Letters to the Editor

Permanent farmers market site will enhance the economy of the town and island

An open letter to the Friday Harbor Town Council:

I sent you a letter on Oct. 12 of this year outlining my reasons for supporting the Permanent Farmers Market at the Friday Harbor Brick and Tile site.

At that time, I had stated how important a permanent farmers market would have been to the ostrich farm which I ran with my late husband, Sam Pope. We sold the majority of what we produced at the farmers market. If there had been a permanent year-round site, I might very well still be in the business.

I also talked about the many tourists that we met weekly at the farmers market, some of whom ended up visiting our farm, and most of whom bought and took home our non-perishable items, such as eggs and feathers, as souvenirs of their visit to the island.

Over the years, we have been in the habit of taking mini-vacations to surrounding communities, such as Langley, Port Townsend and Fairhaven. We were drawn to these communities because of the efforts they had made to preserve their community heritage and provide cultural and historical experiences for their visitors. We especially enjoyed the farmers markets which gave a good sense of the diversity and character of the population.

We were inspired to provide that atmosphere in Friday Harbor, which is why we, together with our partners, Chris and Betsy Pope, developed the Nichols Walk Neighborhood. We wanted to show that contemporary development could be done without losing the historic characteristics of the town. In fact, I think the businesses that have settled there have benefited from the flavor of the neighborhood with its historic feel and open green spaces.

The Ag Guild's proposed project to turn the Friday Harbor Brick and Tile site into a Permanent Farmers Market extends that historic neighborhood and enlarges the green space in the middle of town. It gives farmers a much-needed year-round market for their produce. And it provides a valuable draw to potential visitors to our island, especially those that might otherwise be drawn to one of the other historic communities on Puget Sound.

In these difficult economic times, it is exciting to see a project that can help local businesses without negatively impacting the environment. The local produce of our farmers is, in large part, sustainably produced, using a fraction of the greenhouse gas promoting fuels that off-island produce represents.

I urge you to support this project. It can only enhance the economy of the town as well as that of the whole island.

Anne Pope
Friday Harbor

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