Pullman market to see new growth


LUKE HOLLISTER | The Daily Evergreen

Peggy Welsh from Pioneer Produce helps a customer at the Pullman Farmer's Market on May 10.

LATISHA JENSEN, Evergreen mint editor

One may be able to walk from one end of downtown Pullman to the other in 10 minutes, but that doesn’t stop this small town from hosting a weekly farmer’s market six months out of the year for the past eight years.

Richard Link, manager of the Pullman Farmer’s Market, is new to managing a market but is experienced as a behind-the-scenes vendor with his wife, who runs Link’d Hearts Ranch.

The market has undergone various changes in leadership during the past year, but Link is optimistic about the potential growth of the Pullman’s Farmer’s Market, despite the restrictions and circumstances.

“Anytime you start handing stuff from one person to the other, things get reorganized or misplaced. It’s been a lot of reconstructing,” Link said. “In the respect that stuff was lost, we kind of take a fresh take on it.”

The options for where to set up the market are limited, like if they get too close to Highway 27 near Grand Avenue, they have to start dealing with state politics.

“I would love to see us outgrow the spot we’re in and find a more visible location,” Link said. “The city would love us to be in the downtown area, but it’s also a wedge between a hill and a river.”

The market started in 2009 as a class project to create a place to purchase accessible local food, Link said. The project’s main focus was to keep all vendors within a 60 mile range and remains that way today.

Although this market is smaller than many others, it emphasizes the core of all farmer’s markets: farm produce. Most of the traffic that comes through are residents looking to buy fresh produce instead of just window shop, Link said.

“If you get too many craft vendors or other things, it starts diluting down the focus of it being food,” Link said. “Yes, we do have a couple other vendors with different crafts, but even the [goat milk] lotion is a farm product.”

Link has a growth perspective on the market this year, and one of his goals includes having hot food served, such as a wood fire pizza.

“It’s taking a marketing perspective at it and trying to re-energize the community, letting people know where the market is, what they have,” Link said. “By the time the college students are coming back, I am positive we will [have hot food vendors].”

The market is on a weekday, allowing for attendees to maintain their free time on the weekends.

“As we like to say, it’s three days fresher than the Moscow market,” Link said.

Link and his wife are serious about raising their chicken and pork in a humane, healthy and loving way and want others to have the option of eating them as well. The rest of the vendors follow this same theme.

“We’re small but we’re very passionate,” Link said. “If you’re not passionate about what you do, you’re not going to do as good of a job.”