VIGA hires new manager for farmers market

The Vashon Island Growers Association has hired Islander Alison Bockus as the new Vashon Farmers Market manager for the 2010 season, which begins with the year’s first market this Saturday, March 20.

Bockus, 39, is a mother of twins and the former owner of a garden retail store in Seattle, which she and her husband operated until a year and a half ago, when they closed it to spend more time as a family.

A longtime shopper at the farmers market, Bockus said she loves how local and homegrown the items for sale at the market are.

“I love that the money goes right to growers; I love the seasonality of the produce, and the crafts are all locally made,” she said.

She’s eager, she said, to get to know the community of the farmers market.

“It’s a great community of growers and crafters, and I’m looking forward to getting to know a great group of Island people,” Bockus said. “It’s a treasure to have all these farms and locally grown produce.”

Bockus said her 12 years of experience running Herban Pottery & Patio gives her the retail and marketing experience needed to manage the market, which saw its sales decline slightly last year. Merrilee Runyan, who chairs VIGA’s Farmers Market Committee, agreed.

“She brings a strong set of merchandising and management skills to the market,” Runyan said. “We are very excited to welcome her to our organization.”

Bockus, who replaces former market manager Ivan Weiss, predicts great things for the market this year.

“I think it’s going to be a fantastic year for the farmers market,” she said. “The growers have been working all winter and spring for this. It’s really important to support them — now more than ever.”

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