Pic – CFA board member and vendor sets up her booth where she sells plant starts and raspberry plants for home gardeners. The farmer’s market started its 2014 season last Saturday and will continue throughout the summer. Hours are 10 am – 1 pm at the lot across from City Hall in Brownsville.
By Gini Bramlett
The Calapooia Food Alliance Farm Market has begun with the first “Starts Market” of the season. Various vendors offering vegetable starts, annuals, perennials, hanging baskets, a variety of large tomato plants, and of course, tasty pastries and other goodies set up their tents to kick off the 2014 garden season.
To everyone’s delight, last Saturday offered great weather for the first market of the season. Vendors did well and customers were enthusiastic to get their “starts” purchased and into the ground. The market will be back this Saturday from 10am-1pm with more plants, goodies, early produce and other local products.
There are plenty of good reasons to shop at Brownsville’s Farm Market on Saturday mornings throughout the growing season. First and foremost is buying locally. The importance of supporting our local farmers, backyard growers and our communities in general can’t be stressed enough. Our lovely, historic downtown area in Brownsville wouldn’t be what it is without our citizens supporting it. Shopping locally keeps our town vibrant and the economy healthy. Driving out of town for what we could get locally doesn’t make economic sense anymore with the cost of gas what it is.
Another good reason to shop locally is sustainability. Small towns need to be able to support themselves as much as possible, especially with our global climate what it is. Depending on food that is trucked from across the country is setting us up for a disaster. Having food available locally, no matter what happens, can put our minds and stomachs at ease.
Healthy, chemical-free and organic food products available locally are another huge consideration when shopping. Beginning in June, our local farm market, taking place on the empty lot across from city hall, will be offering locally grown, chemical free produce at affordable prices. Sure, organic produce is available at various outlets out of town, but you can be sure the freshness and prices will not rival what the farm market offers.
Personally, this is my second year as a vendor at the market, and I’ve never had more fun. I’ve also garnered the personal satisfaction knowing that my plants and produce stay in our local community. I have also met many wonderful people who are loyal customers to our market and who make it a point to shop there for their weekly produce. We are grateful for those of you who understand the importance of supporting us.
The CFA is looking for additional vendors to sell their home grown produce and handmade items at the market this summer. Desperately needed is someone with eggs to sell. Going rate for eggs is $3-$3.50 a dozen. The alliance is also looking for a mobile knife sharpener who can come to the market a few times during the season.
No need to have a large farm or a large bounty to sell. Backyard gardeners are encouraged to participate, and it’s easy to become part of the market since no flat fees are charged for market space. To support the market, a small percentage of your day’s total sales is charged. If you don’t feel you have enough for a booth of your own, the community booth can handle your small harvest for a percentage of your total sales.
To get involved, or for more information, contact Diane Remior, market manager at 541-359-5898.
Don’t forget the CFA holds a monthly “Munch Night” at 6 pm at the Corner Café open to the public. “Munch Night,” a fundraiser for the CFA, offers a full dinner including dessert and wine. Each month members of the CFA board choose a food theme. Examples of past themes have been a baked potato bar, curries and Mediterranean. And, you never know what we’ll come up with next.
Along with dinner is a thought-provoking film followed by a lively discussion. There is no charge, but a donation of $10 per person is suggested. Come and join us on Fridays each month. Watch this column for more details.
Thursday mornings from 10 am-noon, volunteers meet at the Community Gardens to work and plant the produce that, for the most part, is donated to the local food bank and the senior center. If you are looking for a way to give back to the community, come on down and give us a hand. For more information, call Diane Remior, garden manager at 541-359-5898.