Ellensburg Farmers Market brings community together

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Ellensburg Farmers Market brings community together

Vang Garden sold large and
medium sized floral arrangements
at the farmers market. Many people
bought flower bouquets for their moth-
ers and grandmothers for Mother’s Day
on May 12th.

Vang Garden sold large and medium sized floral arrangements at the farmers market. Many people bought flower bouquets for their moth- ers and grandmothers for Mother’s Day on May 12th.

Vang Garden sold large and medium sized floral arrangements at the farmers market. Many people bought flower bouquets for their moth- ers and grandmothers for Mother’s Day on May 12th.

Vang Garden sold large and medium sized floral arrangements at the farmers market. Many people bought flower bouquets for their moth- ers and grandmothers for Mother’s Day on May 12th.

Mary Park, Staff Reporter

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Buy fresh produce, sample a wine or cider, indulge in a macaron or two, watch musicians perform and you would still only be halfway through the list of things you can do at the farmers market.

On Saturday, May 4, the annual Ellensburg Farmers Market held its first market day of the 2019 season.The market will run until the last Saturday in October.

Starting at 9 a.m., more than 50 new and returning vendors lined up on East 4th Ave. between Pearl Street and Ruby Street, showcasing goods like fresh farm products, salmon, coffee, baked goods, jewelry and more.

Concession stands served foods like churros, tacos, blueberry pancakes and pork and chicken skewers.

Local residents, visitors of all ages and dogs — lots of dogs– filled the street.

Lemon Thyme Macarons

Charmaine Mosiman, owner of Lemon Thyme Macarons, was one of the new vendors at the farmers market.

Mosiman is a baker from Roslyn, Washington, and she presented her “sumptuous” and “not too pretty to devour” macarons–as written on a sign at the booth–to the market for the first time. Sure enough, a crowd surrounded her stand to buy the colorful sweets.

Mosiman, who started making macarons in the summer of 2017 to turn her passion into a dream, said some of the most popular flavors are s’mores, honey lavender, fruity pebbles, crème brûlée, pistachio, animal crackers and lemon.

“[For the farmers market], I made about [six] batches in total which equates to about 360 sandwiched macarons,” Mosiman said in an email response.

Mosiman said she enjoyed the positive vibe and seeing everyone in a good mood at the market. She added that it’s important for customers to support “local unique vendors that you can’t get anywhere else.”

Wheel Line Cider

Wheel Line Cider, a new cidery and apple orchard, located just 25 minutes from downtown Ellensburg, presented samples of their two new barrel-aged ciders for the first time, the Driveline Dry and IPC Hopped Cider.

Maryanna Schane, director of marketing and sales and daughter of the owner, Susie Bremer Jensen, said they are having a grand opening on June 1 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the family farm on Upper Badger Pocket Road.

“If you want to come out for that there will be good music, cider and fun stuff,” Schane said. “We’re kid-friendly, cat-friendly, we have fun games, [and] we’ve got a really nice outdoor tasting area.”

According to Schane, the Driveline Dry is a dry cider made from bittersweet apples and is a nice champagne substitute in mimosas.

The IPC Hopped Cider, which was made from Cascade hops, mosaic and citra, is a crisp cider and has a stronger smell of hops and earth notes.

“We spend a lot of time nurturing our apples, from root to the bottle,” Schane said. “We make sure that they’re grown with love, processed with love and we take a lot of pride in our products.”

Colockum Hillside Farm

At a small farm located about half an hour outside of Ellensburg, chickens freely roam around a pasture and rows of vegetables like spinach, baby bok choy and carrots are harvested.

Suzanne Johnson, owner of Colockum Hillside Farm, said it’s her second time at the market.

“Eggs are my main business and I sell them to individual customers year-round,” Johnson said. “But at the market today, the vegetables and the starts are what’s being sold the most … because everyone’s thinking about starting a garden.”

Johnson, who used to be an English as a second language (ESL) instructor at CWU, said she was ready for a change in career and started with a small garden and with five chickens.

“I’ve always been interested in food, particularly high-quality food,” Johnson said. “I was sort of doing it as a hobby to begin with and decided maybe what I’m growing is something other people will like too.”

Johnson said because she communicates with her customers mainly through emails and texts, it’s nice to meet some of them at the market.

“I’ve had customers from last year come back and say, ‘Your starts were the best, they grew really well,’” Johnson said. “And the egg customers complained that [when they break] the eggs from regular grocery stores, it’s really sad because the yolks are pale and mine are bright orange, and the whites are runny and mine are firm.”

Country Crow Specialty Coffee

Country Crow Specialty Coffee, described as a “small-batch artisan roastery” on their label, returned to the market for the fifth time, offering freshly roasted coffee at $2 for each cup and $4 for nitro cold brew.

“It’s always fresh, that’s my goal, to give folks a good product for the price, freshly roasted coffee just in Kittitas County,” Owner Candace Wetzel said.

Wetzel works as a dental hygienist during the week, and on Fridays, she roasts the beans that have arrived from Seattle. She said she roasts just enough to sell for the week so that her products don’t sit on the shelves and go stale.

Wetzel said because she doesn’t have a storefront, the Ellensburg Farmers Market allows her to showcase her products and interact with her customers.

The 12-ounce pouches of whole bean or ground coffee for $12, can also be found at Vinman’s Bakery and at Daily Bread and Mercantile.

Hunter & Holden’s (H&H Creations)

A long lineup stood behind H&H Creations’ table, where 8-ounce tubs of cheese spreads —  Jalapeno and Cheddar — and loaves of sea salted baguettes were on display.

The owner, Karyn Merritt, said the spread is made from a family recipe and can go on anything from cheeseburgers, crab melts, tuna melts, grilled cheese and baked potatoes.

“They’re great to cook with, and if you can’t have bread, they’re great with fruits and vegetables,” Merritt said.

She and Karen Loftus, her co-worker and friend of 20 years, started H&H Creations six years ago when Merritt wanted additional income to help fund her son Hunter in college.

Merritt said the farmers market gave her a social life and she has seen her daughter Holden, whom she brings along every year, grow at the market.

“It’s fun work because you’re talking with people, and they’re talking about upcoming events,” Merritt said. “[And] you’ve seen their kids grow with your kids over the summer.”

Community Impact

John Martinez, an Ellensburg local who moved from the westside about three to four years ago, sat on a bench holding a bag that contained fresh bread, cheese spread and a bunch of asparagus.

“We live in town so we come every Saturday to give him a walk,” Martinez said, pointing to his Pomeranian named Dookie.

Martinez said he also visits the market to support local businesses.

“These local people care about us because they live here,” Martinez said. “Why would you [go to] big corporate places that don’t even care about us?”

Diedra Petrina, a local who has lived in Ellensburg for 19 years, said she and her family come to the market to see friends and to support people in the community.

“[What] I like about the farmers market is really getting to know the people who have the small businesses, people who grow your produce,” Petrina said. “Learning about how they grow their produce, you’re learning their stories and how much love they put into [their work].”

Nonprofit Organizations

Around 20 nonprofit organizations also joined the market to introduce their services to community members.

Colin Lamb, the farmers market coordinator, said he wanted to allow the Ellensburg Downtown Association to bring nonprofits to the first market of the year since many customers show up that day.

“We have over 400 nonprofits in this county,” Lamb said. “And the market is a good way for them to introduce themselves to populations that [they] generally don’t get introduced to, [and] people who have no interest or think they have no use for nonprofits.”

Naomi’s Hope was one of these nonprofits hosting a booth at the market. Rita Johnson, the board of director secretary at Naomi’s Hope, said their nonprofit is an organization that “walks alongside women and children in crisis in Kittitas County.”

According to Johnson, the name Naomi’s Hope is coined from Naomi and Ruth’s story in the Bible.

“Ruth walked alongside Naomi and in the trials of her journey in life and it’s based around that,” Johnson said. “Just companioning with someone, staying with them and helping them through the transition and obstacles that they have to overcome.”

Johnson said the non-profit’s future goal is to raise funds to secure transitional housing for women and children.

The organization’s website indicates that volunteers can help out by donating their talents such as landscaping, gardening or cooking skills.