The most wonderful time of the year in Lewis County is farmers market season, and 2023 is no exception. The wide variety of farms, processors, and artisans in Chehalis, Centralia and throughout Lewis County means that residents have a bounty of options for filling their baskets with locally grown produce and meat and locally prepared food, beverages, health and beauty products, gifts and more.

Shopping at farmers markets makes sense and cents. Local purchases support small businesses that are friends and neighbors, such as hard-working farmers, talented cooks, and creative crafters. The profits often stay local, as when tired vendors leave the market and grab dinner from a nearby restaurant. On the other side of the table, customers benefit from the good health of eating fresh food grown nearby. Because the produce is picked at peak ripeness and doesn’t travel hundreds of miles by plane or train, the food offers optimal nutrition and just tastes better. 

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Children get to participate in fun activities so they can make their own purchases at the Chehalis market. Photo courtesy: Community Farmers Market of Chehalis

Community Farmers Market of Chehalis

The Community Farmers Market of Chehalis takes place on Boistfort Street in downtown Chehalis from June to October on Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. A market preview and plant sale will occur on Tuesday, May 9. The market is thrilled to welcome many returning vendors this year, like longtime favorites Piece by Piece Farm, Boistfort Valley Farm, and Simpler Past Homestead, which all provide beautiful organic produce. Other repeat vendors include Blooming Artichoke Herbary, Mediterranean Flavors, River House Bake Shop, Jam Nights, and Wild Heart Sipping Vinegar. This season also features many new vendors who sell wine, mead, Jun kombucha, meat, popcorn, and more.

The Community Farmers Market of Chehalis offers something for everyone. The market is driven to promote a healthy food system, grow a greater sense of community, and promote education and local business development. The Kid’s Club allows participating children to complete an activity and receive $2 in market tokens to spend on fruits, vegetables, or flowers. There is also music adding to the communal vibe downtown.

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Larry from Oak Tree Manor Winery waits for customers to sample his tasty products in Centralia. Photo courtesy: Centralia Farmers Market

Centralia Farmers Market

The longest-running farmers market in Lewis County is the Centralia Farmers Market, open Fridays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It runs from May 5 through September 29, located at Pine Street Plaza in downtown Centralia. This year marks its 45th season. Returning vendors include Alucinor Farms, Green Gardens Farm &  Consultation, Steger Family Farms, Twin Cedars Woodworks, and Olde Achers Farm. Customers will be excited to see Minus Tide Shellfish, Lady McDonalld’s Gourmet Foods, and Brooks Baked Goods. 

The Centralia Farmers Market runs a Kid’s Club from June to August. They also hold special events almost every week, such as a day for seniors and a back-to-school bash. Live music is a feature, as well. The market’s 2022 move to downtown created a lively sense of fun that welcomes everyone.

Chehalis Centralia Lewis County Farmers Markets
Becky, who manages the market in Toledo, takes a break with the market mascots, Shake and Bake. Photo courtesy: Toledo Thursday Market

Toledo Thursday Market

The Toledo Thursday Market operates nine months a year, open Thursdays from 2 to 6 p.m. This season began at Steamboat Landing on March 17 and will remain there until May 19. The market moves to the corner of Cowlitz and Front Streets on May 26. The move back inside for fall is usually the first Thursday in October. The market in Toledo works hard to find a wide variety of vendors who will please their customers’ palates. Highlights include Dragonfly Chocolates, which creates delicious truffles, bars, and caramels, Gunsmoke Food Trailer, who is said to make the world’s best corn dog, and Bee Wrangler Honey. Of course, there are amazing farms like Steger Family Farms, Raven’s Wind Farm, and Vienna Gardens. The market offers a popular pre-order system through Local Line. 

In addition, the Toledo Thursday Market believes that their presence in a small town should be about more than just selling things. They have a room set aside for the Historical Society and other community groups to share their information and sell at no cost.

Chehalis Centralia Lewis County Farmers Markets
Hand-cut and arranged bouquets of flowers from Lonely Mountain Growers are available at the Morton Farmers Market on Saturdays. Photo courtesy: Morton Farmers Market

Morton Farmers Market

The Morton Farmers Market began its season on April 29, coinciding with the Morton Annual Spring Bazaar hosted by Friends of the Morton Parks nonprofit. They were happy to usher in warm weather with a double event to get in the spirit of the season. The market runs Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through October 21. The location is Gust Backstrom Park in Morton at 700 Main Avenue. The market welcomes back with open arms some longtime and favorite vendors who share their harvest with the community. Vienna Gardens, Olde Achers Farm, and Lonely Mountain Growers will sell produce and fruits as the season progresses. Four Cedars Apiary will cover everyone’s honey needs with their hand-harvested and local hive honey. The Morton Farmers Market is thrilled to return to the community, providing fresh food and good times for all. 

Chehalis Centralia Lewis County Farmers Markets
Olde Achers Farm produces top-quality vegetables, which can be found at the Centralia, Morton, and Toledo markets. Photo courtesy: Olde Achers Farm

Lewis County Farmers Market Information

All the markets accept EBT with a matching program, WIC/Senior Benefits, and credit cards. But not all vendors can accept all payments.

“Farmers markets are a great way to connect — not only business to business but community member to community member,” says Alucinor Farms owner Mandi Schoolfield, who vends at both the Chehalis and Centralia markets. “The friendships I’ve made through the markets are invaluable, and the strong sense of connection is present at each one.”

With so many markets to choose from (including ones in Packwood, Pe Ell, and Winlock), Lewis County residents would be wise to visit one of these bustling community hubs. Whether it’s a leisurely trip with friends and family or a quick stop during a lunch break, eating and supporting locals will make a huge impact on these businesses. Besides, getting to know the person who grows the food or makes the products is the epitome of the small-town charm that makes Lewis County such a delightful place to live.

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