Montavilla Farmers Market goes fallow after another great season

How did this outer East Portland market fare this year? We’ll dig to the root of the truth for you, in this fascinating article …

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Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Running this year until late in November, the Montavilla Farmers Market on SE Stark Street had a great season, according to its manager, Gretchan Jackson.

“We went from an eleven-week season the first year, to 17 weeks last year, and 20 weeks this year,” smiled Jackson. “The market has condensed as we get later in the season, but we had many folks coming by to stock up for the holidays.”

Montavilla Farmers Market manager, Gretchan Jackson, says they look forward to another great year in 2010.

On the last day of the market, Jackson said they saw about 1,400 customers. “During the fall season, our customer count dipped to about 800 shoppers, but all year long, we’ve had strong traffic, about 1,000 people per market day.”

During the height of season, every market space – a total of 34 vendors – was filled.

With Erik Huget playing guitar and Jason Jaworski bowing the fiddle, two members of the 71st Ave. Ramblers serenade shoppers at the final Montavilla Farmers Market of the 2009 season.

Kathryn Yeomans, the Market’s resident chef, gave cooking demonstrations and impromptu cooking lessons throughout the season, using fresh foods from market vendors.

Putting on the market is worth the effort, Jackson told us. “People are able to get fresh and local produce from the outlying farms from our market. It’s important that we re-establish that farm-to-customer connection. And, it’s important that we start to incorporate fresh foods into our diets. The market accomplished both of these goals every week. Additionally, we also provided a space for the community to gather each week.”

The market crew and volunteers are taking December off to rest. “But, we’ll restart in January, as we continue to plan for the new season,” Jackson said. “If you want to volunteer, or get more information, check our website (CLICK HERE) or send an e-mail to our volunteer coordinator:

(Also from our cover) Dulmelis Gonzalez from Gabriel’s Bakery bags some of the season’s last goodies for us to take home and enjoy.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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