FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Chewelah Farmers Market Selected Best in the State for the Second Year in a Row!
February 13, 2012; Chewelah, WA For the second year in a row, the Washington State Farmers Market Association has selected the Chewelah Farmers Market as the Best Small Market in the State. The award was presented to Chewelah Farmers Market President Nils Johnson during the Washington State Farmers Market Association Annual Conference, held February 3-5, 2012, in Leavenworth, WA. All of the nominees were judged by a committee representing WSFMA partners and stakeholders across Washington State. Other award winners include Best Large Farmers Market: Ballard; Best Medium Market: Port Angeles; Manager of the Year: Jennifer Wiecking – Wenatchee Valley; Farmer of the Year: Jason Silvo & Siri Erickson-Brown; Advocate of the Year: Chris Curtis; Lifetime Achievement Award: Terry & Dick Carkner.
The non-profit, all-volunteer run Chewelah Farmers Market is beginning its 5th season this year, and it looks like it will be another great one. In 2011 the market moved to its present location at the beautiful Chewelah City Park. Situated along Hwy. 395, the increased visibility directly resulted in increased sales for the up to 30 vendors that set up every Friday from mid-May through mid-October. In 2010, market vendors grossed a little over $50,000 and just one year later that gross jumped up to over $96,000. That is significant to the local economy of rural Chewelah, with a population of close to 2400.
The Board of Directors for the Chewelah Farmers Market anticipate an increased demand for vendor space this year, but have no plans to increase the size of market. They would like to preserve the atmosphere of a mini-festival every week, with entertainment, music, food and popular special events, such as the World-Class Cherry Splat and the Zucchini Regatta. The market has become a social destination for many on Friday, stocking up on fresh, local food and relaxing in the park.
The mission of the Chewelah Farmers Market is to make available high-quality, locally produced food, and to promote self-sufficiency in the community food systems by providing a venue for local farmers, growers and producers to connect directly with consumers, and to support educational opportunities for a sustainable community.
Wow! For the second year in a row the Washington State Farmers Market Association has selected the Chewelah Farmers Market as the Best Small Farmers Market! CFM President Nils Johnson accepted the award at the 2012 WSFMA Annual Conference held February 3rd-5th in Leavenworth, WA. Chewelah Farmers Market Board members Mary Ann Gehman and Shelly Stevens and CFM vendor Meadow Plunkett were also in attendance.
The criteria used in determining this year’s exemplary markets in the small, medium and large catagories was as follows:
1. Market is an integral part of its community and brings together farmers and consumers in innovative ways,
facilitating strong sales for farmers/vendors through creative special events and educational programming that
celebrate & promote fresh, locally grown food.
2. Market is a venue that promotes, supports and advocates for small farms, local, sustainable agriculture and
programs that link consumers of all economic levels in their community with fresh, local food.
Small Market: 5 – 30 vendors per week
Medium Market: 31 – 55 vendors per week
Large Market: 56+ vendors per week
4. Selection process: All nominees will be judged by a committee representing WSFMA partners and stakeholders across Washington State.
Well, we are pretty tickled to be honored again. We couldn’t do it without our fabulous vendors and loyal customers. Here’s to another great year!
We knew that we were in the Top Twenty in the country in the America’s Favorite Farmers Market contest held last summer, but we didn’t expect this nice certificate. This can go along with our proclamation from Gov. Gregoire presented to the market during National Farmers Market Week, held last August. We also received a stack of bumper stickers from the American Farmland Trust.
The Chewelah Farmers Market was recently voted as one of 20 leading farmers markets across the nation vying for the title of America’s Favorite Farmers Market in the small market category. In this year’s contest more than 90,000 farmers market shoppers voted for more than 1,700 participating farmers markets in American Farmland Trust’s third annual contest.
The Chewelah Farmers Market received 210 votes from supportive shoppers. Here is what one voter for the Chewelah Farmers Market had to say about why it should be named one of America’s Favorite Farmers Markets:
“The Chewelah Farmers Market is friendly and relaxed. It’s full of a variety of good things that you just can’t find in the homogenized chain grocer. The people that run the market truly love the land and the way of life that keeps us close to the dirt. They work hard and understand that the reward is not just gauged by the dollars. The sense of community that comes from that weekly gathering is priceless. The Chewelah Farmers Market works some kind of magic that makes you feel like you belong to something important by just being at home”.
According to the recent release of the updated U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s farmers market directory, the number of farmers markets across the nation increased by 17 percent between 2010 and 2011. Support for farmers markets helps to provide income opportunities for farmers. The rising interest for local food from nearby farms highlights the value of protecting farmland to meet demand.
The America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest is a part of American Farmland Trust’s No Farms No Food® campaign, which raises awareness of the dangers of farmland loss by making connections to food. Farms near metropolitan areas produce 91 percent of the nation’s market value of fruit, 78 percent of vegetables, and 67 percent of dairy products.
The votes are in and the results tallied in the America’s Favorite Farmers Market contest, sponsored by the American Farmland Trust. The Chewelah Farmers Market garnered the most votes in the small farmers market category in the state of Washington, and was in the top twenty nationwide! The online competition had over 1700 farmers markets entered. Thank you to all who voted and made the Chewelah Farmers Market your favorite!
The Chewelah Farmers Market was selected as the Best Small Farmers Market in Washington by the board of the Washington State Farmers Market Association at the 2011 WSFMA Annual Conference held January 28-29 in Leavenworth, WA. The trophy was presented to Chewelah Farmers Market President Nils Johnson by Dan Newhouse, Director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture. “This is very exciting for our market!” said Johnson when accepting the award. Also representing the Chewelah Farmers Market at the conference were Shelly Stevens, Market Promotion; Mary Ann Gehman, Farmers Market Café; and Meadow Plunkett; local grower/vendor. To be nominated for this honor, the farmers market had to be in good standing with the WSFMA, exemplify a high level of connecting farmers to consumers, demonstrate exceptional diligence in representing the best interest of the community and promote and support the WSFMA organization.
The Chewelah Farmers Market is starting its 4th year of service to the community of Chewelah and surrounding areas. The market has grown steadily, providing a way for local growers and producers to connect directly with the consumer and make available locally produced, fresh food.
The Washington State Farmers Market Association supports and promotes vibrant and sustainable farmers markets in Washington State. Their vision is to have a thriving and sustainable farmers market within reach of every resident in Washington State. Washingtonians understand the importance of farmers markets in developing healthy communities and a sustainable local food system. WSFMA is a national leader in the movement to increase access to local foods through farmers markets. There are over 125 member markets of the WSFMA.