‘Market Match’ at BI Farmers Market reduces food insecurity

For the first time in a long while vendors at the Bainbridge Island Farmers’ Market can reduce food insecurity by processing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP/EBT, AKA “food stamps”).

Shoppers who use their SNAP benefits get “Market Match,” a grant program that matches SNAP funds dollar-for-dollar, stretching food budgets for low-income families twice as far.

With COVID-19 restrictions winding down and summer arriving, the market is gearing up for more visitors and vendors.

The market hosted 31 farms, food and craft vendors, and community outreach booths last Saturday, approaching its peak capacity of about 42. In all, the market’s board of directors has approved nearly 50 vendors, including 13 farms, nine processors, four concessionnaires, 16 crafters and five nonprofit organizations.

Vendors reported gross market earnings of just over $56,000 over nine Saturdays from April to May, with farmers’ sales accounting for nearly half that total.

Farmers offer everything from pepper plants to pinot gris, to pork loins and peonies. They include: Butler Green Farms, Bainbridge Vineyards, Central Valley Nursery, Farmhouse Organics, It’s Growing On Me, Heyday Farm, Laughing Crow Farm, Leapfrog Farm and Persephone Farm.

Charles Schaefer of West Sound Beekeepers ushers his observation hive to market every Saturday.

For food and beverages there are Pegasus Coffee, Coquette, Hitchcock, Pane D’Amoré, Finnriver Cidery, Mylk Fill and the ZEST Food Truck.

Arts and crafts feature fiber, glass, metal, collage, jewelry, cosmetics and more. Booths include: Alex Sanso Creative, AmosSoma, BI Macramé, BapaToms, Happy Chipmunk Designs, Honeybear Cove, Kuy Glass, Metal Water Fire, Purple Witch Apothecary, Regan’s Attic and The Felted Fleece.

Zero Waste, a program of Sustainable Bainbridge, has partnered with the the market for years in an effort to reduce waste and educate the island about waste streams.

Live music has returned with solo guitarist Rick Barrenger performing classic country and folk last Saturday.