I am glad I don’t really have to depend on the weather to make my living.
This past week went from cold, rainy, 40 degree temperatures to downright balmy by the week’s end. Farmers do have to deal with such changes and gamble constantly on when to sow, plant, water. After the snowpocalypse and the flooding in April, I imagine some are wondering how farmers in the region have fared?
On Thursday, May, 4 at 7 p.m., some of these intrepid and hardy lot are closing down 7th Street between Main Street and Washington for the opening of the annual South Valley Farmers’ Market.
And while fresh seasonal organic food, locally grown and field fresh is a very delicious and tempting draw there is much more. There will be vendors offering their hand made crafts, soaps, baked goods, sustainably harvested coffee, plant starts, herbal products and surprises.
The market will also feature entertainment, education and engagement.
Andrea Mull, this season’s Farmers’ Market manager, was very enthusiastic in describing the variety that will be offered through the market.
A partial list of vendors include Branch Road Farm, Brice Creek Croft, Singing Creek Farm, Star Ranch, Laurel Mountain Coffee, Boho Boto, Sudsy Sasquatch, and Apposable Thumb to name a few. There will also be a community booth where folks who are wanting to try vending can dip their toe in the water or if they don’t have enough wares to fill a regular space can use this commingled space to offer their wares.
Mull also explained some of the philosophy behind the Market.
“Regionalism” is the idea that crops are adapted to our region and climate making them more successful and bountiful.
“Farmers’ markets help you gain an understanding of what’s available locally and also learn how to make your own garden more successful,” Mull said.
Food security is also a reason to support local farmers. You often have no idea where food in the grocery store comes from and what was done to it before it reaches you. At the farmers’ market there is no such ambiguity, plus in the event of a natural disaster you want your food producer as local as you can get.
Probably the best reason for coming out to the market is it is FUN! It is very family-friendly, so bring the kids, pets on leashes and enjoy the live music or take part in one of the special presenters such as Shauna Neigh, master recycler. It is a great way to experience our historic downtown and Opal Park.
The idea of the farmers’ market has been around since the early 2000s and it has moved about.
Probably many of you remember when music on Wednesday was held in Coiner Park, well the farmers were there too. They have tried various locations and have been downtown now for their fourth season.
They are now incorporated into a 501-c-6 member organization with a board and vendor members. And the market is always encouraging and looking for new vendors.
So if you have a locally produced product, craft, or agricultural offering you are encouraged to check in with the farmers market and become a part of this community. Look them up on Facebook @Cottagegrovefarmersmarket or [email protected].
A reason to check out the market regularly is that as the season changes, so do the offerings. As different crops mature there is the seasonal variety. One way to experience this is to set up a CSA box with one of the farms. For a monthly fee you receive a generous offering of what is being harvested that week through a Community Supported Agriculture agreement. What a great way to support local farms and eat the best food available, farm fresh to your table. Be sure try the membrillo, quince paste when it is available in the fall as the market runs through October.
Karen Bentson let us know about some welcome news, “The farmers’ market will be offering SNAP match for the third year. Customers buying food with SNAP benefits can double their dollars to purchase fresh produce. This program will run until the end of 2019, and later in the summer it is also a great place to spend Farm Direct Nutrition vouchers for Seniors and WIC families.”
So see you next Thursday as the South Valley Farmers’ Market opens their 2019 season, located at 7th and Main in Cottage Grove.
Shop local, buy local, eat local!
Dana Merryday can be reached at 541-942-7037 or by emailing [email protected].