Farmers Market taking a little time out for remodel

Remodeling. The very word causes me to shudder convulsively.

I decided after the last big project that my sanity couldn’t survive another remodel. But that was several years ago, and the pain faded into distant memory. Remodeling is much like childbirth, except that it goes on and on and on.

There isn’t one single room or closet in our house that hasn’t been completely remodeled, and I have to admit, every one of those projects was my idea. Yes, I’m the one who decided that the living room was too cramped. I lugged my father’s old sledgehammer up from the basement and attacked the old cracked plaster. Boy, is that ever a great way to vent your frustrations!

I was grinning from ear to ear as the walls came down, my head flung back, crowing with exhilaration. Then came the process of cleaning up and rebuilding. Not so easy as swinging a sledgehammer, believe you me. Through the years the old house withstood my impetuous assaults on it, bravely bracing itself for more misery.

We saved the most gruesome remodel until last — the kitchen. That’s when I made my promise of no more remodeling. For someone who loves to cook and rarely eats out, having the kitchen torn up for several months was exhausting. I had a little kitchen area set up on long folding tables in the living room and kept telling myself that it was like an extended camping trip, but with electricity. Didn’t help much.

Now the remodeling bug is back but not at home this time, thank Heaven! You have probably noticed the new construction going on at the Grays Harbor Farmers Market, aka my second home.

The new addition sits on the westerly side of our building and houses two shiny new bathrooms, a gracious lobby area, and best of all a cozy office for me. I love my new office. I coo with happiness as I open the door each morning. The joys of working from home are enormously over-rated. Sure, you can work in your jammies and have a kitty sitting at your feet as you work away on the computer. But you also start work at an unholy hour and never really clock out of the job.

From my new office I can hear the ladies in Deidra’s Deli laughing away as they prep food for the day, I can stroll into the kitchen and pretend that the cookies need to be evaluated by the head taste tester. When the mushroom foragers come in, I can inspect the bounty before getting back to the book work. My contentment will have one more major disruption however — now the old bathrooms need to be demolished. Starting today, Oct. 28, we are packing up everything in the market so that the sledgehammers can be slung with gusto starting Monday morning. If all goes according to plan (and prayers!) The walls will be gone, the patching finished, the cleaning complete and the fresh paint on the walls by Monday, Nov. 5.

How, you may ask, has a vendor co-op Farmers Market been able to afford such a major improvement? Because we have a landlord that understands the importance of a hometown Farmers Market to a community and takes their role seriously — The City of Hoquiam! Applause, applause! No matter how many times or in how many ways I say Thank You, it will never be enough. The administration of the city has watched the market through good times and bad, encouraging us as we have grown, rewarding that growth and success with the ability to vastly improve our connection with our customers. By next summer we will have windows and access from Deidra’s Deli onto our hitherto neglected back deck. Hoquiam will once again have outdoor riverview dining! Being a bit of a dreamer (I prefer the word visionary!) I can close my eyes and imagine people strolling along the riverside walkway, stopping to savor the view and the food, enjoying a deli sandwich or picnic lunch before stocking up on our best of the best pastries and organic produce. Our artists and craftspeople can share their wares with an ever widening audience, and Hoquiam will become even better known for upholding a standard of excellence.

Meanwhile, we’ll be busy next week creating a new open look for all of our loyal customers. Look for the new wall paint color in my hair, I’m an awfully messy painter.

Barbara Bennett Parsons, manager of the Grays Harbor Farmers Market in Hoquiam. You can reach her by email at