Gilman Village debuts summer farmers market

August 2, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

The latest addition to Gilman Village is fresh for summer.

The iconic shopping complex along Northwest Gilman Boulevard added a farmers market late last month in a bid to increase customer traffic. The market includes local produce, flowers and more — but nothing to compete against existing offerings at the complex.

Aaron Barouh, Gilman Village president and general manager, said the concept is meant to highlight local farmers.

“Why not do a farmers market that’s actually a farmers market?” he said. “Just limit it to farmers and small-scale food producers. No crafts. No walk-around food. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, well, we tried.”

The farmers market debuted July 28. The event is due to continue through late September. Because the market is open on Thursdays, no conflict exists between Gilman Village and the popular Issaquah Farmers Market at Pickering Barn on summer Saturdays.

If you go

Gilman Village Farmers Market

Gilman Village featured a similar open-air market in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The market offered produce, wine and more, but success waned. (That market space is occupied nowadays by Billy Bob’s Burgers & BBQ.)

“That was as close to a farmers market as we came,” Barouh said. “In retrospect, it would have been better to have just done a farmers market rather than that.”

Barouh said he considered adding a farmers market for years. So, he explored numerous farmers markets for ideas and came to admire the Ballard Farmers Market for combining market vendors and brick-and-mortar merchants.

“I always shied away from it in the past, because at most farmers markets, crafts and walk-around food are always really big components,” he said. “I always felt that that was really unfair to the merchants that are here every day and the restaurants that are here every day.”

Barouh said he envisions market vendors stationed throughout the complex on Thursday afternoons.

“I thought, if I’m going to do this, I want to make the village and the merchants part of the market,” he said. “I thought the village was just a spectacular ambience for something like a farmers market.”

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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