Springtime in Oregon means that farmer’s markets are back! There are so many reasons to check out the market closest to you and see what it has to offer. Each market is a little different, and that is part of the fun. Vendors and products are unique and even change from week to week. You never know what new food or art you will discover on each visit.
Many of Oregon’s farmer’s markets start during the first week of May. They will run through the end of summer, and a few even extend into November. Most are open once a week, and the day of the week varies based on your town. Saturday is the most common day, but check yours because there are markets, like in Bend and Newberg, that are open on Wednesdays. Find out the day and location of your local market, and you can make a weekly visit with your family.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are the hallmarks of any farmer’s market, and in Oregon, we are lucky to have so many local family farms providing quality produce. Rather than being picked and shipped, local farmers offer fruits and vegetables that are harvested when ripe and ready. As a result, your choices at the market will change with the growing seasons but will taste better because everything is picked at the right time. Buying from the market also allows you to know where your produce comes from, and you can build a relationship with a farm that fits your family’s needs. We love knowing that our berries come from a farm that does not use pesticides.
In addition to fresh produce, you will find a mix of other delicious food options at your farmer’s market. Some vendors cook on-site, making breakfast and lunch dishes, while other vendors have prepackaged products such as honey, salsa, and other sauces to sell. There might also be a bakery vendor with bread and desserts or a popcorn vendor with bags of caramel and kettle corn. If you do not find what you are craving at your market, try again the next week or look for another one close by. Vendors do change and so do the products they offer each week.
Nestled among the produce and food vendors will be booths filled with art and homemade goods. These booths add a unique flavor to each market. You may find something to wear, hang on your wall, or decorate your garden. Art booths are also wonderful places to look for gifts, especially for summer holidays like Mother’s and Father’s Day. You can find something unique and support a local artist at the same time.
Fresh cut flowers are my personal favorite item to buy at the farmer’s market. The large, colorful bouquets are a fantastic present and are reasonably priced. They are so popular at our farmer’s market that they often sell out, especially on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, so you must arrive early to get one. Like the fruit and vegetables, the options at your flower vendor stand will also change through the summer, giving you a chance to appreciate a variety of gorgeous flowers all season.
A trip to the farmer’s market can be fun for the whole family. Find out when your local market reopens this spring and add it to a list of weekly family options. It is a great way to feel part of your community, support local businesses and artists, and have fun together.
Mary Weggeland grew up in Alaska but has called Oregon home for the last ten years. She lives in Sherwood with her husband and three kids. When she is not writing, Mary enjoys reading fiction, making crafts, and baking desserts. She also loves road trips and exploring Oregon with her family.