Farmers’ market returns on Fourth Street

Libby Williams, Staff Reporter

The Ellensburg Farmers Market has been a top event for locals from May to October since it started in 1993. On May 1, the market will begin its 28th run on Fourth Street, with vendors ranging from local farmers to crafters selling handmade goods. It will run every Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. until Oct. 30.

“The farmers’ market is a great way to get to know who grows your food,” market Manager Collin Lamb said. Some farmers “come from over a hundred miles away to do this market on Saturday mornings. Everyone who is working at the booth at this farmers’ market works on the farm and knows the product, and that’s a requirement we have.”

This will be Lamb’s fourth year managing the market since he started in 2018, and he said the team has been working hard and is looking forward to another fun and safe summer at the market.

“Now obviously it’s COVID, so we have things spread out and we’re all going to be wearing masks,” Lamb said. “But aside from that, it’s a fun thing to do.”

Similar to last year, the market will be limited to about 35 vendors as opposed to a typical year, where he’d be able to fit about 50. However, Lamb said he’s not worried about the market’s success. 

“Last year, I could only fit about 35 vendors max, but all of the farmers had record sales,” Lamb said. “They all did better than they had ever done before. The total market sales for 2020 were very comparable to 2019, they were nearly identical. For there being less vendors and how crazy everything was, the farmers did very well.”

While the main focus of the market is the farmers and their fresh produce, there are also vendors selling crafted items. Retired postman Pat McPhillips has been selling his hand-carved wood items at the Ellensburg Farmers Market since 2012 and has even grown a small business out of it.

“When I retired in 2006, I started to make quite a few wooden boxes with quilt patterns in them,” McPhillips said. “The first two I made for my wife, and then I just kept making them. She said, ‘what are you gonna do with all these boxes?’ So I thought, well maybe I’ll go to the market.”

McPhilips said since then, his small business has grown, and he even has people reach out throughout the year for custom gifts. He makes cheese boards, wooden utensils and Lazy Susans, and his best seller is his one-of-a-kind cribbage boards. 

McPhillips said the market team has done a great job of keeping everyone safe during the pandemic while still providing a family friendly activity for when the weather is nice. 

“They do a real good job of spreading us out … in fact, I don’t get to go every weekend … because it’s a farmers’ market, they have priority,” McPhillips said. “A lot of those folks, they’re making their living doing that.”

Both Lamb and McPhillips noted the “delicious” produce you can only experience at a farmers’ market.

“The produce is amazing that you get! It’s delicious!” Lamb said. “I’d never had a tomato until I had a farm grown organic tomato … it’s good for you and you can support local farmers.” 

You can find more information on the Ellensburg Farmers Market at, or by looking up Ellensburg Farmers Market on Facebook. 

Pat McPhillips sells his available products all year long on his website