Farmers market enters 30th year

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


With spring slow in coming to Iowa this year, the Washington Farmers Market is celebrating its pearl anniversary after starting in the Washington square in 1988.

During an informational meeting hosted by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Tuesday evening, market advisory committee members Sarah Grunewaldt and Ann Williams gave a presentation on what events this year?s running of the market has to offer. Market master Bob Shepherd was also present to answer questions about the coming year.

?We were the first farmers market to start in the state of Iowa,? Williams said, as she spoke of the market. She also displayed a multimedia presentation showing events from the past 30 years. ?We take a lot of pride in show locally and buy locally because that is really the only way small communities are going to survive.?

Williams said that Shepherd had begun the market 30 years ago in Central Park. She said the markets contain produce, bakery items, and handmade crafts.

Last year the committee was formed to assist Shepherd with the market. Williams said that Central Park is the prime location for the markets. She said the market is not the only thing thriving on Thursday evenings, but the other businesses around the square as well. She said many times coming to the market is a family event.

The committee had implemented several new things last year. Williams said the idea was to make the market bigger and better, but after study it was determined that ?bigger isn?t always better.?

?We want to make sure we are doing things well before we try to do something bigger,? she said.

Starting last year, local businesses were featured at the market. Guests are also allowed to come to the events, with nonprofit groups being allowed to set up at the market three times per year.

?In the past we were restricted on having a food vendor parked in the street,? Williams said. ?Last year we decided we were going to do this. We proposed to the city council having one large vendor every week.?

The vendors usually continue to serve during the events later on Thursday that is usually a musical act during Thursday night Live, sponsored by the Washington Chamber of Commerce, and a Washington Municipal Band concert.

The BBQ and Smoker Challenge will be held July 12. The 19th annual Taster?s Choice salsa contest will be held Aug. 30.

The Washington Evening Journal will continue to feature its ?We Saw You At The Farmers Market? game.

A vendor meeting will be held May 10 to prepare for the first market that will begin at 5 p.m. sharp on May 17.