By David Hotle, The JOURNAL
While the sunny 74-degree weather Thursday afternoon was perfect for the weekly running of the Washington Farmers Market, the changing colors of the leaves show that the season is coming to a close and with it, the 2017 season of the market.
As the last market of the season drew many people to browse the vendor booths, market master Bob Shepherd reflected on another successful season. He said the market will return in mid-May, 2018. He also said that he has already been approached by several new vendors who want to reserve their spots at the market, as well as many current vendors who will return next year.
?It?s been a good season,? Shepherd said. ?We had a couple of days where we had some moisture. The most unusual was the one where at about 30 seconds before 5 p.m. the rain quit, so we did have a market.?
Even in the rain, the markets proceed as usual, albeit under tarps or canopies.
Shepherd said that a number of new vendors had been introduced as the season went on, including three local honey producers.
?What is the advantage of local honey?? Shepherd asked. ?It has the pollen in it that helps offset hay fever. People stand by that and eat local honey.?
He said the seaon?s experiment with allowing food trucks this year has gone well. He also said there are weekly vendors like Tiny Town (which got its own truck this year) that always draw a crowd.
Shepherd also commented the bakers who attend the market are excellent.
The barbecue smoker contest this year, he said, was excellent although he hopes to see more contestants in the future. He also said the taster?s choice salsa contest had gone very well.
The market moved to the Washington square in 1988 after originally starting in a nearby parking lot. Shepherd said he hopes the market will continue for many years to come, and with all the new vendors, he is sure it will.
?Our market is a feel-good social market,? Shepherd said. ?It is Midwestern nice. Everybody tries to get along and do. Its just an excellent market.?