By Andrea Miller, Skokomish Farms
Want the local scoop on what to do? Head to the local farmers market. They are a great source of local information and farmers and crafters are always ready to talk and share with folks about the best of their community. Farmers markets are my favorite place to stop whenever I travel to a new place.
Farmer market vendors are a great source of information on all things local – where to eat, drink, and play during your stay. And if you have a kitchen during your travels then you have easy access fresh, local, seasonal food for your table. Traveling? Most farmers markets have artists and crafters where you can even pick up a handmade souvenir of your trip. My favorite way to remember a trip is with a piece of art, jewelry, or pottery that was made by a local artisan or crafter. Or you can tuck a jar of local honey or jam into your suitcase and bring the local flavors home with you to share with others.
To get the best pick of the freshest produce it’s best to go early to the farmers market – the good stuff usually sells out quickly. Grab some coffee and enjoy a stroll in the early morning air while you browse the vendor stalls. I like to take a look around at all the stalls before making a return trip to make my purchases. Don’t be shy about asking farmers about their produce – most will have great ideas for how to prepare a vegetable that may be new or unusual or even have recipe cards with tips and ideas.
Mason County has a long history of farm stands and local markets. Some of the earliest settlers wrote in their journals about bringing in farm produce by wagon or boat to the local mercantile store. Chester Rosenberg, born in Shelton in 1895, wrote in his memoirs about the trip to town to both buy goods and sell produce: “We usually went no more than once a week, because it took a whole day to make the round trip of 9 miles each way. There were hitching posts and feeding mangers at Lumberman’s, for people to tie up their horses while shopping.” Well – while some things have changed (you won’t find hitching posts at the farmers markets these days) but even with the advent of the internet most people still need to make a trip to get groceries about once a week.
Hood Canal Saturday Markets
Mason County's three Farmers Market operate on Saturdays during the summer months.
Belfair Saturday Market
The Belfair Saturday Market is open on Saturdays from 9AM – 2PM, May through September. This year they are celebrating their 25th anniversary as a market. The market is located at the Belfair Elementary School parking lot on Hwy 3.
Harstine Island Farmers Market
Located in the historic Harstine Island Community Center, the market started in 1985. Open Saturdays 10AM - noon through September, they have a following of local customers, plus vacationers from the state park and various rental homes and cabins on the Island. Several years ago they added a Winter Indoor Market, every second Saturday Oct - May except January. Assorted crafters, artists, bakers, and farmers make up their vendors. A main draw is Dairy Hill Bakery, with yummy breads and pastries.
Shelton Farmers Market
Open Saturdays, 9AM – 2PM through September, this is their 22nd year and they continue to grow each season. Find them on Railroad Avenue in Evergreen Square – just look for the clock tower. They host various events throughout the season such as Kids Day and Chef Demos. Local musicians can often be heard playing live music at the clock tower during the market.
Check out local farm stands:
Hunter Farms – Hwy 106, Daily from 9-5
S&S Farm Fresh – Hwy 3, Daily from 9-6
Union City Market – Hwy 106 in Union, Daily 9-6
Jay’s Farmstand – Old Olympic Hwy N., Daily 7-7