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Woodstock dream: Farmers Market becoming a reality

by: Elizabeth Ussher Groff Woodstock Farmers Market Board members have been meeting weekly since January at Key Bank. From left: Emily Murnen (Market Manager), Catherine Failor (Volunteer Coordinator), Tom Blackburn (Music Coordinator), Kelly Tidrick (Community Coordinator), Jeff Barger (Key Bank Manager), Don Kotler (Board member), Don Snedeca, (Board member), Kristin Schuchman (Cponsorship Coordinator), Sean Daugherty (President). Not pictured: Jin Darney and Amanda Owings.

For over fifteen years, having a farmers market in the Woodstock neighborhood was just a dream for neighborhood residents -- then along came Sean Daugherty, new owner of Papaccino's Coffee House, who gave it the kick-start it needed to become a reality.

Early on, before buying the venerable Woodstock coffee shop in July 2008, Daugherty and his wife Rachell were thinking about a farmers market in their new neighborhood.

'A farmers market is a real community bond. You have the little red wagons, kids, dogs…it's a real family event.'

Soon after buying the coffee shop, Daugherty began attending Woodstock Community Business Association (WCBA) meetings, where - facilitated by then-President Nancy Chapin - members were asked to consider what the neighborhood lacked and needed. Ideas were tossed around.

The idea of being able to buy produce direct from local farms in the neighborhood was a need that the WCBA then identified, and one that the Woodstock Neighborhood Association had previously written as a goal in their 1995 neighborhood plan. The possibility of such a market resonated strongly with Daughtery. He couldn't let go of the idea.

'I feel connected to this community, where I spend so much time. I am committed to making this place [Papaccino's] friendly to families and community. This community feels like home. I looked around and saw that Hollywood, Westmoreland, and Milwaukie all had farmers markets, and I asked, 'Why don't we have one?''

A determined Daugherty began meeting weekly with three people who were also interested in exploring possibilities for a Woodstock farmers market.

'From January until November of 2010, four of us - Kristin Schuchman, Manager of the WCBA; Ronnie Gillman, a Woodstock resident; and Jeff Barger, Manager of Key Bank - and I met every week.'

When Schuchman wrote a grant for the project for Southeast Uplift, and the group received $500 as start-up money, things took off. Barger offered to host the market, with the bank's south parking lot as the market site. Daugherty started recruiting for the now-independent market Board, of which he is President.

Emily Murnen, a resident of the nearby Mt. Scott-Arleta neighborhood, stepped up in January to be Market Manager. With over four years experience, and a current paid job as an events planner for Hilton Hotels, Murnen plunged into the volunteer job of scouting for vendors and farmers.

'My main role as Market Manager is to recruit and build relationships with vendors, and focus on creating a market with product diversity,' says Murnen. 'Our thirty-nine vendors include farms, dairies, meat producers, bakeries, hot food, and crafts.'

Both Daugherty and Murnen speak enthusiastically about the fairly unique quality of the Woodstock market.

'Our market was started from support from Papaccino's and other neighborhood businesses who have become sponsors,' explains Murnen. 'Many other such markets are started by farmers or neighbors.'

Caffe d'Arte, Papaccino's coffee roaster, came forward with a donation of $500 and one hundred one-pound bags of organic fair-trade coffee to be sold as a fundraiser.

This Seattle-based roaster recently purchased a coffee- roasting warehouse in Southeast Portland - which pleases Daugherty and Murnen, whose focus is to engage local vendors and farmers.

'We are working to bring local vendors and the community together,' says Murnen. 'I am passionate about food and food policy in general, and strongly believe in the importance of building relationships between the people producing and eating food.'

For more information on the new farmers market, now slated to open on Sunday mornings starting June 26th, go online to: www.woodstockmarketpdx.com . To make contact with market organizers, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..