Rain or shine, the 18th annual rendition of the Liberty Lake Farmers Market will roll out this Saturday, complete with new features and a lineup of over 50 vendors.
Longtime market manager, Holli Parker, says the opening of the open-air venue at Town Square Park – 1421 N. Meadowwood Lane – signals the beginning of the warm-weather season for many.
“One of my co-workers said to me the other day, ‘Oh, the market’s starting, that must mean that summer’s here,’” Parker said. “For a lot of people, it’s the sign that the weather’s going to get better.”
The market’s 2019 debut on Saturday, May 18, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., will include new arrivals selling pies, burgers, pastries, and frozen drinks. Staples like Crepe Café Sisters, Veraci Pizza, and Desserts by Sara will also be part of a vendor array that will number 54 on opening day. Parker said the overall vendor count for the season – which runs through Oct. 12 – stands at 70. The folk stylings of local musician Brad Keeler will also be part of the atmosphere on Saturday.
Market regulars will miss the site of Lenny Munguia’s Jalapeno Heaven truck this year. One of the market’s inaugural vendors from 2002, Munguia has decided to shelf the salsa and burritos for now, although he still serves on the market’s board of directors.
Parker said that while fresh, local produce may not be as abundant early in the season, marketgoers will find plenty of plant and flower starts. There is also a vendor selling “micro-greens,” tasty roughage perfect for healthy salads.
Based on standards established by the Washington State Farmers Market Association, markets throughout the Evergreen state must account for at least half of their sales coming through local farmers. Parker said she and other board members are “observant and thoughtful about who we’re bringing in.”
“We want a good variety,” she said. “We’re not just going to bring in 50 Rice Crispy Treat people.”
Parker can remember the market’s debut on a drizzly Saturday 18 years ago when eight vendors huddled beneath plastic tarps while a paltry crowd wandered by.
“From where we started to where we are now, it’s amazing,” she said. “I’m so proud of this community and these people. I love our vendors and I love our board. We all work so well together.”
Holli’s uncle, Jim Frank and her mother, Susan Parker, first came up with the idea for the Liberty Lake Farmers Market as a way to support local farmers and create a friendly community gathering place. Almost two decades later, those goals and more appear to have been accomplished.
“It’s fun to see it get better every year,” said Frank who is a regular at the market each Saturday. “It is a Liberty Lake institution and really contributes to a strong sense of community.”
Holli said it’s gratifying to see vendors like Veraci’s start from market roots and establish successful brick-and-mortar sites like their restaurant in Kendall Yards. Another recent vendor, Glorious Bakery, found a landing spot over the winter, selling bread and other products at My Fresh Basket.
Market highlights this year include the Italian Festival (July 13), Pie Festival (Aug. 10) and Art at the Market, pared down to one day this September with a date to be announced.
Besides serving as manager in all but two years of the market’s existence, Parker says she relishes the opportunity to shop for groceries, reconnect with old friends and soak up the market’s positive energy.
“I just love going to the market,” she said. “Even though it’s a Saturday, I know I’m not going to sleep in.”
To learn more about the Liberty Lake Farmers Market, visit: