It’s been an interesting couple of months for the South Perry Farmers Market. After a booming summer season in The Shop’s parking lot, with sales up by 400 percent compared to last summer, the market was searching for an indoor location.
Initially it was moving into a meeting room at the Emmanuel Family Life Center, but fire codes and regulations got in the way and vendors were displaced on the very first market day.
Brian Estes, who’s in charge of the market, continued searching for a building at the heart of the South Perry neighborhood, and on Dec. 2 the market opened at the gym that belongs to the Spokane Buddhist Temple.
At the time, that was a temporary solution because the occupancy certification of the building had to be changed from assembly to also include mercantile.
“And that has happened now. It came through just in time,” Estes said.
The mixed occupancy means the Buddhist Temple can continue to use the building for assembly, and the market can use it first and foremost for its Thursday markets and secondly for classes and community activities.
“We hope it can become a community hub, and we hope to have some shared programming with the temple,” Estes said. “Hopefully, we can continue to create great social space at the center of the neighborhood.”
The building is just north of the main temple and for many years it was the home of a karate dojo, yet it has the feel and look of a grange hall.
At this time of year, the market features bread, cookies and canned items like jams, jellies and preserves. Vendors with smoked salmon and other meats may be there, too, and Estes said there’s a pretty good assortment of root vegetables and winter storage crops.
Fresh turkeys were available just before Christmas and were a big hit.
“It’s the best turkey I’ve had. I was so amazed,” said Estes.
The market board’s annual meeting is coming up soon and Estes said he’s looking forward to the next season, now that the market has a roof over its head.
“We are definitely interested in connecting with people who’d like to participate in what we are organizing, such as a gardening class,” he said. “And I’d like to have an old-fashioned barn dance. We would need different permits for that, but I think we can pull it off.”