Only 23 More Shopping Days Till… Well, You Know

I hate shopping.

Far as I’m concerned, shopping ranks right up there with a root canal sans Novocain. For one thing, I’m not a big fan of mile-long check-out lines. Nor am I keen on folks who block aisles like they’re stretched out on a beach hammock in Maui or think the space between canned goods and pasta sauce is an ideal place for a family reunion. And have you ever noticed how stuffy it is in some of those stores?

On the rare occasions when I am forced to endure The Dreaded Shopping Expedition, I march to the elusive aisle where the necessary consumer product is supposedly lurking – it’s usually jumped ship to another hiding place since my last visit – identify, target, bracket, grab, check out, and bail.  Preferably at warp speed.

I’m just funny that way. At least I was, until I made the mistake of breathing while I was chugging past the Grays Harbor Farmers Market recently.

Rounding the corner near the market, the tongue-tantalizing aroma of Nancy’s freshly baked cookies reeled me in like a fish.  Once inside, I found out that Nancy’s Bakery offers a whole lot more than mouth-watering cookie aromas. Like wild blackberry Danish and tarts. Toffee-coconut cookies. Orange marmalade. Strawberry, raspberry, marionberry and raspberry jams. Russian tea cakes. Pecan and cranberry bars. A delicious array of sauces (rhubarb, raspberry-chocolate, apple pie) and salsa (mild, hot, fire hot and pineapple). And about a million types of fresh pie.

Local Products

Remind me never to hit the Farmer’s Market on an empty stomach. Even if you don’t, however, there are options galore. Most products are from local suppliers with an emphasis on organic goods. The refrigerated section features farm fresh organic eggs ($3.75/doz.), Bratwurst sausage, Jalapeño pepperoni and Purity organic juice drinks. Outside, you can select fresh seasonal produce and browse an iridescent array of locally grown plants, flowers, and other cool stuff.

Speaking of options, the market is also home to an eclectic variety of arts and crafts-ish creations from local artisans. Like:

  • Fosse dressings and marinade made in Raymond
  • “Plum Local” (lavender sachets, stitchery, quilts, primitive painting, woodworking and drums)
  • Tea Time Linens (hats, quilts, and T-shirts)
  • Elton Bennet prints
  • Wood Gems 4 U – from Copalis Beach
  • Woods n Toys
  • Pat’s Gifts (baby sweater sets, afghans, bibs and blankets)
  • Spirit Sisters jewelry – Quinault
  • Rainwater Botanicals – Hoquiam (“Natural-derived skincare” that includes scented bath and shaving soap + a variety of facial soaps and related products.)

The market is a team effort. When I asked about operations and vendors, I was told that “Each vendor takes one shift a week to take care of the whole market. The rest is divided between Nancy and the bakery. The deli is separate.”

The building is owned by the city of Hoquiam. The market is managed by Barbara Parsons. It’s been at its current location on Riverside Avenue in Hoquiam since the early 1990s. Across from the old Moose Lodge.

Okay, Class

There are 23 shopping days till Christmas. Ladies, if you’re looking for something unique for The Man Who Has Everything (who shall remain nameless), consider the Grays Harbor Farmers Market. Fellas, if you’re being threatened with imminent bodily harm if you try to disguise one more Skilcraft product as a personal gift, check out the market. Tip: You can also take her to lunch at Diedra’s Deli. Homemade soups, sandwiches and salads.  Just off the Hoquiam River. (I’d bring a sweater if I were you.)

Conservelocity loves entrepreneurs. So if you want to support hometown entrepreneurs, give the local economy a boost, are looking for unique, high-quality gift items, a quaint place to satiate a serious sweet tooth or an empty stomach, you know what to do. (Besides, where else can you browse to the toe-tapping tunes of the Andrew Sisters, Fred Astaire and Artie Shaw?)

Meanwhile, who knows? One of these days I may even get the hang of shopping (keep an eye out for flying pigs).

Grays Harbor Farmers Market is located at 1958 Riverside Avenue in Hoquiam. Open six days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For more info., visit: Grays Harbor Farmers Market.

Oh, and registration for January’s Roanoke Conference is open.  Early bird discount is $100 pp.

– The shopping post was originally published in August. Had some requests for a re-run, so there ya go. –