Planning Your Visit to the Maple Valley Farmers’ Market? Here’s What To Look For.
Harvest season is in full swing in the Pacific Northwest, and that means local farmers’ markets are open and ready for visitors.
Known in the community as “the Saturday place to be”, the Maple Valley Farmers’ Market greets visitors with the joyful hum of families, friends and neighbors visiting on today’s harvest. With the smell of fresh grilled food filling the air and the sound of instruments lightly tuned by today’s local entertainment, you’ll see friendly dogs strolling with owners along paved meandering paths under tree-lined canopy. Filled with local entrepreneurs bringing their wares to test and sell at the market, you can expect to also hear the sound of tires crunching on the gravel as the parking lot fills quickly at the market.
Centrally positioned just a short drive down the road for Black Diamond, the Maple Valley Farmers Market is easily accessible for many locals via the Lake Wilderness trail — just a quick walk or bike ride away with the family. For those a bit further away, load up your friendly pooch and make the short drive to the market where there’s plenty of parking.
Located at 25719 Maple Valley Black Diamond Road SE, the Maple Valley Farmers’ Market is open every Saturday from May through September from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The market’s new location, right across from Rock Creek Elementary School, features covered events space, meandering paved paths and plenty of parking.
Initially founded in 2009, the Maple Valley Farmers’ Market is a volunteer-driven, 501C3 non-profit organization, dedicated to supporting local and regional farmers and agriculture.
Not only does the farmers’ market provide Maple Valley, Black Diamond and other towns with an opportunity to buy fresh fruit and produce, but it’s also a community gathering place. With live music, arts and crafts, and specialty food and drink, the Maple Valley Farmers’ Market is a vibrant place to spend a few hours on the weekend. You can even bring fido along with you as the market welcomes your friendly dogs.
According to Mark Hoben, President, Maple Valley Farmers’ Market, “2021 will be the longest season in our Market’s history: 26 Saturdays stretching across eight months, from the beginning of May through mid-December. This season the attendance and support of the Maple Valley community has been extraordinary — between 2,300 and 2,600 visitors each week.”
Before we get into everything you can expect from your visit to the Maple Valley Farmers’ Market, let’s quickly talk about why farmers’ markets are so amazing.
Why Visit a Farmers’ Market?
There are many reasons people choose to frequent farmers’ markets. One of the biggest draws is the ability to get fresh, locally grown, and in season fruits and vegetables.
For those who are conscious of their ecological footprints, farmers’ markets offer a small way to help reduce carbon. Fresh produce often comes to us via a very long journey on trucks, travelling thousands of miles cross country. By choosing to purchase locally grown items, coupled with reduced packaging and plastic, you’re having an environmentally friendly experience.
Farmers’ markets also offer a chance to connect with the people who grow the food you eat. Not only can you forge relationships and create strong bonds with people in the community, but you can also get expert advice from people who are both knowledgeable and passionate.
By choosing to shop at a local farmers’ market, you’re also pushing money back into the local economy.
The Maple Valley Farmers’ Market in particular is known for not only their amazing vendors, but all the events they offer for kids and adults alike.
Hitting up the farmers’ market is about so much more than just shopping for food — it’s an experience and an outing with a little something for everyone, not to mention the opportunity to support local small businesses.
Let’s take a look at what you can expect to find at the Maple Valley Farmers’ Market.
Fresh Food and Products Right From the Farm
Often when we’re at the grocery store we see things advertised as “farm fresh” but it doesn’t get any fresher than buying right from the source. In-season fruits and vegetables, the finest cuts of meat and various dairy products, like cheese, can be found at many of the vendor stalls. Some vendors even offer subscriptions services, where you can sign up to have fresh food delivered right to your doorstep.
Many vendors also offer homemade items like jams and jellies, flavored butter, honey and more.
Not only can you buy a bounty of food for your next gathering, but you can find plenty of decor to go along with it. There are several flower vendors selling the best of their blossoms. Centerpieces, fresh-cut bouquets, potted plants and seed packets can all be found at the Maple Valley Farmers’ Market.
One other thing to keep an eye out for is farm-made products, like all-natural soaps and bath bombs, body oils and lotions, and hand sanitizers.
Speciality Food and Drink
Whether you’re looking for something to eat and drink while you’re strolling through the market or some treats to enjoy later at home, the Maple Valley Farmers’ Market has it all.
Spice blends and sauces, chutneys, handmade dumplings, fresh bread, and of course, plenty of bakery treats for your sweet tooth are all on offer. You can also find freshly roasted coffee beans, loose leaf tea blends and more.
If you want to snack while you shop, you can stop by the patisserie or bagel shop, or grab a tasty bag of kettle corn. If you want a more substantial meal, you’ll find options that include BBQ, seafood and Mexican snacks. Mama D’s Farmhouse Baking and EJ’s Custom Catering are two vendors you do not want to miss!
For the adults in the crowd, there are vendors from local breweries and wineries, where you find beer, wine and cider to enjoy at home after your day walking around the market. Lumber House Brewery, known for pioneering fresh and earthy flavors, is a popular stop for those looking for local craft brews.
Need a little something to drink while you’re browsing? Stop by one of the vendors selling fresh juice, like Our Hive, for a refreshing drink.
Don’t forget to check out the chocolate vendors before you leave, and get handmade chocolate bars and other confections — great for you OR as a gift for someone else.
From candles and crystals to baskets and handbags, the Maple Valley Farmers’ Market has a wide array of items from local artisans. Finding the perfect, unique gift is often a challenge, but these vendors have a little something for every taste.
Browse the handcrafted jewelry, pottery, home decor, baby blankets, and metalwork. Pamper yourself with some amazing beauty products, or outfit your kitchen with some new handmade items like charcuterie boards or wooden bowls.
Stop by Just a Little Something, a local business that strives to prepare succulent arrangements and gifts, to find an unforgettable gift for that special someone, or maybe even treat yourself to a special arrangement for home.
Local Non-Profits Showcase
Part of being a member of a community is supporting and promoting local causes — something the Maple Valley Farmers’ Market is passionate about.
When you visit the market, you’ll find booths offering information for summer camps and the creative arts council.
Stop by and have a chat with a local veteran or meet some cub scouts out doing community work.
Whatever you do, make sure to take a moment to say hi to some of these amazing local volunteers making a difference in the community.
Don’t Miss the Annual Markets
Every year, the Maple Valley Farmers’ Market hosts two out-of-season markets.
The first one, the Harvest Market, runs for two Saturdays at the end of October/beginning of November. For 2021, it’ll be held from October 30th and November 6th.
The second one, the Holiday Market, occurs on two Saturdays in December. Your 2021 dates are December 4th and 11th, so be sure to add them to your calendar now!
Building a Stronger Community with the Maple Valley Farmers’ Market
Having access to a thriving Farmers’ Market requires the support of an entire community. By supporting local vendors and patronizing the market, you’re not only putting money back into local businesses, but you’re also helping create a strong community that is designed to thrive.
Thanks to the support of the vendors, the shoppers, and the City of Maple Valley, this 2021 season is on track to be the best one yet!
Says Hoben, “We are grateful beyond words for the strong support of the City of Maple Valley, including the development of this spectacular outdoor Market venue at the City’s Legacy Site Park. Despite the challenges and limitations of COVID, this beautiful new location helped the Market post its highest-ever season gross last year – more than $570,000 – while serving 78 individual farmers and vendors.”
When planning a visit to the Maple Valley Farmers’ Market, don’t forget to visit the website to confirm which vendors will be there the day you’re attending. Not every vendor participates every week so check the listings to ensure you don’t miss your favorites!