End of the season report: Farmers markets grow, but changes are coming

Come on along and take a tour with us – as we visit the Lents International, Parkrose, and Montavilla farmers markets, on their final regular market days. Miss your farmers market? See when Montavilla is hosting a special “Thanksgiving Market” in November …

Savino, of Amaro’s Produce, offers a colorful display at the last Lents International Farmers Market for 2011.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Customers of outer East Portland’s farmers markets continue to expand, as do their market seasons. We took a tour of our markets, each on their last market day of the season, to learn more about their year – and their plans for 2012.

Lents International Farmers Market

Shoppers buy their last fruits and veggies at the Lents International Farmers Market for the season.

  • On our front page, Sophia Haggard and Amee Swanson shop at the Lents International Farmers Market.

The 2011 Lents International Farmers Market season drew to close on October 17.

The newest of the three outer East Portland markets, they’re still in the process of expanding their season and adding vendors.

The “Ruby Feathers Band” keeps toes tapping at the Lents International Farmers Market.

“It’s been a good market, and I’m glad I could get involved,” said Market Manager Sarah Broderick. “I took over from Eliza Davenport at the end of July, when she moved to Boston to become a grad student.”

But, her big news, Broderick said, is about the 2012 season.

Lents Market Manager Sarah Broderick shows off produce with vendor Tatyana Puzur of “Happy Moment Farm”.

“Next year, we’ll be open on Friday evenings from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m., instead of on Sunday mornings,” Broderick told us. “We’re pretty excited about it. We are trying to explore opportunities for the market, and for our vendors and customers.”

Their market’s board decided to make the change when they realized that there are no other Friday markets in Portland. “We decided that maybe having a Friday afternoon or evening market could serve the Lents community, and provide a ‘community time’ – kind of a ‘happy hour’ atmosphere in which to come and get food for the weekend.”

The “sweetest pea” in the market is Jill Kuehler, Zenger Farm’s Executive Director, who hands out information about the 2012 season.

Many afternoon markets close at 7 p.m. or earlier,  Broderick pointed out. “But some of our steering committee members said too many people don’t get home much before then. We’ll see if staying open until 8 p.m. helps bring in customers.”

Their 2012 season is scheduled to run from June 15 to October 26. For more information, e-mail Broderick at lentsfarmersmarket@gmail.com.

Parkrose Farmers Market

Because it’s Halloween weekend, vendors – like Count Vinicio Benois and Ghostly Christopher Allen-Benois from VC Bath and Body Treats – dress up for the Parkrose Farmers Market.

The season came to a close for the Parkrose Farmers Market on October 29.

Overall, it was a good year for the market, reported Steve Voorhees, the Market Master. “That is the honorary title for being an unpaid manager,” he explains.

Farmer, and Parkrose Farmers Market Manager Steve Voorhees, wraps up a purchase for Toni Eivers.

“We’ve done excellent,” Voorhees recounted. “We were a little low on the vendor count – averaging 31 paying vendors this year – due to the economy. But, the community has been behind us 100%. There’s not been a complaint. So, as long as they keep coming, we will keep providing for them.”

An obvious change in the market, at its season closer, was a change in location – having moved east along the NE Shaver Street to the parking lot of Parkrose High School, nearest NE 122nd Avenue. “The school district plans to use part of the parking lot, where we were, to stage construction materials for building the new Parkrose Middle School.”

Lots of folks come out, even on the market’s last day, to shop for food and have some fun.

Robert Rogers serenades shoppers at the Parkrose Farmers Market.

Voorhees commended the market’s six volunteer board members, and the volunteer crew that helps them set up and tear down each market morning and night. “About five volunteers come on a given Saturday from a pool of 15 good folks who help us out.”

One of the things that sets the Parkrose market apart, Voorhees suggested, is that they provide tables to nonprofit organizations to promote their projects “as long as they’re not competing with what the vendor are offering. We’ve hosted Parkrose Outdoor School, for example.”

One of the nonprofit booths in the Parkrose Market is that of the Neighborhood Coffee tent, staffed this day by neighborhood association volunteers Pat Marcum, Jim Murphy, and Mary Walker.

Anyone in the community can become a member of the Parkrose Farmers Market, he added.  “We’re a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization. It’s $35 a year to be a member of the market, to help us out. That money goes toward advertising, stalls, helping to pay for electricity, and garbage pickup.”

So, when the season opens next May, the Parkrose Farmers market will be even easier to find – right up front of Parkrose High. Stay in touch by visiting their website: CLICK HERE.

Montavilla Farmers Market

Even on its last day, the Montavilla Farmers Market teems with activity, with a full complement of vendors.

Finally, October 30 was the last day of their fifth regular season for the Montavilla Farmers Market.

The market’s manager, Gretchan Jackson, had the day off, but board member Taunia Mann filled in for her.

Montavilla Farmers Market board member Taunia Mann says she’s a farm girl at heart.

“You keep saying this is our last market,” Mann teased. “But we have a ‘Harvest Market’ coming up on November 20!”

About the market, Mann smiled, “This season has been good. It’s great to see lots of families coming in to shop. They say they like it because we have lots of vendors – and a good variety of them – when they come to visit.”

Briana Sherry from the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood shops with Groundwork Organics from Junction City.

Chef Jason McCammon with Saben Skills Center teaches how to make “Pups in Blankets” – baked for them by Flying Pie Pizza, just east of the market.

Having joined the market’s board in June, Mann says she enjoys volunteering, because, “I am a neighbor; this is my neighborhood. And, I’m also a farm girl. I volunteered last year and liked it. I do it because I am a strong believer in knowing where my food comes from.”

As was also the case at the other markets, Mann said that the group of regular volunteers who set up and take down the market every Sunday are invaluable. “It is volunteers who make our market successful.”

Love decadent chocolate treats – making you sad because the market is closed for the season?  Chocolateer Vanessa Holden of Missionary Chocolates says you can buy their goodies online, any time of the year!

November 20 Holiday Market
Remember, Montavilla Farmers Market is holding a special Thanksgiving Season Market between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 20.

That will featuring locally raised, grown, & created foods and crafts. You’ll find tender lettuce & greens, crisp radishes, baby beets, fresh baked bread & pastries, sweet ripe strawberries, and lively music – rain or shine.

It’ll be located in the 7600 Block of SE Stark Street, just west of the Academy Theater, and across the street from Mr. Plywood. For more information, see their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

Comments are closed.

© 2005-2021 David F. Ashton East PDX News™. All Rights Reserved.