Vendors roll into summer at local farmers markets

Two women stand in front of a table outside. The woman on the left is wearing a black shirt and is holding a wrapped package. The woman on the right wears a blue striped shirt.
Mendy Patrick, left, laughs with mom Laura Patrick as they pick out cookies from Marilyn and Jim Kimberling's vendor tent at the Lewiston Farmers Market on Saturday. (Credit: Liesbeth Powers / The Lewiston Tribune)



The Lewiston Farmers Market is hosting more vendors than ever this year after a move to a new location on Thain Grade in the parking lot of the old ShopKo building in Lewiston.

The market is one of roughly 50 markets operating in the state, and it’s been growing. It opened this month with 51 vendors, a big jump from years prior.

“Last year, I don’t think we ever had more than 39 vendors at the very peak of the market in the middle of July,” Shannon Gottschalk, the market organizer, said. “We get contacted every week. ‘Are you still taking vendors?’”

Marilyn Kimberling was at the market selling quilts, jams, breads and cookies with her husband, Jim.

Kimberling first started making quilts in the sixth grade. She and her husband make all the quilts they sell together, which they’ve done since they married in 1959.

“He sews the squares together and helps me sew some of them together,” she said.

Michelle Hueett-Fluckiger at Ee-Ii-Ee-Ii-Oo Ranch was selling USDA pork and beef, including steaks, sausages and flavored meat sticks. The popular meat sticks include flavors like pepperoni, teriyaki, jalapeno, mesquite and cheese.

“We do, oh my gosh, like three to six beef a year just in sticks,” Hueett-Fluckiger said.

Nefretiri Brown, 22, said Saturday was her third time at the Lewiston Farmers Market.

Brown started her small business, Coco’s Essentials, three years ago. She started making her own skincare items at home as a child, she said, and eventually decided to make it into a business.

“I personally need specific products and I can’t find them in the store,” she said. “So I was like, ‘Why don’t I just start a business that helps other people that need stuff like I do?’”

Coco’s Essentials offers organic and naturally sourced beauty items, including body and hair oils, lip glosses, body butters and scrubs. Brown also offers a men’s care line.

“We have beard oil, we have beard butter, we have hair oil and we have body oil,” she said. “So, anything that a woman can get, a man can get as well. We just want to cater to all and make sure that everyone gets what they need.”

First-time vendor Ena Chen came to sell teas, spices, herbs and cookies with her husband, Charles Kuo.

Hartini Hoffman, another new vendor this year, was at the market selling ginger turmeric shots, which she makes using an original recipe from the island of Java, Indonesia.

Hoffman said the drinks are supposed to help with inflammation and gut health, as well as maintain healthy skin.

“I have had the turmeric [drink] since I was 11 years old. That’s from traditions in Indonesia, in Java, where I grew up,” she said. “This is this part of the culture I have and share with people here.”

John Patterson, a retired Lewiston High School art teacher, has been selling stoneware at the market for two years. His biggest sellers are mugs, which he says are more comfortable to hold than some factory-made mugs because of their uniquely shaped handles.

“People like to have the custom fit,” he said. “[The handles are] what’s called hand-pulled. So, they’re thicker at the top and then they taper as they go down to the bottom where they attach. It just has a good feel to it.”

A bearded man wearing glasses and a gray hoodie reaches over a display of brightly colored, handmade mugs. The mugs are displayed on a table, atop of several small shelves.

John Patterson, creator of JP Studio Pottery, organizes his mugs on display at the Lewiston Farmers Market on Saturday. (Credit: Liesbeth Powers / The Lewiston Tribune)

Many farmers markets, including the Lewiston Farmers Market, accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) cards, which shoppers can swipe at the market booth and exchange for tokens to shop with, Gottschalk said.

Some vendors also accept the Washington state WIC Farmers Market Nutrition program checks.

“We’re still working on getting all of our signage and everything set up. It’s kind of a slow process. But there’ll be a couple of vendors who can take that, too,” Gottschalk said.

The Lewiston Farmers Market will run every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon until the end of September. Guides for local farmers markets are available online for Washington, Idaho and Oregon.