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Farmers' market slowly building in Aloha

Every market has a theme through end of season in late September

Editor's note: This story has been updated due to this week's market cancellation because of extreme heat.

TIMES FILE PHOTO - La Popular has served Mexican foods at the Aloha Community Farmers' Market, which began this year in a parking lot off Southwest Kinnaman Road.The Aloha Community Farmers' Market was going to go to the dogs this week.

But a little too much summer, in the form of an excessive heat watch in the weather forecast starting Thursday, prompted the market's manager to call off its planned Dog Days of Summer event and the rest of the market to avoid dangerous situations.

The market plans to return next week, and the special themes planned at the remaining Thursday events are part of an ongoing effort to help the first-year market really take root as it enters the home stretch of its first season, which runs through through September.

The market launched this spring on the north side of the Bales Marketplace shopping center, reached from Southwest Kinnaman Road in front of Mt. Olivet Baptist Church. It is open from 3 to 7:30 p.m. on market days.

So far, it’s a small market with modest foot traffic, but manager Kody Harris has noticed improvement most weeks as new people discover the market. In early August, they counted about 525 shoppers, a high to that point and over the halfway point of needing 1,000 or more shoppers each week to thrive in the long run.

“It takes about two years for a brand new market to get established. It’ll be a little easier next year, for sure,” Harris said, noting that growing slowly is the only way to succeed. “It’s this double-edged sword of you need more people to get more vendors (and) you need more vendors to get more people.”

In particular, Harris is trying to recruit additional vendors who sell fresh produce, food products and ready-to-eat hot foods to keep the market “as food and family focused as possible.”

Last week’s market had a couple produce booths and a few others selling prepared or hot foods, along with other types of vendors.

Harris, who developed the market for the Aloha Business Association with the help of a variety of community organizations and businesses, said it has been gratifying to see more and more old and new friends meet at the weekly markets, helping strengthen the unincorporated area’s sense of community.

The idea for a farmers’ market was among the priorities that arose from a Washington County-sponsored Aloha-Reedville Study finished two years ago.

Harris has a small cadre of volunteers who regularly help with the markets and is looking for a handful more people.

She also noted that managers at established farmers’ markets, including those in Beaverton, Forest Grove and Hillsboro, have provided mentorship to help establish the Aloha market.

“This whole community has come out to help,” she said.

Market themes

Aug. 25: Beach Blast Luau

Sept. 1: Hunger Awareness Day

Sept. 8: Back to School Blast

Sept. 15: Women’s Health Day

Sept. 22: Christmas in September (crafts)

Sept. 29: Harvest Party (final 2016 market)

For schedule changes or other announcements, follow the market on Facebook.

Read our story about the market's opening

By Eric Apalategui
Beaverton Reporter
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