Drivers who were trying to cut between S.E. Powell Boulevard and Division using S.E. 21st Avenue found a detour blocking their way between S.E. Tibbetts and Brooklyn Streets, on Wednesday, October 4th.
However, in our case, we were delighted, not angered, with this discovery--we'd found the location of the annual People's Food Co-op Harvest Festival. And we stopped and joined in.
When we asked to speak with People's 'boss', we were kindly informed that this unique, full-line grocery store is owned by the community, and is cooperatively run. We were introduced to the Farmer's Market Coordinator, Ariana Jacob.
Farm and craft street party
'Today's farmer's market is special. Welcome to our Harvest Festival,' Jacob greeted us.
She told us that People's Food Co-op provides 'the best, most wholesome food available at the lowest price possible'. The co-op, now in its 36th year, has always supported local farmers, producers, and craftspeople, she added. 'Some of our suppliers decided to have a farmer's market; it operates on Wednesdays. Unlike other markets, the People's Farmer's Market operates year around.'
Bringing people together
Jacob went on, 'Our festival brings out everybody, all at once. Neighbors who live nearby come and join in our celebration, along with People's Food Co-op member/owners. We spend time together, eating food, and drinking cider, wine, and beer. We celebrate the bountiful harvest and the spirit of community.'
In conjunction with farmers and producers offering samples of food, produce, breads, organic cheeses, the festival annually hosts a craft fair.
Meet the farmer
Jacob informed us that consumers like the farmer's market because they can speak directly with even the smallest food producers here. 'They run their own businesses, work the land with their own hands, and sell it directly to the customers.'
One local food producer we met was Celtic Shepherd Creamery's Brendan Enright. 'I sell my sheep cheese here. This market gives us the opportunity to educate consumers about our products.'
Enright explained that Celtic is a family farm outside of Canby. On 40 acres, they herd 40 sheep, and operate their own licensed cheese-making operation. 'We're only one of two in Oregon,' he stated. 'Did you know sheep milk has more calcium and protein than cow's milk?
Co-op open to all
While everyone is welcome to shop at People's, Jacob told us, those who choose membership are able to shop at a discount. Folks who become 'hands-on owners' by volunteering at the co-op earn substantial reductions in their grocery bill.
The co-op is located at 3029 S.E. 21st Avenue, between Division and Powell, open daily. Hours are from 8 am until 10 pm. The Farmer's Market is open year-around on Wednesdays, 2:00 pm until 7:00 pm.
For more information, visit: www.peoples.coop, or call 503/232.9051.