MARYSVILLE – The 5-year-old Marysville Farmers Market was in trouble.
The director was leaving to start his own church. Another of its leaders had a baby.
Opening day was coming, and the market didn’t have a leader. The market takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays through Aug. 31 in the parking lot at Grocery Outlet.
Stepping up to take charge was Chloe Bratten, an 18-year-old who had just graduated from Marysville Getchell High School. At the same time she received her associate’s degree from Everett Community College through Running Start. She also played varsity golf, was a drum major in the marching band and helps her dad coach both boys and girls soccer teams.
Obviously an overachiever, Bratten didn’t take on the challenge for the experience working in business. She wants a career in animation.
She did it for the community.
“It was super spur of the moment. If no one else will do it, I guess I will,” said Bratten, who has volunteered at the market from its inception. “It’s important for Marysville. It should have a market.”
Bratten actually has taken on the responsibility of three volunteer jobs: market manager, president and vendor coordinator. As manager she’s there at 7:30 a.m. helping to set up, and teardown usually ends around 3 p.m. She spends about five hours the rest of the week on other things, like checking out other farmers markets “to see what they’re like.” As president she runs meetings with the other volunteers. Reaching out to vendors in the toughest part of the job, she said.
“Life happens,” and they can’t make it, she said, adding it’s bad when the market looks empty if she can’t find a replacement.
The market got off to a rough start.
“For a few weeks it was a little iffy” with just she and her parents volunteering. But volunteers from Allen Creek Community Church have helped and made things easier more recently, she added.
Another challenge was “not knowing what I don’t know,” she said. “A lot of things I wasn’t aware of yet. Stuff was not getting done.”
But she has persevered. Bratten said she likes the move to Grocery Outlet from City Hall, because it provides better access for people in wheelchairs or with strollers.
She said the location is a “win-win” for both as sales go up at Grocery Outlet when the market is going on. People tend to buy at both locations.
As for her future, Bratten plans to take online college through Full Sail University in September. She wants to stay home and be involved in church.
“Me and my family are really close. I want to learn but still be grounded in the community,” she said.
Bratten said the vendors and people who buy products have formed their own tight community.
“People come to the market every week,” she said, “even in the pouring rain. People who love the farmers market really love it.”
•Vendors include: Tualco Valley Produce, Lopez Brothers fruits and vegetables, beef from Clear Valley Farms, Hmong Flowers, and other vendors who sell items like candles, tea, honey, soaps and crafts.