Madison Valley ripe for farmers market

Fremont's farmers market is coming to Madison Valley.

Actually, its offshoot Capitol Hill Farmers Market is the one moving to the area.

According to organizer Jon Hegeman, who founded the Fremont Sunday Market, the Capitol Hill market is relocating to Madison Valley because of the general perception that its current location near Broadway is "intimidating. It's not seen as a place to visit. It's unfortunate...but it's understandable."

The Capitol Hill market has been at 10th Avenue and Pine Street since September.

The market will occupy a still-undisclosed lot in Madison Valley; its location will be announced once Hegeman has finalized the deal with the board of directors now managing the private property.

The new location would be a midpoint for Capitol Hill residents and for those who live in Madison Park and Madison Valley, where many of the customers come from, Hegeman said.

It also is undecided whether the market will operate on Friday afternoons, from 3 to 7 p.m., or on Saturday mornings, as the Capitol Hill market now operates. Participating farmers favor Fridays, Hegeman said, because of conflicts with other farmers markets taking place on Saturdays.

Once the deal is finalized, the Capitol Hill Farmers Market will immediately move to its new location. "We will try to implement it as expediently as possible," Hegeman said. "We're excited. We're hopeful [that it will happen soon]."

Room to grow?

The Madison Valley market is expected to have 30 to 40 vendors, Hegeman said, and that number could grow to 60, depending on how the booths are arranged and what the vendor interest is.

There's also the potential for the market to expand to additional properties nearby, he added.

Despite the large number of customers the market will bring into the neighborhood, Hegeman believes there is sufficient on-street parking for all of them. He explained that, based on his experience with the Fremont market, people frequent the markets for "quick-turn-around" items, usually spending only a half-hour at the market.

Madison Valley resident Adrienne Bailey, co-organizer of the Central Area International Market & Bazaar, is more cautious, explaining that traffic and safety issues could arise for the market if it were to be located along the Madison Street corridor, where these concerns already exist.

She added that the International Market didn't have these concerns because the organizers had worked with adjacent merchants before their market officially opened for the season.

'Win-win' for community

Though the new location is still secret, Bailey believes the farmers market will locate on one of two properties in the area that can handle such a large operation. She, too, however, wouldn't disclose the possible locations.

Though her International Market, located along the Cherry Street corridor, is taking this year off to find funding and volunteers, Bailey doesn't see the Madison Valley Farmers Market as competition.

"We can complement one another if we work collaboratively," she said, adding that she believes the two markets can.

In fact, she's excited at the prospect that the Central Area could be the first neighborhood in the city to have two markets running concurrently.

"I'm not looking at it as a battle," she added. "It's a win-win for the community."

Hegeman's outlook is just as optimistic: "We've had such a positive influence wherever we've [been]."[[In-content Ad]]