island talent — will unleash blues, swing, jazz, folk and more from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Sunday. Yaamba Marimba will be first up on the market music scene on June 2.

“The atmosphere is just delightful,” said Jennifer Goodrich, president of the Mercer Island Farmers Market board. “It’s just such a beautiful way to spend your Sunday.”

She feels that the family-friendly market has become a cornerstone of Mercer Island summers with attendees making repeat visits each week, befriending the farmers and vendors and picnicking with their families in the park while digging the tunes.

About 55 vendors set up their tables at the market each week to sell fresh produce like fruits and vegetables, along with eggs and poultry, jams and honeys and more while crafters sell homemade goods.

The market receives crucial assistance from its sponsors — Aljoya is the premier one — and an abundance of volunteers, including the National Charity League and the National League of Young Men, in order to bring the high-quality event to the people each week. Sponsors, donors and vendors’ fees cover the operation costs, Goodrich said.

Goodrich noted that the food-assistance Market Bucks Program has been extremely successful through its sponsorship with Aljoya, and this year they’ll also be partnering with Mercer Island Youth and Family Services on the program. Last year, the market disbursed nearly $21,000 in Market Bucks throughout the season, up from $4,000 the previous year, she said.

“(There’s) clearly a need in the larger, broader community and we want to support those who need the Market Bucks and, of course, appreciate our sponsors and donors who are able to contribute because that’s how, frankly, we pay for a lot of this,” Goodrich added. People can also donate to the market — which she said is a great community asset — on its site.

Market Director Jackie Kresek said that another highlight of the community-focused gatherings is the revamped children’s table, which features activities like the two-bite challenge of a fresh vegetable, writing notes to farmers, learning from Master Gardeners and more.

Hailey Hummel is new to the market this season in her assistant manager role and was drawn to Mercer Island because locals greatly appreciate the market and its healthy food offerings.

Hummel graduated from the University of Washington last year and jumped into working on the Pike Place Market’s farm team, helping out with its three express farmers markets in the Seattle area.

“That was just really inspirational to me to see so many people and how much those markets meant to them,” said Hummel, adding that’s how she feels about the Mercer Island Farmers Market and the community.

For more information, visit: https://www.mifarmersmarket.org/

Some Mercer Island Farmers Market offerings. Courtesy photo

Some Mercer Island Farmers Market offerings. Courtesy photo