The local Farmers Market is a weekly ritual for many in the Inland Northwest. From the larger metropolitan areas to the smaller communities, you’re never too far from a weekly market offering a variety of fresh produce and local products for your dinner table. Buying your produce direct from the farmers themselves not only gives you the freshest possible ingredients but helps you support local businesses—which in turn reinvest in your community.
While many regional markets started as just a few vendors offering fresh fruits and vegetables, a stroll through your weekly market today and you’ll often spot food trucks and other meals to-go, butchers, crafts, spices, flowers and live entertainment. The market is not only a weekly stop for fresh food but also a central gathering place for neighbors to come together, kids to play and learn about nutrition, and an all out fun place to spend a cool morning or a wonderful long summer evening.
The newest market in the region is hoping to capture many of the same qualities as its peers but with a few twists of its own. The Spokane Valley Farmers Market is open this summer. You’ll find it centrally located in the parking lot of CenterPlace Event Center right near the Discovery Playground. It will be open from 5 to 8pm each Friday from June 7 through September 13.
“Spokane Valley has been lacking a farmers market, and we are happy to bring one to the table,” said Market Manager Katy Ryder. “The market highlights local farming heritage and local business, as well as creates a vibrant event each week to meet and engage with the community.”
In the works for almost two years, the Spokane Valley Farmers Market is another event brought to life by the JAKT Foundation. The nonprofit is focused on creating events that celebrate the local culinary scene and culture in the Pacific Northwest, especially highlighting Spokane Valley’s vibrant and diverse community and culture. These events include Crave!, a food and drink celebration in Spokane Valley of which Sizzle magazine is primary sponsor, as well as Oktoberfest in the fall.
“We are proud to be a partner in bringing a farmers market to Spokane Valley,” said Mayor Rod Higgins. “It’s a great way to bring together the community, and we are looking forward to its launch.”
Each Friday evening, stop by the market on your way home from work or as a meeting spot to start your night. There will be a variety of musicians playing throughout the season, and you’ll also find a beer garden with a featured local brewery announced each week.
Food trucks will be present for easy grab-and-go options, and once each month is Food Truck Night, which will highlight the growing mobile food truck scene taking over the greater Spokane area.
“We will also be doing some cooking and nutritional classes throughout the season so you can learn how to prepare your farm to table meal from the fresh produce at our market,” said Ryder.
As you stroll through the market you’ll encounter roughly 40 different vendors each week. A sampling of participants includes: Thompson Creek Farm, Woodard Family Farms, Tall Grass Farms, Peak of Abundance Farm, Dietz Farms & Big Barn Brewing, Twilight Cider Works, Bean & Pie, Scone Ranger, Mama Torrez Salsa, and Nuts on the Run. Staples like fresh fruits and vegetables will be readily available as will a greater variety of other foods and services as well. These include crafters and community groups, bakers and meat processors, natural and holistic medicine, and brewers.
Many of your favorite local restaurant owners and head chefs get their foods from some of the same farmers and vendors you’ll find across our region. Eat Good Group’s Adam Hegsted sources much of his fresh ingredients from farmers market participants, as does Trinity at City Beach owner Justin Dick, who, like many others, uses local Sandpoint companies like Evans Brothers coffee, Pend d’Oreille Winery wine and Laughing Dog beer to complement the restaurant menu.
The Spokane Valley Farmers Market is also partnering with local nonprofits that help feed low-income families. EBT cards will be accepted throughout the market, and it is also participating in a SNAP program called ‘Fresh Bucks.’
“Every $5 you spend on your SNAP/EBT card, you will receive $2 in ‘Fresh Bucks’—which gets you 40 percent more fresh fruit and produce at our market,” explained Ryder.
If your kids are picky eaters and always seem to leave their vegetables for last (if at all), there’s another program aimed at getting them excited about fresh foods.
The KERNEL program (Kids Eating Right Nutrition and Exercise for Life) is a youth-oriented nutrition and physical activity program designed to engage children in learning about lifelong healthy eating habits, gardening and exercise. There will be a KERNEL booth each week at the market, and kids are encouraged to join a fun and educational activity. Once the activity is completed, the kids will be given a $2 voucher for fresh fruit and vegetables.
In 2020 the market will qualify to join the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Farmers Market program and be able to accept WIC checks.
Residents of the Spokane Valley have been waiting a long time for a market to call their own, and organizers are excited to bring an exciting and full-scale weekly market to the community.
“We are honored to host the Spokane Valley Farmers Market and are thrilled for a great season of getting to know our local farmers, vendors and community!” said Ryder.
Don’t miss these other great weekly markets!
Sandpoint Farmers Market
May – October
Saturdays 9am - 1pm
Wednesdays 3 - 5:30pm
Kootenai Farmers Markets
May - October
Downtown Coeur d’Alene at Sherman and Fifth Avenue
Wednesdays 4 - 6:30pm
Hayden Market at Highway 95 and Prairie Avenue
Saturdays 9am - 1:30pm
The Night Market at Kendall Yards
Spokane at Summit Parkway
May - September
Wednesdays 5 - 9pm
Spokane Farmers Market
Fifth Avenue between Division and Browne streets
Saturdays May - October
Wednesdays June - October
8am - 1pm
Recipes & Photos Courtesy of Marina Gunn
Muddled Blackberry, Mint + Honey Spritz
½ cup blackberries
3 to 4 sprigs of mint
2 tbsp. honey
½ lemon, thinly sliced
1 bottle of sparkling water
• Muddle 3 to 4 blackberries, 1 mint leaf, and 1 tbsp. of honey at the bottom of each glass. You can use a long spoon or a muddler if you have one.
• Add ice cubes and fill the rest of the glass with sparkling water.
• Add sliced lemon and top with mint.
Spring Pea, Radish + Feta Salad
Serves 3 to 4
4 cups of leafy greens of your choice (red leaf lettuce, spinach, romaine)
½ lb. fresh spring peas (or 1 can of sweet peas)
5 to 6 radishes, thinly sliced
3 green onions, thinly sliced
4 oz. feta, crumbled
Handful of sprouts (broccoli, radish or mung bean sprouts)
¼ lemon, juiced
¼ cup olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper
• If using fresh peas, taste them first. If they are tender, keep them raw for the salad. If they are a bit tough, blanch them in a small pot of boiling salted water until just tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Drain and spread them on a baking sheet in a single layer to cool. If using frozen peas, thaw them by leaving them at room temperature or by running them under warm water. Canned peas can also be used.
• Starting with the salad greens, layer and add peas, sliced radishes, green onions, crumbled feta, and sprouts.
• Drizzle the lemon juice and olive oil to top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
• Serve and enjoy!