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Bellevue Farmers Market: How Your Holiday Shopping Can Make a Difference this Season

December 14, 2020 - by Brooke Wilson

Bellevue Farmers Market: How Your Holiday Shopping Can Make a Difference this Season

Where can seasonal fruits and veggies, freshly-cut flowers, handcrafted meats, one-of-a-kind artisanal wares and tasty cuisine be found in one central hub? At the Bellevue Farmers Market, of course! 

Circulate your dollar with local support in mind at the next Third Saturday Market on December 19th between 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. on your search for delightful gifts that stir up excitement and support vital economic activity throughout the region. 

Between ethically-sourced inventory and a unique variety from participating vendors, Bellevue Farmers Market’s Liz Paruchuru appreciates how BFM unifies grassroots efforts and eclectic flavor profiles found around the region.

In her opinion, Liz attributes the hyperlocal specificity at the market to its success over the years, describing its selection as a microcosm of the area, in that “the Pacific Northwest should be represented by its own, unique palette." 

With a wealth of culturally vibrant food on display, Liz said BFM has increased its local engagement and patronage in large part by offering native exports that have been cultivated here for centuries and are survived by indigenous staples carried across generations.

Your purchases and charitable donations not only support regional farmers and producers, but also invest in fostering a more sustainable environment, said Liz, who emphasized the important role farmers markets play in reducing our carbon footprint, promoting biodiversity and connecting people with information about integral food systems.

From combatting the wildfires that devastated crops in early autumn compounded with the virus, agricultural workers face serious financial challenges. Salvaged product still has to be accounted for, and vendors typically rely on distribution channels like marketplaces to generate revenue. According to Liz, several vendors were forced to close as profit margins became too difficult to manage.

Countless smaller scale businesses and nonprofit operations like BFM have been reminded that the power behind word of mouth advertising should never be underestimated. 

As the Third Saturday Market gears up for its final exhibition, Liz said has seen improved attendance and increased sales throughout the series compared to its debut run last year. And though statewide public health mandates rocked the market with closures and restrictions, Liz said her team has stepped up to innovate at each juncture: first establishing a drive-thru system at the beginning of its regular season, followed by introducing curbside, contactless pick-up to minimize foot traffic and potential exposure.

Amid the rising number of sacrifices and postponements, Liz said the dedication and perseverance demonstrated by everyone involved at BFM have been steadfast. Across the board, Liz said each contribution, from a single transaction to broadly adapted protocol, has helped preserve the longevity and rapport BFM has achieved. Among those who deserve a round of applause are the volunteers on the ground, Liz said, naming those who have consistently shown up to provide a necessary and noble service. Regular customers have also doubled down to keep business afloat by loading up their arms, shopping in bulk and reliably spreading the word.

"You can't stop the community,” Liz said. 

Eventually, Liz said she strives to garner enough public recognition and resources to launch a year-round venture in a few years.

For the indecisive or apprehensive folks out there who would rather not tackle a fully-fledged holiday shopping spree, check out BFM’s joyful holiday gift baskets! Choose from two varieties: one features a gourmet assortment of goodies and another has signature items for foodies with a serious appetite. Order yours ahead online by Dec. 15, available for pick-up at the Third Saturday Market next weekend. Liz also recommends grabbing some pickled blueberries from Bow Hill and pairing dill-flavored St. Jude Albacore Tuna with a baguette from the Tall Grass bakery to compliment your holiday spread. For more feast inspiration, gather appetizers and ingredients to prepare a whole smorgasbord for your quarantine crew to enjoy! 

Still undecided? Here are a few reasons that totally seal the deal:

  • A gift you can be proud to purchase: champion regional businesses by choosing eco-conscious merchandise, in terms of production and transportation from harvest to table.
  • Help sustain your favorite vendors by introducing friends and family to some popular products and Bellevue Farmers Market initiatives.
  • Create a new tradition! For example, purchase a basket for yourself and a few friends, and host a virtual gathering to unwrap a delightful (and delicious) holiday treat!
  • Not traveling for the holidays? Send a basket to your loved ones who would enjoy an authentic taste of the Pacific Northwest at your fingertips.
  • Convenient, easy to order for colleagues, neighbors, teachers, clients, and others!

Rain or shine, come out and express a little gratitude for your friendly neighborhood artisans and merchants!

Who’s There?

  • Skylight farms - seasonal vegetables
  • Sidhu Farm - jam, honey, some vegetables.
  • Bow Hill Blueberry- organic blueberry products
  • Finnriver Farm & Cidery - fruit wines and hard ciders
  • Got Soup - soup made with local ingredients
  • Martin Family Orchards - apples & pears
  • Nino Blanco Salsas - chips & salsa
  • WindyNRanch - organic rancher
  • Pete’s Perfect Toffee
  • The Mediterranean - hummus and pita chips
  • Tall Grass Bakery - rustic breads, cinnamon buns, granola 
  • Bothell Baking Company - cupcakes, macaroons, pies
  • SnoValley Gardens - seasonal vegetables 
  • Salt Blade - cured meat sticks
  • Haxan Ferments - hot sauce & Vinegar 
  • La Pasta - handcrafted pasta and sauce
  • Drum Roll Wine - WA wine
  • Cascade Natural Honey - raw organic honey
  • Mount Si Fungi - mushrooms
  • 11 Olives - olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette 
  • Thai Yang - seasonal flowers and vegetables 

And a warm welcome to newcomers:

  • Jocelyn’s Coffee Roasting - locally roasted coffee
  • Vashon Garlic - organic garlic breads
  • Grant Creek Farms - leafy greens

Check out all the vendors and get ready for the upcoming market on the 19th! See you there.

The Season of Cheer presented by Symetra is part of the Heart of Bellevue: our campaign to showcase local businesses while connecting you with stories of activity, creativity and recovery. Find out about our campaign and explore more of what’s happening around Downtown.