Farmers markets greeted by sun and happy people

"South Whidbey's two farmers markets enjoyed sunny skies and sizeable crowds when they opened on Saturday for a long summer run The new Bayview Farmers Market at the traditional Bayview Corner location sported a new structure, plentiful parking, and huge letters spelling out Farmers Market facing traffic on Highway 525.Just up the highway, the traditional South Whidbey Tilth Farmers Market advertised its new location off Thompson Road with a scarecrow and kites.The Tilth market drew all the local politicians for its 10 a.m. opener thanks to early invitations sent out by Jerry Dunham. An estimated 200 people listened to comments from Tilth president Susan Prescott, state Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, Reps. Kelly Barlean and Dave Anderson, and County Commissioner Mike Shelton.The smiling crowd momentarily looked concerned when Anderson pulled out notes as he stood at the microphone, but his speech too was short and sweet. All the politicians welcomed the public and boldly supported agriculture.Cutting the ribbon to open the market was Rose Dobson, who helped pioneer the first Farmers Market with her late husband Jerry nearly 30 years ago. She still grows organic produce, and was commended by Prescott, Anderson and others for the example she has set.Rose and Jerry were real visionaries in how we live, said Anderson. And she still has sustainable gardens in their front yard. He described modern agriculture as a risky experiment, and lauded Tilth for keeping traditional methods alive.Shelton reminisced about his parents who grew wheat in Eastern Washington but were always most proud of their garden, and he thanked Tilth for its efforts to keep us connected to our agrarian roots.With the ribbon cut, the crowd swarmed into the market to buy flowers, produce and edibles.Back at the Bayview Farmers Market, manager Debbie Torget said she was pleased with the weather and the crowd, which lined up to purchase items from 50 vendors located in booths, under umbrellas, and in the new structure.Real good, said Vernon Gabelein, describing business as he was handing out cinnamon rolls and pies his wife had made to eager customers waving their money in the air.Even Tilth had an information booth at the Bayview Farmers Market, where Molly Petersons was distributing literature. She described the booth as a bridge between the two markets. Her daughter Anna was selling produce at the Tilth market, but the two planned to switch places later in the day.Brenda Bosman, a Langley resident for seven years, was purchasing flowers and enjoying the Bayview market with her twin daughters, Courtney and Cassandra. It's our first time ever, Bosman said, adding that their Saturday mornings are usually consumed by soccer practice. But she enjoyed the market experience. It's wonderful. We'll definitely come back, she said.The Bayview market is more comfortable this year, with more tables and chairs where people can relax. Dominique Emerson of Langley and Ellen Nelson of Lone Lake sat back in two of the folksy Adirondack-style chairs, ate rolls and watched the action.It's great, said Nelson. Good food, and a place to people watch.That summarizes the attractions at both of South Whidbey's farmers markets, which will open at 10 a.m. every Saturday throughout the summer."

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