Outdoor market open year ’round, in Montavilla

A ‘farmers market’ in February? Take a look, and find out why this novel idea seems to be catching on. They’re not held every week, though; find out here when and where the next market will sprout up …

Elias Cairo, with Olympic Provisions, sells his handmade chorizo to Mo McKenna, who drives in from the Woodstock neighborhood.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
During the winter months, most farmers markets pack away their awnings and vendors and await signs of springtime. Not in Montavilla!

“We call them ‘Winter Stock-up Markets’,” explained Montavilla Farmer’s Market Manager Gretchan Jackson.

Montavilla Farmers Market Manager Gretchan Jackson says that holding winter markets keeps the ideal of shopping for fresh local food in customers’ minds all year long.

“Isn’t this kind of a wacky idea, here in Oregon?” we asked.

“Yes, you might say that – both here in Montavilla, and for farmers markets in general,” acknowledged Jackson. “It’s been a vision of mine, as a market founder and manager. I’d like to see year-around markets. This is a way to ‘keep the conversation going’ with the community, about shopping locally for fresh food.”

“Fresh food?” we quiz.

“Look around,” Jackson responded to our tongue-in-cheek inquisition. “We’re showing folks that now, long after other markets have closed for the season, there’s still a lot of variety left to be had in the marketplace.”

Charlie Wicker with Trailhead Coffee Roasters serves up samples; his brew is seems particularly welcome at the chilly winter market.

Unlike their weekly summer markets, Jackson said, “It’s a rural-style market. This means that our vendors can park on-site. They roll up, just before the market is scheduled to open, and put out their merchandise.”

At these monthly markets, some ten vendors bring in meats, cheeses, eggs, produce, apples, pears, and breads.

So far, it seems to be just the right thing, for the vendors and for the shoppers. Woodstock resident, and board member of the market, Mo McKenna, was shopping when we visited in January. “I think it’s a great idea. Look at all the people here today!” McKenna told us.

Matt Parker from Montavilla learns about squash, as he shops with Rod Tachenko of Vals Veggies in Baker City, Oregon.

Second Sundays in Montavilla
Unlike their summer season, these Winter Stock-up Markets are held on the second Sunday on the month – and for two hours only: From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Come at 1:30, and you’re likely to find an empty lot.

The next Winter Stock-up Market is on February 13. It’s located in the 7600 block of SE Stark Street in Montavilla (across from Mr. Plywood). For more information, see their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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