Sarah Nitta, maker of The Adorable Gnome, in her booth at the first open-air Farmers Market for 2023 in McCosh Park on Saturday. The market is set to run every Saturday through the end of October.
Charles H. Featherstone/Columbia Basin Herald
A few of Sarah Nitta’s hand-knitted adorable gnomes for sale at the Moses Lake Farmers Market on Saturday.
Christina Johnson, owner of Treehouse Sweet Treats in Moses Lake, selling her wares at the first open-air Moses Lake Farmers Market of the year at McCosh Park in Moses Lake on Saturday.
MOSES LAKE — There weren’t a lot of actual farmers at the first open-air Moses Lake Farmers Market of 2023 on Saturday. But neither that nor the brisk spring weather kept vendors from coming to sell, or people from coming to buy.
“It’s good. It’s nice to be out in public,” said Sarah Nitta, owner of The Adorable Gnome as she stood amid several dozen hand-made adorable gnomes.
Nitta said she started a couple of years ago after a friend asked her to make a wreath with a gnome on it. After that, the silly little knittings of long-bearded gnomes with big floppy hats, most carrying small hand-painted signs, just kind of took off, Nitta said.
“This is my second year in business,” she said. “I just love seeing the smiles that people get as they come into my booth reading all the little signs.”
Market organizers Rachal Naff and Tiffany Quilter said it’s still a little early in the season for produce sellers at the Farmers Market, which is held every Saturday at McCosh Park until the end of October, but as the weather gets warmer, they should arrive.
“It’s a bit cool for a lot of produce to be ready yet, but it’s coming,” said Rachal Naff, one of the market’s organizers. “Thankfully we didn’t have a frost in April like we did last year. So hopefully there will be more produce vendors than there were last year.”
Naff, who also works for Tonnemaker Farms near Royal City, said the frost in mid-April 2022 – which damaged a lot of fruit trees mid-bloom and killed off emerging gardens – was difficult for growers last year, and limited the number of vendors who showed because they simply didn’t have much of anything to sell.
“Strawberries didn’t even come,” Quilter added. “At least everyone we talked to, strawberries were not existing last year.”
While produce vendors were scarce – there were some early-season crops for sale like rhubarb and asparagus – there were a lot of folks selling other things, like fudge, mushrooms, lavender, kettle corn and apple cider.
“It’s an old family recipe passed down by my grandma through my dad. I’m just keeping it alive,” said Matt Boyce, the owner of Boyce’s Famous Fudge. “I’ve always thought it would be fun to spread my family’s recipe. And this is the way to do it.”
Boyce had several flavors for sale on Saturday – cookies and cream, lemon, cookie cobblestone, salted caramel, butter pecan and a dairy-free chocolate almond coconut. And while the air was a bit crisp, Boyce said he thought the first day of the outdoor Farmers Market in 2023 was shaping up to be a good day.
“As long as the wind stays nice and calm, I think it will be perfect,” he said.
Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at email@example.com.