The long-awaited Sammamish Farmers Market debuts from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 21 and runs weekly through Oct. 1. Along with the Summer Nights Concert series and the Fourth on the Plateau, the market will build on Sammamish’s spirit of community by providing a place for neighbors to gather.
The market will also give residents an opportunity to support local businesses. The prepared-food vendors at the market are owned by Sammamish residents. The craft vendors are also primarily from Sammamish or nearby towns. And the fresh produce comes from farms in neighboring areas such as the Snoqualmie and Skagit Valley.
But perhaps even more important than the sense of community it will help foster, the farmers market will give Sammamish residents the opportunity to embrace the practice of “eating locally.”
Why eat locally? Here are a few reasons:
Locally grown produce is fresher, riper, tastes better and is better for you. While produce at the supermarket has been in transit or cold-stored for days or weeks, produce at farmers markets is picked closer to its peak ripeness, often within 24 hours of your purchase. This freshness not only affects the taste of your food, but preserves the nutritional value of the food as well.
Eating local is better for the environment. The average store-bought fresh food item on our dinner table travels 1,500 miles to get there. In addition to the obvious fuel consumption costs and environmental impact, this also creates hidden costs such as wear and tear on our roads and highways. Buying locally produced food eliminates the need for so much fuel-guzzling transportation. Anything that can be done to reduce fuel consumption and get vehicles off the road is better for the environment, the economy and our nation’s overall health.
Eating food that doesn’t travel so far also means more for the local economy. Every dollar spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy. When businesses are not owned locally, money leaves the community at every transaction. Additionally, eating locally encourages the use of local farmland for farming. It gives those with local open space — farms and pastures — an economic reason to stay open and undeveloped. Some of the vendors at the Sammamish market are fifth- and sixth-generation farms. Over the years, it has been difficult for these farmers to stay in business, but the recent resurgence of community farmers markets and the focus on eating locally has begun to help farmers turn things around.
Market organizers have worked hard to establish a direct connection between market-goers and local farm foods, to establish a real connection between the food and the land. They have made a commitment to local foods, focusing on sustainability, limiting environmental impact, and the very important health factors of eating locally produced, farm-fresh foods.
Issaquah’s farmers market is already in full swing and runs from 9 to 2 Saturdays at Pickering Barn, giving area residents another weekly opportunity to shop for fresh food and produce. We hope that even after the novelty has worn off, residents of Sammamish, Issaquah and beyond will continue to make the farmers market part of their weekly shopping routine.