Farmers Market set to renew its run in PO

"Manufactured items, food and gifts will be getting a run for their money in Port Orchard due to competition from the Port Orchard Farmer's Market, an event that displays the talents of craftsmen and green-thumbers from around the area.The Port Orchard Farmer's Market starts on April 28 and will run each Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. until Oct. 27. Vice president of Kitsap Regional Farmer's Market (the corporate name for the Port Orchard Farmer's Market) Pam Moyer explains how the farmer's market works here in Port Orchard.Basically, our market is half farmers, and half crafters, said Moyer. There are all sorts of different classifications of farmers, whether they're selling things with roots attached or not.The farmer's market in downtown Port Orchard, which takes place near Waterfront Park behind Peninsula Feed, has been going on for over two decades.We're just one of the many, said Moyer, noting other regional markets in areas like Gig Harbor, Silverdale and Kingston. (But) we are the oldest farmer's market on the Peninsula.The farmer sect of the market is relatively easy for people to become part of.The definition of farmer is pretty broad, said Moyer. You have to grow what you sell.Past years of the farmer's market have seen a wide variety of wares including plants, herbs, baked goods, honey (and bee pollen), seafood (like fresh tuna, oysters and clams), mushrooms, pumpkins (generally in season), jam, and farm-fresh eggs.There's a lot of things that people wouldn't consider as farming, said Moyer.The other half of the market is devoted to artisans, who have to go through a little more than the farmers do to gain membership to the Port Orchard Farmer's Market.Our screening is very stringent, said Moyer. Artisans have to make everything themselves, and the screening committee must ascertain that items are made by the person.Members of the screening committee (composed of people in the artisan and craft area at the Port Orchard Farmer's Market) meet with artisans in order to ensure the quality of their goods, to make sure that the market doesn't have duplicates (of similar crafts, to ensure variety), and to vote if the artisan can be a part of the market. In the past, artisans have displayed work such as pottery, woodworking, quilting, knitting, crochet, soap and body products, painted clothing, custom-painted mailboxes, cured animal pelts, and picture frames.Another important feature of the Farmer's Market is the backyard farmer's row.We've got a really neat area for people who have a bumper crop or who just farm as a hobby, said Pam Moyer. They can come and go as they please. It's set aside for locals who don't have much experience (in farmer's markets). We'll sponsor them.To be a full, active member, requirements vary according to individual or business considerations. However, membership can be purchased at any time of the Farmer's Market season, and members attend monthly business meetings.For people who want to sample some homemade cooking, the hot foods area of the Farmer's Market is filled with a variety of vendors that can only sell food where everything is made from scratch. Past menus have included items like lumpia, Thai food, barbeque, nachos, soups, and even fresh-made lemonade.We usually eat from the minute we get there until we leave, said Moyer.The Port Orchard Farmer's Market will have special events throughout the season that focus on a certain facet of the market. Berry Day (July 7), Flower Day (Aug. 11), City-Wide Harvest Celebration Day (Sept. 29), and Apple Day (Oct. 13) are just some of the ways to showcase special features.In this county, there is such support for the local farmer, said Moyer. We're told by the other businesses in the area that the Farmer's Market is quite a draw. It's a lot of fun. "

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