“As busy as it gets.”
That’s what an online map had to say about the happenings at Auburn’s Les Gove Park at a few minutes past 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 11
That map was spot on. In the second week of its 15th season, The Auburn International Farmers Market was a happening place, and Amanda Valdez, Special Events Director and Coordinator for the Farmers Market, was digging it all.
“Last week we had a really good opening day, and today we’ve seen probably seen 5,000 to 5,500. So it’s been awesome,” Valdez said.
Things were certainly hopping under the Forest Fairy Bakery sign, where Linnette Spratley and her father were doing a brisk business in the cheesy bread, sourdough and other goodies baked at the family-run business Spratley’s mother, Linda Hays, opened in Issaquah 10 years ago.
“Opening day was a little bit sunnier, and I think that brings people out, but there’s been a steady flow of people,” Sprately said of the market. “Sweet potato bread is our big one.”
Business was good at the MENA stand, too, where customers in the know asked Clayton Hipner about the sampling of Mediterranean cuisine, which included varieties of hummus. Got any of the spicy baba ganoush, one woman asked? Alas, nope.
“I’m afraid we haven’t been able to source them peppers,” Hipner responded. “Not a good growing season, and prices are up.”
Seasoned followers of the farmers market could not help but notice how much space it takes up today, in its second year since the pandemic shut ‘er down.
“The market grows every year,” said Valdez. “This year we have lots more prepared food/lunch options. We’ve expanded farther into the park. We’ve got more yard games and a couple of photo opportunities around the park. And today we’re celebrating Pride, which is a fun, special event.”
“People really love the new food options,” Valdez continued, “so I’m happy to promote that. We’ve got our flower vendors that have been with us for years. Our farmers are starting to get more produce, so we have fuller tables this week, and that will continue to happen as the season progresses.”
Valdez said crafters will take turns at the market throughout the season, and there’ll be live entertainment every weekend, plus plenty of giveways.
So, what did the customers think?
Well, the overcast skies may not have been ideal, but that didn’t stop anyone from showing up. A man heard in passing summed up the general mood in these words: “Weather, schmeather, this is Washington.”
At Pike Place Nuts, a man pondered a difficult selection.
“Between the nuts and the roasted cashews, we’d like a little bit of this, a little bit of that,” said the man, who did not give his name.
“Good bakery items, cakes, cookies, and some floral items,” said Angel Jiminez, enumerating his purchases, alongside his smiling “soon-to-be” fiancee, Maria.
“I came last weekend, I’m here this weekend, and I guess I like the selection of stuff that’s available,” said Dani Cabrera, companioned by a small, mixed-breed puppy named Betty, tail and body all-a-wag.
This Sunday, the market opens in conjunction with the Juneteenth celebration that will be in full swing on the opposite side of Les Gove Park from the market.