Rose Ehl hasn’t had a summer off in 19 years, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Ehl, director of the Federal Way Farmers Market, was voted best community leader by the residents of Federal Way.
“It was my dream to start it to begin with,” Ehl said of the market. “It took about a year for us to put it together … it’s rewarding to see it growing and becoming a community market as well as a farmers market.”
Ehl started the market with manager Karla Kolibab in the early 2000s. After five location moves and hundreds of Saturdays ranging from full sunshine to thunderstorms, 2022 is the market’s 19th season.
The market runs every Saturday from May through October. In the winter, Ehl and Kolibab usually host a holiday market. There’s a small break over the December holidays, then it’s right back to planning and prepping for the next farmers market season, Ehl said.
“It’s neat to have the community coming together. I strive to make it better every year, a better experience for the customers and the vendors,” Ehl said.
Over the years, the market has grown to include talent competitions, live music and fitness demonstrations, Halloween costume contests, flash mobs and ever-changing seasonal inventories of fresh local produce.
Prior to starting the market, Ehl worked in advertising for the Federal Way News, which later became the Federal Way Mirror. She then became a sales representative for the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce.
Her community connections made over the years had created an accessible and welcoming network when she had the idea to start the farmers market.
Ehl said she is thankful for the dozens of volunteers, the customers who visit each week and her vendors who bring their business to the Federal Way Farmers Market each season.
“I’m just so appreciative of these people that take their time to come out to the market each week and help us,” she said.
The first day of the 2022 season is Saturday, May 7. The Federal Way Farmers Market is located behind The Commons mall along South 324th Street.