Fans of locally grown fruits and vegetables were saddened at the news of the closure of the Mountlake Terrace Farmers Market. The Mountlake Terrace Business Association (MLTBA) announced in late October that the farmers market would not return in spring of 2013.
Mountlake Terrace healthy-envy locals have consistently found garden-fresh produce and local groceries ripe from the stem at the MLT Farmers Market.
MLTBA and the city of Mountlake Terrace joined forces to put on the show, and since its opening in 2009, the market has featured vendors from throughout Mountlake Terrace and other local farmers in the region. Consequently, the closure of the Farmers Market limits the availability and variety of exclusive foods.
MLTBA President Ayesha Sheik suggested that they simply did not have enough customers to support the cost of running the market.
When asked about the closure of the market, Sheik said, “We decided to discontinue it. There were a number of reasons. It was slowing down [as well as] a lot of [other] reasons for it to not be held next year.”
When biology teacher Adam Welman learned that the market wouldn’t be back for another year, he shouted, “That’s terrible!” Welman said, “I value local produce and I do my best to buy stuff that’s grown closer to us and not in Australia or California.”
City Councilman Doug McCardle said he was disappointed that the market would not be back for 2013. “It’s always sad to see local businesses and organizations close due to bankruptcy or whatever reason,” he said.
McCardle also said he wants to try to bring the fresh food bazaar back to MLT. “I’m sad that it appears to be closing down and I would like to, you know, talk to the people in charge of it and see what could be done to possibly keep it open to the citizens of Mountlake Terrace once again.”
There is, however, a silver lining to the closure of the farmers market. Money saved from the elimination of market funding will be put towards other efforts.
When asked about the extra funds now that the market is closed, Sheik said, “We’re going to continue to put it back into the community. As you know, we do backpacks for the elementary schools and we’re going to do events like that where we either give back to the schools or different organizations that may need help.”
History teacher Laurette Culbert advocated local markets and their organic products. “I like the fact that with organic produce it’s much kinder to the land and the environment,” she said.
Sadly, neighborhood vendors like Ayala Farms, Snohomish Bakery, Whidbey Island Ice Cream, and others are forced to sell their products somewhere other than our backyard.
Although the market will be non-existent in 2013, there is still hope of revival and restoration of the market for 2014. Sheik insisted “[The farmers market] needs a lot more community support.” If community leaders and citizens feel strongly about bringing back the farmers market, they need to voice their support.