A Basin City fruit grower has launched a new farmers market in west Pasco.
Matt Wood of Rowley & Hawkins Fruit Farms said they want to put themselves and other vendors closer to customers may not be going downtown to the longtime Pasco Farmers Market.
About 16 vendors are offering everything from kettle corn and goat cheese to flowers and gluten-free baked goods. And more should be available as the growing season progresses and more crops can be picked.
The new farmers market runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday through October on the lawn just east of the parking for the Holiday Inn Express at 4525 Convention Place near TRAC.
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The location is intended to put Rowley & Hawkins closer to clientele they increasingly see coming from west Pasco.
“Ideally, we’d love it if Pasco would do the market in a different location,” said Wood, the market’s manager. “We’d like to just sell fruit and not run the market.”
Mark Rowley, one of the farm’s three owners, said west Pasco is where many of the fruit farm’s customers live, and it’s a clean and convenient location.
You can only support so many markets in the area.
Mike Somerville, market director, Pasco Farmers Market
Some downtown market vendors have moved to the new location, which operates during about the same hours on Saturdays, said Mike Somerville, the market director with the Downtown Pasco Development Authority.
He called the start of the new market “disconcerting.” He added the start of some other farmers markets in the Tri-Cities could over-saturate the region.
“You can only support so many markets in the area,” he said.
Wood said the traffic at the new venture has been good, with a lot of customers saying they liked the location. He added that there are no hard feelings toward the downtown market and he believes they can co-exist.
“We think it was the right time to break away from downtown and keep our sales going,” Rowley said. “So far, it’s achieving our goals.”
We think it was the right time to break away from downtown and keep our sales going. So far, it’s achieving our goals.
Mark Rowley, Rowley & Hawkins Fruit Farms
The downtown market still has about double the number of registered vendors as the new market in west Pasco, and Somerville said that number will climb as the season continues. The first corn vendor will make an appearance at this week’s markets on Wednesday and Saturday.
Other farmers markets in the Tri-Cities include The Parkway in Richland on Friday mornings and downtown Kennewick on Thursday evenings. And Somerville has heard of an effort to start a market on Clover Island in Kennewick.
He also noted that Kennewick and Richland have launched food truck-related events on some Fridays this summer, potentially competing with Pasco’s Food Truck Friday.
He said he understands the motivation for others to organize their own events, but added that such strategies carry risks and could stretch vendors and customers too thin.
“The Tri-Cities is making it pretty hard on our farmers,” Somerville said.