Where’s Charlie’s olive oil? | Letter
Editor, The Beacon:
I am a 74-year Washington resident, 45 years in Mukilteo.
We live half the time in New Zealand, and have spent 14 years planting, growing and harvesting 1,400 olive trees on property we own.
Olives do not grow in Washington weather so no one is an olive farmer on land in Washington. But I am a Washington farmer on my farmland in northern New Zealand.
After eight years in the Edmonds Farmers Market selling olive oil that my wife and I produce on our 25-acre New Zealand farm, I am no longer permitted to be a market vendor.
In mid-March, I received an email in New Zealand from the Edmonds Market manager telling me the Edmonds Historical Museum Board had decided that only farm products grown in Washington could be sold in their market.
Therefore, I cannot sell my product in my local farmers market after eight years of being permitted by the board to do so.
She thanked me for being a good vendor for eight years and supporting Edmonds Farmers Market.
The Washington State Farmers Market Association says the ability of customers to talk directly with small farm growers is an objective of its members, like Edmonds Farmers Market.
A letter from the Washington State Farmers Market Association said they had no objection to me selling my oil in the Edmonds Farmers Market--it is solely your Historical Museum Board’s decision.
Hundreds of customers who regularly purchased my high quality artisan olive oil do not know what happened or where they can purchase it.
The Historical Museum Board notification two months before the Market opened cut the rug from under me.
I have no way to contact hundreds who became customers over the last eight years.
I was told that if I brought my oil to Mukilteo in bulk, added something to it like herbs and bottled it here, I would be considered to have produced it in Washington and could continue as a vendor.
My customers and I don’t want anything added to the maskour oil’s outstanding taste.
Fortunately, your quality PCC Natural Market now stocks all my bottle sizes.
I hope to see a few old friends there on Friday, July 11, when I will be offering samples.
Other quality markets, Central Market and Village Market Thriftway, also sell our oil.
See you at PCC Friday, July 11.