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Better, greener LO Farmers Market opens May 19

by: Cliff Newell, 
Farmers’ Market Manager Mary Miller shows some of the market’s new green cups and water bottles.

The Lake Oswego Farmers' Market is not just a place to buy fruit and vegetables, it's a happening.

Starting May 19, Millennium Plaza Park will fill up with 6,500 people who go for the great, fresh produce and so much more - food, music, and certainly the best impromptu dog show around. Doggy daycare is provided, and this being Lake Oswego, there will be some remarkable dogs on display.

'It has really grown,' said Mary Miller, now in her second year as the manager of the Lake Oswego Farmers' Market. 'Kathy Kern (special events coordinator for the city of Lake Oswego) started this, and by the time I got it, it was already a huge success. Last year all of the vendors reported having record profits.'

But even a great event can get greater, and the 2007 Lake Oswego Farmers' Market will be 'greener' than ever. There will be a new emphasis on sustainability that is very much in line with goals set by the Lake Oswego City Council.

'This event is so big that all the people generate a lot of waste,' Miller said. 'This is all part of making Lake Oswego more sustainable citywide. We want to reduce the environmental impact.

'People can help us in a lot of ways. The market wants to inspire them to be as earth-friendly as possible.'

The new, greener Farmers' Market will include:

n Hydration stations instead of water in plastic bottles. Market-goers can get water in biodegradable cups, plus steel water bottles will be sold.

n Encouraging people to bring their own reusable grocery bags.

n Recycling stations for paper, bottles, cans and plastic.

n Composting offered to all vendors.

n Booths for local sustainability-oriented nonprofit organizations, such as Master Recyclers and groups providing information about renewable energy.

'The city wants to increase efforts along these lines every year,' Miller said. 'We have a goal of zero waste.'

New Seasons Market is partnering with the city on this new effort.

Of course, sustainability won't be the only new aspect of the 2007 market. There will be a big boost in chef demonstrations, and some excellent new food vendors on hand. They include Lebanese food from Hoda's; St. Cupcake, a gourmet cupcake described by Miller as 'really delicious'; and Katula Herbs, a new herb vendor.

Of course, many of the popular food vendors will be returning to delight tastebuds on Saturday. In case anyone was wondering, yes, Lowhill Bakery will be back to make the freshest donuts around. The bakery, run by the Loberg family, will have two donut fryers this year in order to reduce the massive lines it attracts.

More good stuff: Kids Corner for preschoolers, and live music will be performed.

A new payment system will enable shoppers to pay with debit and credit cards, as well as Oregon Trail cards, and WIC and Senior Nutrition coupons.

The Lake Oswego Farmers' Market will be open Saturdays from May 19 to Oct. 13, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Millennium Plaza Park is located adjacent to Lake View Village at the corner of First and Evergreen streets.