Growing Clinton | Seasonal Thursday market to include new space, new vendors

Emily Wandress, Victor Ramos and Laura Hudson with their mascot and dog, Marv, will be at the Clinton Thursday Market every week serving food out of the Lunch Box trailer.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Emily Wandress, Victor Ramos and Laura Hudson with their mascot and dog, Marv, will be at the Clinton Thursday Market every week serving food out of the Lunch Box trailer.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

Big changes are coming to the Clinton Thursday Market when it opens for the third year next week.

The market, perhaps best known for its flower selection, will move closer to the ferry at the Clinton Community Hall. Market organizers hope the location switch will increase visibility and accessibility for travelers and commuters.

“People can walk from the ferry,” said Carol Flax, the market coordinator. “Maybe people from the other side will walk on. It’s so convenient.”

With about a week before opening, Flax said 15 vendors are signed up for the entire season from July 3 to Aug. 28, and an estimated 10 more are likely to appear periodically. Wares, goods, farm-fresh produce, flowers and food will be in abundance at the little market, with vendors taking space inside the hall, in the parking lot and on the lawn.

One vendor drawing lots of interest from organizers is the Lunch Box, a rolling food trailer that has been on Whidbey Island for years. Janae Cameron and husband Kelly Cameron, wood turners by trade and owners of Turnco Wood Goods, bought the trailer and are trying a program to lease it to chefs. After seeing the Clinton Local Eats Opportunity a few months ago and its success at drawing people to the ferry area for food, the Camerons decided the time was right for them to join.

“The Lunch Box is a really exciting thing,” said Janae Cameron. “It’s an exciting prospect for Clinton and for giving these young people a chance at something they wanted to try without a huge risk.”

She later added: “This is where we live, and Clinton is a lower-key community. It just feels like it fits.”

For the market, a few aspiring Whidbey Island cooks are taking the first swing at the idea by offering what they described as “fancy Americana” cuisine during the Clinton Thursday Market.

Laura Hudson, Victor Ramos and Emily Wandress will serve Lunch Box dishes evocative of something mom and dad made. Walk up to the Lunch Box for a serving of rosemary cornbread, braised vegetables, mint strawberry lemonade and macaroni and cheese with optional pulled pork and peas. The goal for their first take at running a rolling restaurant is to get as much of their ingredients as possible from Whidbey Island, going so far as to use lettuce, carrots, rhubarb and chard from their own garden off Heggenes Road. Most of their produce is from farms in Clinton and Freeland. And that’s a model they want to continue with their food truck: knowing from whom the food comes. Ben Watanabe / The Record | Kelly Baugh, owner and operator of Sundance Bakery in Langley, will take her breads made with Whidbey Island grains to the Clinton Thursday Market this year. The seasonal venue opens July 3.

“It’s always nice to see the faces behind the products you’re getting,” said Ramos, a cook by trade.

Another new face at the market is Kelly Baugh, owner of Sundance Bakery — formerly Living Green — in Langley. The week before being signed up to sell in Clinton, she was busy curing her recently-built woodfire brick oven and remodeling the Second Street space. Her reason for going to the Clinton market was its visibility from the highway, as opposed to other areas on South Whidbey that are tucked away.

“When people are getting off the ferry, they [will] have a thriving farmers market right there, and it is a good reason for people to stop at other towns,” Baugh said. “Otherwise they’ll drive right on through to the San Juan Islands.”

Several fixtures of the Clinton market will remain this year, including the beer and wine garden, Skagit Valley flowers and weekly music.

Parking, which was ample at the previous location, will be available along Central Avenue and across the street at the shopping center where Jim’s Hardware used to be located, near the Clinton Food Mart.

“When we talked about it, all the vendors were really excited about moving to the hall,” Flax said.


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