The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recognizes the economic and cultural impact of farmer markets every August through its National Farmer’s Market Week campaign. This year Farmer’s Market Week is August 7 – 10. Centralia and Chehalis each have their own market – both centrally located in their respective downtowns.
Statewide there are 151 farmer markets in 121 towns and not only did most of these markets survive the pandemic but are now thriving again. Here in Lewis County there are five weekly farmer markets. Economic benefits of these markets are increased visibility and activity for their downtowns and offer an added income resource for the farmers and other producers.
In addition to the direct economic benefits, farmer markets are also an important incubator for small businesses, whether they are Ag related, prepared foods, or maker products. It is an inexpensive way to test-market a product or business concept without having a storefront.
Vendors at the Centralia and Chehalis Markets agree about the impact of farmer markets. “When you come to a Farmer’s Market you are supporting all local businesses,” notes Virginia Rector of KombuchaLuv from Centralia. She added that participating in farmer markets raises awareness and provides exposure in a personal and direct way with customers.
“Coming to the Farmer’s Market has made all the difference in the world,” noted Larry Hewitt, owner of Oak Tree Manor, a winery off Harrison in Centralia.
At the Chehalis market, Jessica Kinney – the owner of Black Dog Pottery – used to have a retail storefront in Centralia but closed the shop to focus on making her pottery and stained glass art. Farmer markets allow her to continue selling and making new connections. Kinney added, “I love the market community. It’s fun to be in downtown Chehalis and to see all the people walking around.”
According to the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) 89% of farms in Washington are small (selling less than $250,000 a year) and 96% are family-owned. The impact of farmer markets truly hits home! This is one of the easiest ways to “Choose Local” when shopping.
Washington State Department of Agriculture. https://agr.wa.gov/washington-agriculture
Discover Lewis County. https://discoverlewiscounty.com/farmers-markets
United States Department of Agriculture. https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2021/07/29/usda-celebrates-national-farmers-market-week
LEWIS COUNTY FARMER MARKETS
Centralia’s Farmer’s Market
Fridays 11 – 4
Pine Street Plaza (East Pine Street and Tower Av.)
Community Farmers Market of Chehalis
Tuesdays 11 – 4
Boistfort Street and N. Market Blvd.
Morton Farmer’s Market
Saturdays 10 – 3
Gust Backstrom Park at 700 W. Main Avenue
Packwood Farmers Market
Saturdays 9 – 1
Packwood Timberland Library Park at 109 Main St. W
Pe Ell Farmer’s Market
Saturdays 8 – Noon
No website. Call (360) 245-3339
State Route 6 & 7th Ave.