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Dues Produce Barn debuts 'Spring Fling'
MARYSVILLE — Dues Produce Barn in Marysville invited the surrounding community to its first "Spring Fling" on Saturday, March 15, drawing more than 20 vendors and close to 200 attendees within its first two hours, according to Becky Due herself.
"It's great to see so many local folks in one place," Due said. "We managed to pack 21 vendors inside the barn, with two more camped outside our front entrance."
While Kristina Hiatt, of Kris' Crafty Pet Creations of Marysville, used her sewing machine to embroider names on pet collars, fellow Marysville resident Tracy Adams offered shoppers free samples of the pico de gallo and salsa she makes for Tracy's Salsa Fix.
"I've been doing this for the past six months, since my three grandkids came to live with me," said Adams, as one of her grandkids, Mallary Walker, snacked happily on salsa and chips. "I needed a way to raise cash while staying at home, and I'd lived in Mexico, in Cabo San Lucas, so this seemed like a natural fit."
All of Adams' jars of salsa that day had been made fresh the night before, and she estimated that they'd last about seven months, but warned customers that, the longer they waited to eat the salsa, the spicier it would become.
Julie Davis served up samples of her own sirloin tip chuck roast, from Arlington's Clear Valley Farm, that she'd cooked with onion, and extolled the virtues of grass-fed Lowline Angus beef, which she's partnered with the Dues to provide on a weekly preorder basis at their produce farm.
"Julie's a great grower," Due said, noting that Clear Valley Farm also provides fresh produce. "I love to hear about folks in the community growing more produce. We stock ours by freshness, not by volume. You won't find any produce here that's a day old."
Christina Smith's Loops Dujour reflects her philosophy that having a healthy diet doesn't mean settling for less tasty foods.
"Food is medicine," Smith said, as she spooned out samples of her carrot cake, pumpkin butter and caramel apple-flavored varieties of jam. "I do my own canning. When you can get food that's organically grown, with healthy ingredients, it can become a way of life."
On the other end of the spectrum was Stacey Kallinen, whose Humble Pie Catering serves Marysville, Lake Stevens and beyond, and whose own table at the "Spring Fling," placed right next to Smith's, tempted browsers with decidedly less health-minded fare.
"I've got not only Rice Krispies bars, but also Trix bars," said Kallinen, who had to use tongs to pull the sticky and sugary cereal-based treats apart from each other. "My house salad dressing has a touch of chipotle, and my mac and cheese has about $35 worth of cheeses, including extra sharp cheddar and parmesan."
"It's just been awesome and unbelievable how many people have turned out for this," said Due, who staged the produce barn's first holiday festival this past winter, after opening in the Dues' current Marysville location last summer. "Starting this May, I'll be opening the barn to 10 vendors each weekend, to give them more space to display their wares."
Indeed, Due has a whole calendar of events coming up this year, from a car show in support of Relay For Life to a tie-in to the Strawberry Festival, followed by the barn's first fall festival and second winter holiday festival.
"We're so excited that the local community has opened its arms to us," said Due, who welcomed followers on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DuesProduceBarn.
In the meantime, Dues Produce Barn is inviting horticulturists and those looking for the ideal Mother's Day gift to check out its "May Day Madness" on Saturday, May 3, starting at 10 a.m. and offering hanging baskets, geraniums, basket-stuffers, veggie starts, succulents and more.