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Local Winter Farmers Markets

Tacoma and Olympia

A customer sorts through a box of apples at the RP Guerrero Farm stand during the 2018 Proctor Winter Farmers’ Market in Tacoma Saturday. JBLM PAO photo

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There’s no need to wait for spring or summer for farmer’s market supplies; a few local winter markets are open throughout the cooler months and offer a plethora of fresh produce and other market items.

Local markets that offer outdoor winter fare include the Proctor Market in Tacoma and the Olympia Farmers Market. Most other local farmers markets open for spring and summer between March and May.

Proctor Market is located at the corner of North 27th and Proctor streets in Tacoma and is open the second Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the winter and Saturdays from March 24 to Dec. 15 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Olympia’s Farmers Market is at 700 N. Capitol Way, in Olympia, and is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. now to March 31 and Thursday through Saturday from April to October.

The Proctor Market stays busy during the winter, which was obvious Saturday as dozens of families and couples pushed strollers or walked their dogs, stopping at booths filled with fresh vegetables, fruit, meats, cheeses and more.

One of the more popular booths at the market offered samples of goat’s milk feta and blue cheeses from Burton Hill Farm in Vashon Island.

“Mmmmm,” said 2-year-old Lillian Bylenga as she sampled the creamy blue cheese substance.

Lillian came to the market with her parents, Mark and Tara Bylenga, and her 2-month-old brother, August. The family recently moved to Tacoma from Bellingham, Wash.

“We have markets in Bellingham, and this is similar.” Tara said. “It’s amazing. “It’s like a taste of home.”

Collin Medeiros, owner of Burton Hill Farm, said he enjoys the 10-minute ferry ride to hawk his wares at the Proctor Market.

“It’s a beautiful ride, and then, I love this market,” he said.

Medeiros said he’s impressed with the way the market is coordinated, with a wide variety of vendors and no more than two of most kinds of merchants. The sense of community at Proctor Market also makes it a special kind of place, he said.

“I’ve worked at Seattle markets and other places, and it’s not the same as here,” Medeiros said.

Music also makes for a festive atmosphere, with a ukulele-wielding singer at one end of the market, half-yodeling and half-singing, as well as a four-piece string and percussion group: the Market Swing, providing tunes in the center of the block.

Several men and women passed by holding brightly colored floral bouquets and potted plants they’d purchased at the market that day.

Justin Averre, manager at the Colvin Ranch, a Tenino, Wash., beef farm, opened a large cooler of packaged meats to show off the farm grown steaks and roasts he’d brought to the market Saturday morning.

“Now that looks good,” one customer said, as Averre held up a sirloin steak.

Across the walkway, another man sold rain barrels, and another had a wide range of mushrooms for sale.

At the Hell or High Water egg farm booth, Kevin Helfrick held a basket of pink, blue and brown eggs produced by the araucana, maran and legbar chickens at his Enumclaw farm.

“The eggs are all non-GMO, corn and soy free,” Helfrick told a customer.

This was Helfrick’s first day at the Proctor Market. He said he plans to return from now on.

“I sell eggs to restaurants around the Seattle area, but this is a great market; I will be back,” he said.

Angie Tronset, a longtime Tacoma resident, walked her cockapoo dog, Locke, along the walkway between the aisles of market vendors.

“We’ll probably buy some produce, mostly veggies,” Tronset said. “We go to the Broadway Market downtown (Tacoma) in the summer, but this is a nice market

in the winter. And, it

provides Locke a good walk.”

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