Fresh, Local, Authentic Food – Worth the Journey to Jefferson County

Fresh, Local, Authentic Food – Worth the Journey to Jefferson County

Discover the rich culinary heritage and local produce of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula at the Jefferson County Farmers Market. Explore diverse offerings from Jefferson County businesses while enjoying community events and convenient access to Port Townsend’s attractions. The fresh, local, authentic food is worth the journey to Jefferson County.

Authentic Food and Farming Culture

The Olympic Peninsula is a mesmerizing destination renowned for its diverse ecosystems and breathtaking landscapes. It boasts a vibrant, authentic food and farming culture, particularly in the east side’s lush Quilcene and Chimacum valleys. This sets the table for the delicious, fresh, local food scene found in Port Townsend. Jefferson County Farmers Market (JCFM) has been a cornerstone of this culture for 32 years, operating the Port Townsend and Chimacum Farmers Markets. JCFM showcases local culinary champions and plays a pivotal role in promoting regional agriculture and community engagement.

Fresh, Local and Authentic Food is worth the journey to Jefferson County
Farmers Market | Photo courtesy of Sarah Wright Photography

Under the leadership of Market Director Amanda Milholland, her passionate board and a lean staff, JCFM has experienced significant growth and development. Milholland’s strategic vision has led to the acquisition of grants and the expansion of partnerships. This has enhanced the market’s impact as an organization dedicated to supporting local producers and artisans.

Jefferson County Farmers Market Focuses on Local Businesses

What sets JCFM apart is its unwavering focus on Jefferson County businesses. Unlike many other farmers markets, JCFM prioritizes vendors from the immediate vicinity, offering products sourced from within a 50-mile radius. With approximately 80 vendors, the majority hailing from Jefferson County, the market serves as a vital platform for local entrepreneurs to showcase their goods. Exciting new additions, such as Nature Girls Acres, Pixie Honey & Mead, and Bella Bella Cupcakes, bring fresh perspectives and authentic Olympic Coastal Cuisine offerings to the market.

Fresh, Local and Authentic Cioppino is worth the journey to Jefferson County

Authentic Chinese Dumplings

“One of the vendors I’m most excited about is Lily’s Chinese dumplings and traditional Chinese tea. Lily is from China and she and her husband both worked in the restaurant industry there before relocating to Jefferson County. This will be her first year at the market bringing traditional Chinese dumplings and tea. It’s something really unique, both to the market and our community, to have that level of very authentic Chinese food and freshly available,” says Milholland. Check out the full list of market vendors.

Cultivating a Vibrant Community Atmosphere

In addition to its role as a marketplace, JCFM cultivates a vibrant community atmosphere. Live music, special events, and monthly activities for children and families create an immersive experience for visitors to the Port Townsend and Chimacum Farmers Markets. The Saturday market serves as a gateway for exploring the charming town of Port Townsend. Centrally located in the heart of Uptown, the market provides convenient access to nearby attractions such as Fort Worden, Chetzemoka Park and historic downtown landmarks. Accessibility is a priority, with ample parking, ADA accommodations, and convenient fare-free public transportation options are aplenty.

Port Townsend Farmers Market | Photo courtesy of Deja View Photography

Environmental Sustainability

Port Townsend itself is hailed as a bike-conscious community, offering scenic routes and dedicated infrastructure for cyclists. Amanda Milholland advocates for biking as a sustainable transportation option, personally walking or biking year-round, and aligning with annual initiatives like National Bike to Work Week, May 13–19, 2024. The city’s commitment to innovative additions of Edge Lane Roads, bike lanes and promoting cycling and pedestrian improvements—even at the Uptown location of Saturday’s JCFM—reflects its dedication to environmental sustainability and community well-being.

JCFM Director Amanda Milholland

Farmers Markets Offer Cultural Significance

Beyond its economic and environmental impact, JCFM offers cultural significance as a gathering place where residents and visitors come together to celebrate local agriculture and culinary traditions. Its influence extends far beyond the two weekly Farmers Market grounds, contributing to the overall vitality and resilience of Jefferson County’s economy and cultural heritage. Milholland observes, “I witness this weekly when Chef/owner Kyle Nicholson of Green Crow Taco Company, and Chef/co-owner Deb Taylor of Restaurant Finistère shop the market for that evening’s Fresh Sheet ingredients and inspiration.” Other local restaurants keeping the hyperlocal theme of JCFM growing include Chef Troy at Spirits Bisto at The Old Alcohol Plant Inn, Chef Dan at Fireside Restaurant at The Resort at Port Ludlow, Alison Hero at Silverwater Café, and many others.

Chef Dan, Fireside Restaurant, points to sourcing map | Photo courtesy of Jess Caldwell

Where Nature’s Bounty Meets Human Creativity

In essence, JCFM stands as a testament to the rich tapestry of the Olympic Peninsula, where nature’s bounty meets human creativity and community spirit. As visitors flock—or peddle—to experience this region’s wonders, they are treated to stunning landscapes and invited to partake in a thriving food and farming culture that nourishes both body and soul. Visit Jefferson County Farmers Market in Port Townsend Saturdays April through December, and in Chimacum Sundays June through October.

Dig into more Jefferson County culinary details or plan to eat your way around the entire Olympic Culinary Loop. The fresh, local, authentic food is worth the journey to Jefferson County!

By Guest Blogger Steve Shively, Jefferson County Tourism Coordinating Council

Cover Photo courtesy of David Conklin Photography

Click HERE for upcoming events on the Olympic Peninsula.

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