Farmers market strengthens community

Increase in patrons shopping from local vendors, growers



Market Manager Amanda Argona talks about the Pullman Farmers Market on Saturday at One World Cafe.

RACHEL LENTZ, Evergreen columnist

In the growing season you can see a lot of life around Pullman, from golden fields of wheat to a beautiful town. But at the Pullman Farmers Market, farmers, city dwellers and local artists come together in a community gathering that’s hard to duplicate anywhere else.  

The market aims to connect with the community while the attendees shop, said Market Manager Amanda Argona. The Pullman Farmers Market boasts a variety of goods such as kombucha, fresh veggies, fruit, eggs and meat products. 

The goods are sourced from businesses within a 60-mile radius, Argona said. The market does allow non-local businesses to partake from time to time, but only to include fresh products like Alaskan-caught salmon such as Sockeye or Coho. 

Colleen Wilson, from the family-owned Wilson Banner Ranch, said her family has been a vendor at the market since it started.

The family sells a wide range of seasonal produce and several varieties of honey and meat, as well as occasional embroidered items from Colleen’s sister, Michele.

For a small market there’s quite a selection,” Wilson said. “They do a really good job.”

Right now buckwheat honey, sweet corn, apple cider, huckleberries, peaches and pears are in season, Wilson said. They recently sold out of their pork, but expect to have more by next week’s market. Earlier in the season, Wilson Banner Ranch also sells things like  nectarines, plums and tomatoes.

The market, which is now in its eleventh season, runs from May to October.

Last year, the farmers market moved to the Brelsford WSU Visitor Center to improve its visibility and connection to the community. It was previously located in the Spot Shop parking lot on NE Kamiaken Street.

The spot near campus provides vendors with better access to the community and is much more comfortable than the parking lot, Wilson said.

“[The market is] the place to find mid-week groceries and be a community check-in spot,” Argona said. 

EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) is an additional form of payment that the farmers market accepts. This enables low-income households that qualify for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits to spend these funds on healthy and fresh foods that are locally grown.

There are consistently about 30-50 more people attending the market each week in comparison to last year, Argona said, and there are about 250 people that attend each week. 

Despite the increase in numbers, farmers market staff are still working with the WSU Visitor Center to further establish the event within the Pullman community, Argona said.

The efforts seem to be paying off, and customers are spending more time at the market, she said.

The market provides volunteer opportunities, such as event planning and networking with small businesses. These volunteer positions are open to anyone willing to help maintain the market. 

The market is not only a place to stock up on groceries. Craft booths and entertainment are also plentiful as well. Local musicians and artists can play live. 

The Farmers Market goes from May to October, but things don’t stop in the winter. Pullman has a winter market that runs from November to April, and occurs on the third Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The farmers market will run for two more months before the winter market begins on Nov. 16.  That’s the perfect time to find a locally grown pumpkin and gear up for another year at WSU. 

The Pullman Farmers Market is from 3:30-6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays on 150 E. Spring St. at the Brelsford WSU Visitor Center.