Since 1986, Claire Thomas has been working long hours on the farm seven days a week. She recalls leasing a quarter of an acre from a farmer, and amazed by the quality of the soil, Thomas started growing vegetables from what would soon be called The Root Connection Farm.
The Root Connection, located at 13607 Woodinville-Redmond Rd. in Redmond, is a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm that grows local chemical-free food for the community at its 20-acre site. Members of The Root Connection grow seasonal vegetables, herbs, flowers, and sometimes, beef. The CSA farm currently has 200 members growing food at the farm. Essentially, each member is a farm owner at The Root Connection.
Being a farmer was natural for Thomas and so was the decision to set up a booth at the Redmond Saturday Market, where for around 28 years now, she has been selling her produce.
“It’s a nice market,” Thomas said. “They’ve always managed it very well and they’ve kept a good assortment of different kinds of vendors…It’s [also] different. It’s a different atmosphere.”
The Redmond Saturday Market, which opens for its 44th season on May 4, is the only farmers market that The Root Connection sets up booth. Thomas explained that when you start at a market, you have to build up a clientele. She recalls doing it herself the first couple of years and figuring out a way to stand out among the other vendors.
“Everybody has their little niche,” she said. “Most people are respectful of that.”
The Root Connection has been at the market since 1991. Thomas added that they stick to Redmond because they’ve established a great clientele and people know what to expect from them.
This season, customers can plan to see their famous German kohlrabi, rainbow carrots, basil, tomato plants, beets and more.
This Saturday, customers will hear from the Redmond High School pep band around 8:45 a.m. and Redmond opera singer Stacy Porter will sing the national anthem. Mayor John Marchione will ring the triangle at 9 a.m. to officially open the market season.
“It’s a huge big day,” market coordinator Martha Tyler said. “It takes several months of prepping. It’s a tremendous market and it takes a village to get it open. We’re thrilled to be coming back for the 44th year.”
This year, the market took in 12 new vendors including a pottery vendor, soap vendor, furniture maker, collage artist, painter, wine barrel furniture vendor, a garden artist and more.
The Redmond Saturday Market is the third-oldest farmers market in the state of Washington and the customers are Redmond’s prized possession.
“They own this market,” Tyler said about the customers. “The community of Redmond truly adores this market…We appreciate their support and we’re so grateful for the continuous support, year after year.”
The Redmond Saturday Market runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m on Saturdays, with the season running from May 4 to Oct. 26. The market is located at 7730 Leary Way NE.
For more information visit, www.redmondsaturdaymarket.org.
To learn more about The Root Connection Farm, visit www.rootllc.com.