The Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market and its 40 venders enjoyed a strong 2020 season despite the a number of challenges. Photo by Silas Crews

The Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market and its 40 venders enjoyed a strong 2020 season despite the a number of challenges. Photo by Silas Crews

What’s Happening at the Market: A surge in community resiliency

  • Wednesday, December 30, 2020 1:30am
  • Business

As 2020 draws to a close, the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market (SFAM) is taking a look back at the important role its vendors and guests played in uniting the community in a year filled with challenges and surprises.

SFAM functions as a gateway to small, local businesses — this year becoming Sequim’s foremost local shopping experience. The market represented more than 40 diverse vendors, with weekly offerings including farm fresh produce, prepared food-to-go and artisan’s crafts.

“It really filled a need during this pandemic year,” said Sallie Constant of River Run Farm. “It was something fun that people could do safely outdoors, while also getting their shopping done for the week.”

“The market had its best year we could ever imagine,” shared Patti of Blue Mountain Baking Co. “Phenomenal is an understatement.”

Owners of newcomer Ulivo Pizzeria said they were pleasantly surprised by the market’s strength in 2020.

“We didn’t know what to expect for our first year, but it was so positive,” Andrea Mingiano said.

“There were so many people who told us that they’d lived in Sequim for twenty years and had never come to the market before this year. I was like, “How is that possible?! So many new people!”

Sallie Constant of River Run Farm displays some early spring produce at the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market. Photo by Emma Jane Garcia

Sallie Constant of River Run Farm displays some early spring produce at the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market. Photo by Emma Jane Garcia

The fact is, word had gotten around. Locals and visitors alike gathered to safely support their favorite vendors. The market offered an opportunity for togetherness, something that for many has felt in short supply this year.

“The market seems to be making a change,” Mingiano said. “It’s really shifting to meet the needs of locals. We want people to shop here, not only for the occasional gift, but for their needs and pleasures. For example, we really loved being able to buy fresh veggies!”

Mingiano said she isn’t the only fan of the increase in local produce and farm fresh goods; it seems the whole community took notice.

“The fact that we have more farmers made a huge difference,” Blue Mountain Baking Co.’s Patti said. “I don’t know how many times I heard people excited to see so many farmers there. There were so many choices and it was really evident how cool it’s all becoming.”

“Financially it was our best season to date at the market,” Constant said.

Vendors also saw increases in local regulars week after week.

SFAM aims to empower burgeoning small business owners in actualizing their entrepreneurial goals. Starting a small business at the market allows business owners to establish their brand, hone their marketing skills, and get feedback on their product in a low risk environment.

This presents entrepreneurs with an economically prudent opportunity to get their product out to the large consumer base that matters the most: their neighbors and local community.

“At market, you’re able to start small-scale with low overhead because you’re not paying for a brick and mortar space,” Constant said. “It gives you a chance to test your product with the support that the market infrastructure provides you.”

People turned out to support local like never before in 2020, making 2021 the prime year to join Sequim’s vibrant market family. With such an exciting year under its belt, the market is eager to continue on its upward trajectory.

“I think the pandemic has showed us how vulnerable our small business economy can be when we have crisis,” Constant said. “The market has so many diverse options for fresh and delicious local food, as well as unique crafts and art that you can’t get anywhere else. It’s valuable to the health and vibrancy of our community for it to continue flourishing.”

The Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market operates from May through October and is currently in it’s offseason.

Do you grow, cook, or create? SFAM would love to meet you. The market is accepting vendor applications for the 2021 market season.

For more information, visit www.sequimmarket.com or find the market on Facebook or Instagram.

Emma Jane Garcia is Marketing Manager for the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market.

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