OLYMPIA - Fans of the Olympia Farmers Market were undeterred by cool April weather as about 2,000 people filled the market Thursday on its first day of business.
Market General Manager Charlie Haney said it was wall-to-wall people during its first hour at 10 a.m. before the crowds thinned out later. If the good weather continues, she expects large crowds this weekend.
Jolie Cheney of Olympia was thrilled the market had reopened. It’s a destination she tries to visit at least once every two weeks throughout the season.
“I love the food, the produce, the music and the sense of community,” she said. “It’s just really nice.”
In addition to thousands of visitors, the market has about a dozen new vendors to boost its total to 119, Assistant Manager Ashley Powell said. New additions include Winking Walrus, a gluten-free baking company, and Olykraut, a sauerkraut business.
Winking Walrus, a guest vendor that will be at the market on Fridays, sells goods such as cookies, cupcakes, muffins and granola. Co-owner Eric Rader said their baked goods are soy- and dairy-free, too.
“We want to be as friendly to as many people as we can be,” he said.
Next door to the Winking Walrus was Olykraut, another first-time vendor and also a guest vendor at the market that will be open for business Thursdays and Fridays, co-owner Sash Sunday said. The business sells sauerkraut and a product similar to the Korean dish kimchi, using raw, organic ingredients. It’s also vegan and gluten-free.
“It’s everything ‘-free’ except for the vegetables,” Sunday said. The first day was so busy that Sunday said she was losing her voice.
“People are really excited,” she said.
Besides new vendors, there was a longtime existing vendor with a new owner. Cheryl Hooper now runs Bavarian Wurst, which serves German and American food. Hooper used to come to the market every Sunday for breakfast and finally learned about the business opportunity. It was an opportunity she wanted to take and business the first day was “amazing.”
“It’s more than I expected for a cold April day,” Hooper said.