While the Capitol Hill Farmer’s Market is temporarily moored in front of Seattle Central College on Broadway and East Pine Street, it’s not yet clear when, exactly, it will drift to a permanent docking place.
The Capitol Hill Farmers Market, which started nine years ago, is now a Sunday morning ritual for many Capitol Hill residents. A recent Sound Transit opinion poll used to plan the incoming Broadway light rail station revealed that 79 percent of Capitol Hill residents ranked that making the market a permanent fixture was one of the most important community priorities.
“The Capitol Hill-Broadway Farmers Market has grown since its inception nine years ago to one of the largest weekend markets in the city,” said Chris Curtis, Executive Director of the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance. “In 2013, 75,000 shoppers attended the market. On average, just under 50 farmers and vendors participated on market day.”
In 2009, Sound Transit verbally acknowledged to Ivy Fox, manager of the Capitol Hill market, that the farmer’s market would be a priority in its planning and development of the surplus properties surrounding Broadway Station. According to Fox, at that time, Sound Transit said that the market would operate from the new public plaza, and even more space for additional vendors would be provided in the adjacent “festival street” planned for East Denny Way between Broadway and Nagle Place.
Problem is? Legally speaking, the future of the market at that location is looking pretty dead in the water. Fox told The Capitol Hill Times that no developer is currently obligated to allow the farmers market to occupy space at the new Broadway Light Rail Station, which is slated to open its doors in September 2016. No allowance for the market has been put in writing.
Nobody wants the farmers market to capsize or abandon ship. So? To batten down the hatches, organizers call for a convoy of community support. On June 2, the Capitol Hill Champion will co-sponsor a public meeting with Sound Transit, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the SCCC Broadway Performance Hall (1625 Broadway). That’s when neighbors and deckhands can voice their interests, ideas, and concerns to the short-list of potential developers of the Broadway Light Rail Station properties. Developers may share their visions for the development sites, too.
Originally, the Capitol Hill Farmers Market occupied the parking lot behind the old Bank of America building at the corner of Broadway and East Thomas Street, Curtis said.
“The Broadway Farmers Market lost its home at the Bank of America when that property was razed for redevelopment in 2011,” Curtis said. “Several months of neighborhood stakeholder meetings determined that the outdoor plaza, and wide sidewalks, at Seattle Central Community College, would be a good interim site for the Farmers Market until it could re-locate to a permanent home at the open plaza.”
“We are focusing on bringing unique items to Cap Hill, and promoting small farms and businesses,” Fox said.
This year, the Capitol Hill-Broadway Farmers Market started operating year-round and added the following new vendors: Cherry Valley Dairy, Eaglemount Farm, Ellenos Real Greek, Honey Moon Mead, Jonny Kettle Corn, Kedai Makan, Meloui, Mountain Lodge Farm, Propolis Brewing, Rockridge Orchards, Schuh Farms, That Brown Girl Cooks, The Chai Place, Toboton Creek Farm, and Urbien V.
Seasoned vendors include: Alm Hill Gardens, Alvarez Organic Farm, Bloom Creek Cranberries, Camp Robber Jam, Canales Produce, Chao Garden, Collins Family Orchard, Columbia City Bakery, Dog Mountain Farm, Early Bird Eggs, El Chito, Got Soup?, Growing Washington, Hayton Farms, Honest Biscuits, 1 <3 My GFF, Jonboy Caramels, Jones Creek Farms, Kittitas Valley Greenhouse, Koua Yang, Garden (Yang Garden), La Pasta, Little Prague, Local Roots, Loki Fish, Lyall Farms, Martin Family Orchard, Melt, Nuflours, Oh Yeah Farms!, Olsen Farms, Patty Pan, Rachel’s Ginger Beer, Razey Orchard, Samish Bay, Schmidt Blueberry Farm, Six Strawberries, Sno-Valley Mushrooms, Steel Wheel Farm, Teng Garden, Tiny’s Organic, Tonnemaker Family Orchard, Vue Meng Farm, White Heron, Winery/MariposaVineyard, Willie Greens Organic Farm, and Woodring.