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Lunch at the market

Langley resident Tim Goeken -- who owns a gourmet private chef business -- sears crab cakes at the Bayview Farmer
Langley resident Tim Goeken -- who owns a gourmet private chef business -- sears crab cakes at the Bayview Farmer's Market in May.
— image credit: Jennifer Conway

Opening and running a restaurant is time consuming, and can often be a risky business venture on Whidbey Island.

For many local chefs, a smaller commitment and investment option is setting up restaurant where the customers are. On Saturdays, that would be at the the Bayview Farmer's Market.

Anyone stepping out of the car at the market is greeted by the the smells of barbecue, garlic and spices. Meat lovers and vegetarians have a variety of choices, depending on what they're craving.

New customers to the market should be aware that the there's more to the farmer's market than fresh vegetables. After a shopping for fresh produce, flowers, baked goods and homemade goodies, dining at the market is an attractive option.

Sushi, seafood, potatoes or Filipino? You've come to the right place.

For Tim Goeken, the owner of a gourmet private chef business, Island Chef, the commitment to cooking at the once-a-week market is less than if he spent seven days a week at his own restaurant.

Goeken said he worked at Ray's Boathouse in Seattle for eight and a half years, and was ready for a slower pace. He said that when he and his partner, Deb Caswell, were looking for a house on South Whidbey in 2002, they fell in love with the atmosphere at the Bayview Farmer's Market.

On a recent Saturday Goeken and Caswell prepared a menu of seared crab cakes, a cajun shrimp saute and clam chowder. Goeken said that while he might not be at every single market due to private catering commitments, he will be there every free Saturday he has.

"It's a good affirmation of why we moved to Langley," he said of the warm and generous residents.

While many of the chefs at the market maintain the same menu week to week, Goeken said the only thing he guarantees will be there is his clam chowder. He said he will vary the menu slightly to accommodate the changing availability of seafood.

Lunch on the run

Rosie Hilton operates Rosie's Tucker Wagon, and has been a mainstay at the Bayview market since it began several years ago. For Hilton, the chance to make her famous potatoes is a change from her regular job as a licensed massage practitioner.

Another option is the BBQ Express, where "master BBQ griller" Paul Howard and his wife, Chef Patti Howard, barbeque ribs and chicken. The Howards' operate the BBQ Express as a part of their catering service The Casual Gourmet.

Cooking up a storm in her Happy Toes booth, Julie Knox prepares a variety of curry and other Filipino foods. Along with the food, she also sells homemade fleece products.

Just across from Knox on a recent weekend was Tori Bage, who had prepared a variety of sushi, some with meat and some without. She said she loves working at the market because she gets to see and greet new people.

"You get great energy," said Knox.

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