The Sandpoint Farmers’ Market returns to Farmin Park By Abigail Thorpe | Photo courtesy Farmer's Market at Sandpoint
April 30 marks the return of our beloved farmers market to downtown and all of the fresh produce, handmade crafts and delicious food we’ve been missing all winter long. It’s time to dig out your produce bags and spring and summer recipes, because beginning the end of this month, the community will head downtown to enjoy the fresh spring harvest from all of our favorite local farmers.
Along with a host of fresh goods to satisfy your spring cravings, the market is an incredible opportunity to explore local artists and craft vendors while connecting with friends and family in charming Farmin Park in downtown Sandpoint.
Starting Saturday, April 30 until Saturday, October 15, the market will be held on Saturdays from 9am to 1pm and Wednesdays from 3 to 5:30pm, rain or shine. This season, many favorite local vendors will be returning, along with some exciting new vendors, including farmers, homesteaders and food and craft vendors.
“I am super excited to see what the vendors have been up to over the winter, get fresh produce and meet all the new vendors,” says Kelli Burt, market manager. Burt herself started as a vegetable farmer at the market, and after a few years off, looked to get involved again with the market—this time in a different capacity. This year will mark her fifth season as market manager, and the market’s 35th season in Sandpoint!
The Farmers’ Market at Sandpoint is special, bringing together a committed community who values the unique gifts, talents and farm-fresh offerings of our talented vendors, in a special downtown location that is open for all to enjoy. “A few things that make our market so unique is that vendors must be located within 100 miles of Sandpoint (excluding Canada) to participate. Each booth must be run by the business owner, so when you are buying carrots from a vendor, you can be sure that those hands have been involved in every part of the growing process,” explains Burt.
Some of the vendors who still arrive each Saturday and Wednesday have been around since the beginning of the market, and the feeling of camaraderie and community is a core part of what distinguishes this market and its vendors. “Sometimes market days can feel more like a reunion than a workday with all the storytelling and lore,” smiles Burt.
Vendors range from farmers like Cloud Eleven Mountain Farm, Homewood Farm and Allicins Ranch to craft vendors offering everything from bike baskets, artwork and jewelry to bath and body products, and there are some delicious food vendors to whet your appetite while you wander the market. Grab a wood-fired pizza from Mandala Pizza, stock up on some gourmet jam and jellies from Sweet Heat, or even head across the street to the local food truck court for other delicious options.
Live music will return to the market again every Saturday and on Wednesdays June through August. You’ll find a variety of talented musicians each week performing from the bandstand within Farmin Park. Performers are all local musicians, which further helps to celebrate and support our local community, while providing an opportunity for new and known talent to showcase their work. The market is always looking for new musicians to perform at the market—either solo or in a group—and interested musicians can easily apply by filling out a simple form on the market’s website, SandpointFarmersMarket.com.
Besides music, the market offers several exciting events throughout its season that you won’t want to miss. Opening Day at the market on Saturday, April 30, will be an exciting time to catch up with favorite vendors, explore new ones and celebrate the return of the growing season with family and friends as the community enjoys spring and the start of a warmer season.
Kids Day this year will be on Saturday, August 21, when local youth can apply to have a booth for the day—free of charge. It’s an event the market and community always look forward to, and a wonderful opportunity for kids to learn new skills, showcase their goods and have fun together!
This year Closing Day at the market will coincide with the Harvest Fest on Saturday, October 15. In addition to the last market day to visit your favorite vendors, there will be fun and games for kids of all ages, a raffle for a market gift basket, and the market will collect food for the Bonner County food bank to help support those in need in the community. Mark your calendars for all of the exciting events to come, and even if you can’t make it each week to market, make a point to stop by one of the events and experience the wonderful small-town charm of a Sandpoint Farmers’ Market.
The market prioritizes making fresh, healthy food available to all members of the community, and a few years ago became involved with the SNAP program. “I am most excited to continue our involvement in the SNAP that allows low-income households to access local food,” says Burt. The SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits provide food assistance to people in need, and recipients can use their funds at the market.
A few years ago, the market even started the Double Up Food Bucks program for SNAP/EBT customers to expand their buying power. Customers who have a SNAP/EBT card can withdraw funds and will receive up to a $10 match of extra funds to spend at the market. If you’re a SNAP/EBT customer, simply visit the manager’s booth at the market to redeem your funds.
The Farmers’ Market at Sandpoint is a beautiful and central part of our local community offerings, but it takes lots of work and many hands to make it possible. If you’re interested in getting involved, there are many ways you can do so. The market is still accepting vendor applications, so if you’re interested in selling your produce, goods or food products, head to SandpointFarmersMarket.com to learn more, complete the application and pay the application fee.
The market is always looking for community sponsors for the beloved music series. “We love supporting our local musicians and offering free music at the market, but it comes with a cost, and we are happy to accept sponsors!” adds Burt. The market also relies on donations to help fund its wonderful Double Up Food Bucks program. “This program creates food security in our community and helps keep SNAP funds local,” she explains.
Beyond volunteering your time, donating funds or supporting the local market music series, you can support the market simply by coming to market days and buying your goods local from vendors who have been part of the growing or production process from start to finish. From farm to your table, you’ll eat better, enjoy incredible community, and have an opportunity to support the small farmers and businesses that make our community so vibrant. So, mark your calendars, and get ready for the return of market season! For more information on the market, upcoming events or to get involved, visit SandpointFarmersMarket.com.