Port Susan Farmers Market makes fresh local food accessible to all and cultivates long-term economic vitality for the Stanwood/Camano Island communities.
The Story of Port Susan Farmers Market
In 2010, a coalition of groups began working to introduce the first phase of the project, a Farmers Market that offers direct contact between buyers and producers as well as educational demonstrations related to food culture.
To support the development of the market, the City of Stanwood, with assistance from Northwest Agriculture Business Center, applied for and was awarded a Farmers Market Promotion Program grant in October of 2011 with the City of Stanwood acting as the fund administrator.
In August 2012, the Port Susan Farmers Market was launched in downtown Stanwood where local farmers and food processors sold their goods back to the community with an underlying concept of getting eaters in touch with those who produce their food.
In 2015 the market season was expanded to twenty weeks. The market was home to over fifty vendors, averaged 900 visitors each week and vendors grossed over $200,000 in product sales. With continued growth it became apparent that the market had outgrown it’s start-up location so the board applied for and was awarded a USDA Farmers Market Promotional Program Grant for the 2016/2017 market seasons. The purpose of the grant was to grow the physical size of the market, add two new programs designed to attract new customers, and better support farms and vendors.
The first new program, “Sprouting Healthy Kids” is a food discovery area featuring activities for children designed to attract more families and engage children in food and nutrition education. Parents enroll their children in our Junior Sprout Club and each participant receives a personalized membership badge and a healthy snack provided by farm vendors. In 2016 activities included a bee day with a local beekeeper and bees, a dairy day, produce scavenger hunt, Meet the Farmer BINGO and a name that fruit or vegetable game. Over 300 children between the ages of 2 and 12 are currently enrolled.
The second “Chef at the Market”, is a cooking demonstration booth where a professional chef demonstrates how to prepare and then samples recipes using in-season ingredients available from our vendors. The goal is to teach shoppers how to use locally-grown ingredients in new and creative ways, increase farm vendor sales and bring shoppers back to experience new ways of adding nutrition and variety to their diets.