Rejoice, lovers of fresh food and handcrafted goods: the season for farmers markets has returned to the Mid-Columbia, and Pasco is the first to welcome it back.
The Pasco Farmers Market opens May 7, going from 8 a.m. to noon at its pavilion at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Columbia Street downtown.
The opening is part of the city’s annual Cinco de Mayo events.
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Mike Somerville, market manager for the Downtown Pasco Development Authority, said many past vendors will be returning, and live entertainment is planned, though details are still being confirmed.
It is still early in the growing season, Somerville said, so vendors will be limited in what they can offer. But farm fresh eggs, tomato plants, mushrooms, baked goods, radishes, lettuce, storage apples and honey are expected to be available.
The market is open Saturdays for the month of May, expanding to Wednesdays beginning in June.
The other Tri-City markets won’t start for about a month. Kennewick’s farmers market, returning to its downtown location after a few years out in Southridge, opens June 2, a Thursday, and goes from 4 to 8 p.m.
Richland’s Market at The Parkway will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. starting June 3.
Inaugural Asparagus Festival planned May 7
In case you aren’t able to make it to this month’s asparagus-themed Food Truck Fridays in Pasco, an inaugural Asparagus Festival is planned May 7.
The Washington Asparagus Commission has teamed up with the Pasco Chamber of Commerce and Franklin PUD for the celebration for those 21 and older.
The festival is from 4 to 9 p.m. at Middleton Six Sons Farms at 1050 Pasco-Kahlotus Road.
Pasco’s own Gordon Brothers Estate and Richland’s Paper Street Brewery will be selling drinks while food trucks and vendors Kindra’s Wok n Roll, The Street Grill and Frost Me Sweet have been invited. All food vendors will incorporate asparagus into their offerings.
Live music from Badlandz will be performed from 7 to 9 p.m., and there also will be farm rides and tours.
Admission is $10 and can be purchased at the door. It comes with one ticket for a beverage and two tickets for food samples, which will include pickled asparagus from Washington and asparagus ice cream.
North Richland brewery opens in new digs
A Tri-City brewery has reopened in a new location after months spent building an expanded space.
White Bluffs Brewing’s new building is just a block away from its former space in the Richland strip mall off Highway 240 near the Horn Rapids Golf Course.
Owner Mike Sutherland said the award-winning brewery was in desperate need of more room as it sought to focus on getting his beer distributed further outside the Tri-Cities.
He specializes in French and Belgian-style ales, as well as those from German traditions, and West Coast-style IPAs.
His new 10,000-square-foot location at 2034 Logston Boulevard is five times as big. Along with room for more production, the brewery’s new taproom is twice as big and can seat 94 customers. There’s also more than 1,000 square feet of outdoor seating.
The move didn’t come without its headaches, Sutherland said. All of White Bluffs’ old equipment had to be sold, and it had to cease operations for a short time in order to comply with state liquor control rules and inspections.
“Moving a brewery obviously is a huge ordeal,” Sutherland said.
But White Bluffs can offer permanent lunches and dinners.
Paul Brookes and Tom Wietsema previously catered special events at White Bluffs and now will sell burgers and fries, cubano sandwiches, poutine, nachos and other items from a next door trailer.
Reaction from the first customers to the new space has been great, Sutherland said.
“We’re starting now to see more people from around the Tri-Cities,” he said, adding that they are still relatively under the radar in the area.
But one of the main goals of the expansion was increasing production.
Sutherland is aiming for 800 to 1,200 barrels of beer this year — more than double what was produced in 2015. Its brews will be distributed to bars and restaurants throughout more of Eastern Washington. And by the end of the year he wants to begin bottling, as well.
Hours are from 3 to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, from 3 to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday and from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday. Pints are $4.50, but you can also grab a growler for $14.
Food is available all days except Tuesdays.