By Gale Fiege Herald Writer
EVERETT — Within minutes of opening, the Everett Farmers Market is packed with shoppers.
The cool morning air off the bay makes it a great place to sip hot coffee or grab a croissant for breakfast from the Snohomish Bakery stand.
Some people sit at tables along the marina. Others charge madly across the open-air market looking for their favorite farmer before the good lettuce is all gone. Most stroll, checking out what’s available before pulling out their wallets for flower bouquets, produce, baked goods, cheese, honey, crafts and seafood.
On Sunday, Judi Carr, 75, of Everett came looking for blueberries.
“I was going to try U-pick farm, but this is so much easier,” Carr said. “What I don’t eat with ice cream, I will freeze for the winter.”
Annie Schmidt, 19, has been selling blueberries for her grandfather for about half her life. Schmidt’s Blueberry Farm is northwest of Marysville.
A graduate of Archbishop Murphy High School, Schmidt is a Washington State University student. Selling the berries helps her pay for tuition.
“I like selling at the Everett market,” she said. “People are so friendly and I love looking at all the authentic food available to shoppers here.”
The Everett Farmers Market is celebrating its 20th anniversary season, said manager Karen Erickson.
The market’s vendors include about 33 farms of various sizes from a four-county region and a few from Eastern Washington, Erickson said.
Currently, the market has a program to encourage people to bring their own bags from home. The market shares shopping bags donated by other shoppers.
“It would be nice if we didn’t have single-use plastic bags at the market anymore,” Erickson said. “We also have a token program for people with food stamp cards or people with debit cards. You buy tokens to spend with the vendors.”
Erickson said one of her favorite farmers is Gaspar Rojas, who lives on his five-acre farm near Sedro-Woolley. He and his family run Carmen Garden, named for his wife, Carmen Martinez Rojas.
“For us, Everett is the best market. It’s far better than Oak Harbor and Mount Vernon,” he said.
Three generations work together at the Carmen Garden stand selling lettuce, beets, carrots, onions, peas and squash.
Rojas’ daughter, Betty Rojas, 24, of Everett, waits on customers along with her nephews, Joseph Rojas, 11, a student at Eisenhower Middle School, and Daniel Mendez, 14, a student at Cascade High School.
“We like working together,” Daniel said.
Everett artist Barbara Freeman loves eating and painting vegetables, and often makes Carmen Garden her first stop at the market.
“We just got back from a trip and our fridge needs to be filled,” Freeman said, showing off her stuffed shopping bag. Her husband likes the market, too.
“The Rojas family grows beautiful food,” Wayne Freeman said. “The Everett Farmers Market is fun, and you can’t ask for a better setting along the water.”
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Everett Farmers Market
Everett Farmers Market is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 6 at 1600 W. Marine View Drive. More information is at everettfarmersmarket.net.