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Two Inner Southeast farmers markets enjoy a blooming season

by: David F. Ashton Holly Mills and Caitlin Arnold say their “Sidewalk’s End Farm” produce is as local as you can get – grown in the backyards of Southeast Portlanders.

Inner Southeast Portland farmers markets are doing good business this year - as shoppers regularly visit the established mid-week Westmoreland location, and the new Sunday Woodstock fresh food fest.

At the August 21 Woodstock Farmers Market, Manager Emily Murnen exclaimed, 'It's going great! On average, we have about 2,500 people here steadily each week. For a first year, we're really excited about the turnout - and the enthusiasm is shared by our vendors.'

Murnen said she's noticed a core group of weekly visitors. 'But I just spoke to a shopper - someone who is here for the first time. So, we do have new people coming each week.'

Observing that the Woodstock market hosts many vendors not seen at other area markets, Murnen said there are about 32 vendors on hand each Sunday. 'They've been really excited about the market, and are happy with the number of shoppers who come.'

Although the market's board members have put in long hours to bring it to life, Murnen reported that the board is 'definitely very happy about our progress, and how it's going. We're working out kinks as we go. Both the board and the community definitely are excited that this market is here. They have been very supportive.'

The best part for her, Murnen said, is about building relationships. 'I love getting to see our vendors each week; getting to know them better. And, I also enjoy seeing people from the community as they shop with our vendors and get to know one another here as well.'

The Woodstock Farmers Market closes its first season after September 25. There will be special events during each Sunday market until then.

---QUICK FACTS---

Woodstock Farmers Market

KeyBank Parking Lot

4600 S.E. Woodstock Boulevard

Open Sundays, 9 am-1 pm

through September 25th

www.woodstockmarketpdx.com

Moreland Farmers Market called 'vibrant'

Proving that farmers markets aren't a 'zero-sum proposition', the Moreland Farmers Market is again doing having a great season, said Ted Lee, its manager this year, during our August 24 visit.

'The market is really going well,' enthused Lee. 'We've got a really vibrant scene here. I think a lot of people have been really excited about some of the new vendors who have joined this year.'

Typically, visitors shop from among 30 fresh and prepared food vendors, Lee pointed out. 'This number feels about right for the size of the crowds - about 1,500 per week - that we've been seeing. I think that most vendors have been pretty successful.'

Lee highlighted new vendor, 'Sidewalk's End Farm'. Urban farmers Mills and Caitlin Arnold said they farm several plots throughout Southeast Portland. 'They're mostly in people's backyards. We also have a 10 member Community Supported Agricultural program into which people can buy if they so choose.'

What really makes Lee smile, he says, is 'We've really been blessed with great group of market volunteers this year. Vendors and visitors say they've they've never seen a more cohesive group of volunteers at the market before. We've really build a good team, it's the stuff of good community.'

Lee has announced he is pursuing a new opportunity at the end of this season, so the board of the Moreland Farmers Market is interviewing for the Market Manager position for next year. For details, visit the organization's Internet website: www.morelandfarmersmarket.org .

---QUICK FACTS---

Moreland Farmers Market

Wilhelm's Portland Memorial parking lot

On S.E. 14th Avenue at S.E. Bybee Boulevard

Open Wednesdays, 3:30 pm-7:30 pm thru Sept. 25

Then Wednesdays, 3-7 pm for rest of season

www.morelandfarmersmarket.org