Haymaker Farmers’ Market starts its’ summer season for the 29th year

Haymakers Farmers Market Header

Brynne Mann Reporter

The Haymaker Farmers’ Market is kicking off is 29th year in downtown Kent with its summer season on Franklin Avenue every Saturday. 

The summer season features a wide variety of vendors with fresh produce, vegan food options, soaps, hemp and CBD products and bakery items. Some produce vendors will begin their season later in the summer when products like sweet corn and strawberries are at their peak. 

The season runs from April to November and is every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“There is a wide audience that comes to the market from all the surrounding counties and cities, but we are a local community market that focuses on what the local community needs,” said market manager Andrew Rome.

Kent is a little different than other markets as it has a conscious population that is interested in the sustainable efforts and how the food they are buying was made, Rome said. 

The audience inspired the addition of three vegan food vendors this season: a food truck, a sausage vendor and an ice cream sandwich vendor. 

Rebecca Carman is the owner of Bex, the vegan ice cream sandwich vendor, and she is starting her first season in June. Her excitement about the market extends past building a customer base and selling products. 

“The vendors have a wealth of experience in terms of what to do and what not to do,” she said. “Everyone has a giving spirit and a willingness to help other people, because they have been where I am. And they are where they are because someone helped them at one point.”

Vendors are not the only people involved in the market. Community groups have their own place as well as live music plays while people shop. 

Community groups and the music program were two of the missing elements from last years market because of COVID-19 restrictions. This year, Rome hopes to resume these safely later in the season to help bring back the complete sense of community for everyone. 

The market will continue to follow health and safety measures as directed by the health department, state and governing bodies to keep everyone safe. This is not the only thing the market is doing for the community.    

“At Haymaker Farmers’ Market, we believe that everyone deserves access to the quality of food available at the market,” Rome said. “We know the market is not the cheapest place to shop, so we have a number of ways to help this.”

Food assistance programs like SNAP and WIC can be used to purchase tokens to use at the market to purchase food and produce. The market offers produce perks to match the use of SNAP benefits up to $25 to increase produce consumption. 

The market has increased the number of food assistance programs they accept over the years to help increase accessibility to this producer only market. 

All vendors are the producer of their own products which means the people who are selling the products are the same people who grew or produced it. 

“This is an essential part of who we are and what our mission is,” Rome said. 

The summer season will end in November, but customers can still shop from the vendors at the United Methodist Church of Kent from December to March from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Brynne Mann covers the City of Kent. Contact her at [email protected].