QA farmers market to open June 28

It's a go for the Queen Anne Farmers Market, which is set to operate Thursdays from 3 to 7 p.m. beginning on June 28 in the parking lot of McClure Middle School, said George Counts, chair of the market group.

Counts is a member of both the Queen Anne Community Council and Queen Anne Neighbors for Responsible Growth, the latter of which is the nonprofit umbrella organization for the Queen Anne Farmers Market Association, he said.

As opposed to the Northwest Farmers Market Alliance, the Queen Anne group is part of the Seattle Markets group, which operates farmers markets in Ballard, Wallingford and Madison Park.

"We are very pleased we have been able to iron out many of the problems we had been facing," Counts said. Still, there a few details left to clear up.

The market, which will have roughly 40 vendors, has to move at the end of August because Mc- Clure will start up classes by then, and the organization is hoping to move to the south end of the Queen Anne Community Center, he said.

"But we still have not gotten permission from the parks department," Counts explained. The community center is part of the parks system, and the department wants be satisfied with the market's parking plans for both customers and vendors before it OKs the move, he said. "I hope they'll have an answer for us soon."

Organizers of the market have approached neighborhood businesses for sponsorship, and they've talked to local restaurants about staging cooking demonstrations at the market, Counts said. The farmers market has also been working with the Upper Queen Anne Merchants Association, he said.

Counts had concerns about the site issue, and it took longer than expected to get organized, he said. But it wasn't for a lack of trying. "We continue to have a lot of enthusiasm from our group and volunteers," Counts added.

The volunteers and the Queen Anne Neighbors for Responsible Growth aren't the only ones enthusiastic about the idea; so is Home- Street Bank on Queen Anne Avenue. "We have had from the very beginning a lot of support from HomeStreet for the market," he said.

"The whole thing started in our branch," explained Hossein Soleymani, a HomeStreet Bank vice president and manager of the Queen Anne branch. "They had several meetings here," he said of market organizers.

The bank, which is a sponsor of the market, will continue to be a booster. "Since it [the market] is behind our branch, we came up with the tote bag," Soleymani said of a canvas bag the bank is paying for and which will have the market's logo on one side and the bank's on the other. The farmers market can sell them or give them to customers to raise money, he added.

Like Counts, Soleymani is happy the first farmers market in Queen Anne is finally set to open.

"It's going to be a really nice one," Soleymani said.

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