Cho Lee gathers flowers for arrangements before the opening of the Mukilteo Farmers Market at Mukilteo Lighthouse Park in 2016. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

Cho Lee gathers flowers for arrangements before the opening of the Mukilteo Farmers Market at Mukilteo Lighthouse Park in 2016. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

Mukilteo Farmers Market will take the summer off

Organizers are seeking new volunteers, and a manager is needed to reboot the market.

MUKILTEO — The weekly Wednesday aroma of kettle corn won’t waft through the waterfront this year.

Also missing will be the booths of colorful produce, bodacious flowers and wares by crafters.

The Mukilteo Farmers Market is taking this summer off because there aren’t enough volunteers to staff it.

“People like the idea of a market, but nobody wants to commit to a market,” said market board treasurer Mimi Landsberg, a Mukilteo certified public accountant.

“In the last few years we tried to get more volunteers,” she said. “It got to the point where we only had three or four day-of volunteers we could consistently count on. My family is three-fifths of the board.”

Her son, Jacob, a law school student, is the board president and her daughter, Sarah, is director at large.

Bear Charles Summers, the market’s manager and only paid position, died unexpectedly in September, three weeks before the end of the season.

Even if there is an overwhelming response to keep the market open this year, it is too late for the 2019 season, she said.

The Mukilteo market first opened in July 2004. In recent years it has been at Lighthouse Park.

That’s also the site of the popular annual Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival, which faced an uncertain future due to lack of volunteers and money. Not to worry. Plans are under way for the 2019 event in September because of people stepping up.

Landsberg said finances aren’t a factor at this point, though there was a decline in the numbers of vendors paying the $25 weekly booth rate. Booth revenue decreased 22 percent from 2017 to 2018.

“We have money in the bank,” she said.

Labor is the main issue.

The market is an event, like any other event, she said. “But this is an event that happens 18 times. An average summer is 18 weeks.”

She turned to city officials for help.

Mayor Jennifer Gregerson said the city could not take over the market.

“We don’t have the capacity to add it this year,” Gregerson said. “I think it makes more sense to be a community-run project.”

Many residents pitch in by putting signs in their yard advertising the market.

“People really appreciate the opportunity to get fresh food, talk to the farmers (and) have a festive experience down at the waterfront,” Gregerson said. “I think people will miss it. I hope that it helps get it revitalized.”

Landsberg said the market attracts nonresidents.

“A lot are on the ferry. We get people walking over from their cars. We get a lot of tourists. People come down to see the lighthouse and see the market. In the summer, people are coming down for the beach,” Landsberg said.

Last summer’s food stamps program Fresh Bucks required getting ZIP codes from shoppers. Of these, few were Mukilteo residents, she said. “These are people following the farmers markets to get the food.”

Even with the decrease in booths, she said, there were about 30 to 35 setting up shop at the Wednesday market.

“A portion were crafters, not farmers. And another portion were food vendors. We had a bakery, kettle corn; in summer, frozen yogurt and Hawaiian ice.”

The market was able to use the space at no cost through a grant, which also covered a limited number of free parking spaces. “A nice perk,” Landsberg said.

Otherwise, nonresidents would have to pay to park.

Landsberg said volunteer duties include more than monitoring the spaces, lending a hand to vendors and running the information booth.

“Three years ago we started participating in a program that allows (food stamps) patrons to swipe their EBT card at a machine and get tokens for it,” she said. “We had to have a volunteer at the booth at all times. It had to be monitored at all times.”

Landsberg closed her accounting office every Wednesday to be at the market.

“We had to think twice about when we were going to take vacations,” she said.

Even then, she’d get a phone call that a volunteer didn’t show up. “I’m halfway across the country. So I’m calling in every favor I have to get somebody, anybody there to help.”

A stable crew of volunteers and a market manager are needed for the market to reopen in 2020.

You don’t have to be there all five hours weekly. Two hours every other Wednesday will do the trick. Bring along your high school kid to do face-painting. That’s how Landsberg’s daughter got started.

The market’s website and Facebook page remain active.

“We’re doing everything we would normally do behind the scenes,” she said. “Except we’re not going to run the market.”

Andrea Brown: abrown; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

Want to volunteer?

Go to or call 425-320-3586.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A big decision for Boeing’s next CEO: Is it time for a new plane?

As Boeing faces increased competition from Airbus, the company is expected to appoint a new CEO by the end of the year.

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road in Mukilteo. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Mukilteo Speedway name change is off to a bumpy start

The city’s initial crack at renaming the main drag got over 1,500 responses. Most want to keep the name.

Two workers walk past a train following a press event at the Lynnwood City Center Link Station on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Trains up and running on Lynnwood Link — but no passengers quite yet

Officials held an event at the Lynnwood station announcing the start of “pre-revenue” service. Passengers still have to wait till August.

Nedra Vranish, left, and Karen Thordarson, right browse colorful glass flowers at Fuse4U during Sorticulture on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
A promenade through Everett’s popular Sorticulture garden festival

Check out a gallery of the festival’s first day.

Left to right, Everett Pride board members Ashley Turner, Bryce Laake, and Kevin Daniels pose for a photo at South Fork Bakery in Everett, Washington on Sunday, May 26, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Second Everett Pride aims for even bigger rainbow of festivities

Organizers estimated about 3,000 people attended the first block party in Everett. This year, they’re aiming for 10,000.

School board members listen to public comment during a Marysville School Board meeting on Monday, June 3, 2024 in Marysville, Washington. Rinehardt is seated third from left. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Marysville school board president resigns amid turmoil

Wade Rinehardt’s resignation, announced at Monday’s school board meeting, continues a string of tumultuous news in the district.

A BNSF train crosses Grove St/72nd St, NE in Marysville, Washington on March 17, 2022. Marysville recently got funding for design work for an overcrossing at the intersection. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
BNSF owes nearly $400M to Washington tribe, judge rules

A federal judge ruled last year that the railroad trespassed as it sent trains carrying crude oil through the Swinomish Reservation.

The I-5, Highway 529 and the BNSF railroad bridges cross over Union Slough as the main roadways for north and southbound traffic between Everett and Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Highway 529 squeeze starts now between Everett, Marysville

Following a full closure for a night, starting late Sunday, Highway 529 will slim down to two lanes for months near the Snohomish River Bridge.

Everett Housing Authority is asking for city approval for its proposed development of 16 acres of land currently occupied by the vacant Baker Heights public housing development on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett inches closer to Park District affordable housing plan

Building heights — originally proposed at 15 stories tall — could be locked in with council approval in July.

The intersection of Larch Way, Logan Road and Locust Way on Wednesday, March 27, 2024 in Alderwood Manor, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Roundabout project to shut down major Bothell intersection for months

The $4.5 million project will rebuild the four-way stop at Larch and Locust ways. The detour will stretch for miles.

State Sen. Mark Mullet, left, and Attorney General Bob Ferguson, right, are both running as Democrats for governor in 2024. (Photos courtesy of Mullet and Ferguson campaigns)
Rival Democrats spar over fundraising in Washington governor’s race

Mark Mullet is questioning Bob Ferguson’s campaign finance connections with the state party. Ferguson says the claims are baseless.

A log truck rolled over into power lines on Monday, June 17, in Darrington. (Photo provided by Alexis Monical)
Log truck rolls into utility lines in Darrington, knocking out power

The truck rolled over Monday morning at the intersection of Highway 530 and Fullerton Avenue. About 750 addresses were without power.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.