Farmers Market winds down on a successful year

As the market begins to wind down, Renton Farmers Market Coordinator Carrie Olson starts to look around on those Tuesday afternoons and think of ways to make those booths as easy as possible to pop back up for farmers and vendors next year.

This year brought lucky weather, Olson said, save for a few rough smoky days, the attendance reflected the sunny skies.

The big change this year for the market was the closing of Logan Avenue next door, and it not only helped public safety but allowed vendors to spread out and lessen crowding. It also makes it easier for vendors to load and unload their booths.

Next year Olson hopes to look at the vendor map and find even more ways to utilize the new space available to them including spreading out further into Gateway Park.

This year the market did away with the $10 match limit for the Fresh Bucks program. Now those who wish to use SNAP benefits to make purchases can receive a dollar in Fresh Bucks for every dollar they wish to spend in EBT-eligible items. Fresh Bucks will go for fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruits and vegetables, according to the Fresh Bucks website.

“It went from $10 to $30 for customers using their SNAP benefits,” Olson said. “It’s a great win for being able to provide healthy food to our community and people that really need it, but it also represents more income for our farmers.”

Olson said farmers were definitely happy this year, as invoices show increases in their incomes. She said making the farmers successful also makes market staff happy.

“I always would like to thank all the shoppers that came out and spent money and time with our farmers and small business owners,” Olson said. “We always want to thank all of the volunteers who were there every market, hours on end, working alongside vendors and staff and worked so hard to make it what it is. Our volunteers were amazing and we couldn’t do it without them.”