With an unparalleled season under its belt — including more than 70 diverse vendors, record-breaking guest attendance and unprecedented vendor sales — the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market (SFAM) found community collaboration to be at an all-time high for the 2021 market season.
The market is gearing up for a brand-new season in 2022 and invites vibrant new vendors to enter the mix. Applications are now open for the 2022 season.
Reflecting on the last year’s weekly celebration of local, we touch base with some of the vendors from the past season to glean a glimpse into the SFAM vendor experience:
“This past year was definitely the most fun and best year since we’ve been coming,” said Davis Stevenson, one half of the duo behind Northwest Beach Works — a recycled woodenwares company and veteran vendor at the market.
“We had our best sales, saw the most foot traffic, and noticed that everyone’s so excited to focus on local business shopping,” he said.
“It definitely not the same market I had vended at ten or fifteen years ago,” said long-time Sequim farmer Kia Armstrong.
She joined the market with her own produce operation, Beanstalk Farm, after having vended in the past with other farms.
“From the volume and quality of vendors that were participating to the customer flow that came through the market. I was totally blown away,” Armstrong said.
Artisan newcomer Erica Harris joined the market lineup with her popular brass jewelry as Wheat Stalk Boutique.
“The market felt buzzing to me,” Harris said. “It’s like a little home for me from May through October. I know where I’m going to be. I can tell my customers. They can rely on me being there.”
Sequim’s community market aims to support small business owners in establishing a livelihood by providing a consistently reliable sales venue. Stevenson said Jennifer, is wife and business co-owner, celebrated the final day of her day job due to their success at the market.
“Because of the additional foot traffic and all of the great new vendors and expansion, we’ve been able to make enough money where we don’t both need to work other jobs anymore,” Stevenson said. “We could both theoretically support ourselves from Northwest Beach Works now.”
The 2021 season also saw the highest attendance of farmer vendors to the market on record.
“I was pleasantly surprised at the number of farms that showed up weekly. I think that really drove customers to the market,” Armstrong said. “There were gobs of people there every week.”
“It made me feel really proud for our agricultural community. It’s growing and expanding and becoming more diverse,” continues Armstrong.
While local food was present in full force in the 2021 season, SFAM continued its presence as a thoroughly diverse marketplace.
“Before vending, I had expected that people would come to pick up their fruits and vegetables and only buy a gift if they had a little money left over,” Harris said. “But it’s not like that. People come to shop at the market and they’re totally ready for it all.”
Operating a business at the market allows growers and makers to establish their brand, hone their marketing skills, and get week-to-week feedback on their work in a low-risk environment.
“There’s no greater reinforcement of what you do than immediately being able to take it out in front of people,” Stevenson said. “As a market vendor you get immediate feedback on what people like and that is fantastic in planning what you want to do.”
Vendors are looking forward to another market season and the opportunities it grants the community.
“The market provides locals a place to go every Saturday, something to rely on,” Harris said. “It’s a gathering place.”
Said Stevenson, “Each season we’ve been at the market, it’s gotten better. Every indication that I’ve seen so far shows that 2022 is going be even better yet. I’m just incredibly excited for that continuation.”
Are you interested in applying for the 2022 market season? Is there a small business you’d like to see join your weekly market? Farmers, fishers, ranchers, chefs, bakers, craftspeople, artists, and more are welcome to apply via the online application portal located at sequimmarket.com/2022application.
Applications are open now and due by Feb. 1.
The Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market opens in May 2022 and runs through October, every Saturday, at Sequim City Hall Plaza.