For twenty-four years, the Everett Farmers Market has been serving the community. And without the community, the Friday and Sunday markets would not exist — the patrons that flock between the white tents and mingle with our producers, vendors, and artisans
are the wind beneath our sails. But what, exactly, does it mean to be a part of that community?
“I could make my pizza faster than you could go to Papa Johns and bring one home to bake.”
A weekly vendor for 7 years, First Church of Pizza brings handmade wood-fired pizza to the Sunday Everett Farmers Market. Chris Weiss, owner of First Church of Pizza, talks to Everett Farmers Market in this interview and answers some questions about her business, her life, and most importantly, her product–delicious, handmade pizza.
Everett Farmers Market: What do you like about this Farmers market?
Chris Weiss: Diversity–all the different people who come from all these different places
EFM: How did you start your business?
CW: I came from the East coast and my family has been in the restaurant business since 1934. And we do theater, the Anacortes act theater, so we do a lot of plays and I was always making pizza for everyone because, no disrespect, but I didn’t think they make a good pie out here. I like a thin, Boardwalk pizza from New Jersey, where I came from and my grandmother’s restaurant had a lot of that too. So, when I came out here, I wanted, [for my daughter] something with no sugar, no weird oils, no stabilizers, a pure product that I make with the purest things that you could eat on a diet. And so I started making [pizzas] for the theater people and parties, and my daughter for after school and all of her friends.
My friends said, “you should do this for a living” and I said, “well that would be interesting”. I did a party, and people just loved it, and then I went to the market and people loved it there. I have a lot of happy people who come every year. I have a following, groups that show up the first day of the market. They love the pie, and I love to watch people eat, and watch them go, ‘wow, this is great.’
CW: I donate my services every year to the fire department (District 13 in La Conner), and raise money for the fire department and… also for the burn victims for the Phoenix kids out of Bellingham.
EFM: What do you do outside of your business?
CW: We both [Chris and her husband Woody] do theater at the Act theater in Anacortes, we’ve done a lot of plays. I direct… and he was in the last play we did. The Full Monty [was] five or six years ago; we’re too busy [to do more plays]. That was a blast, and that’s why we started, we’re very dramatic too. And we’re not shy at all.
EFM: What does your sign represent?
CW: I went to Catholic school. Those are my hands. The dough of the pizza emanates from [my] hands. Here’s the church, here is the steeple, open the door and here’s all the people. The whole religious thing is basically, I’m here every Sunday and I grew up Roman Catholic, went to Catholic school forever, my grandparents coming from Poland and Italy, very, very catholic. And so I had to do something with all that! I took everything that I learned and I put it in my food.
CW: You know, when you go get a pizza, you’re like ‘oh yeah this is good’, when you eat mine you go ‘oh my gosh what is that.’ The products that I put in it, my spices and everything, I use all of my own oils. I take all the herbs, dry them, and infuse them.
EFM: Do you grow the herbs too?
CW: I do, yes. And I try to keep everything as local as possible, everything as fresh as possible. Nothing from big superstores. That’s what we’re all about, community, and people eating local and fresh.
EFM: It sounds like you have a lot of fun with this.
CW: I do. I would like to open a restaurant in Everett. And I have a whole theme thing that I’d like to go with. And it’s fun! Food, love, we’re very passionate about food.
Kara Underhill the Author
Kara is a Junior in High School and recently enrolled in Running Start at Everett Community College. She is very involved in the music program at Everett High School, as well as the Drama program and Girl’s Wrestling. During the summer, she enjoys spending time with her friends in the sun, baking, playing music, and begin a writer for the Everett Farmers Market.