by: Cliff Newell, 
Jenni Baird sells asparagus Saturday from her booth at the Lake Oswego Farmers’ Market.

The Lake Oswego Farmers' Market seemed to be in mid-summer form at its opening Saturday.

The weather was a bit cool and there wasn't nearly the amount of farm products that will be available in a few weeks.

But the market was booming and the atmosphere was festive as thousands of people swarmed through Millennium Plaza Park. A banjo band played, all of the tables near the food vendors were at capacity, the lines for hot donuts and omelets were as long as ever, and the best informal dog show took place on the street just below the steps to the market.

It was an amazing sight. Even to market manager Mary Miller of the city of Lake Oswego.

'I am really happy about this,' said Miller. 'This is wonderful. We have a great turnout. All morning the number of people has just kept growing.'

The public even got into the new sustainability spirit that the city is promoting at the market this year.

'A lot of people brought re-useable bags,' Miller said.

She reported that vendors indicated record sales on Saturday.

This is the seventh year for the Lake Oswego market, and its growth over the years is very apparent to long-time vendors like Jenni Baird of Baird Family Orchards of Dayton, which has been with the market from the start.

'Awesome,' Baird said. 'Everyone is so excited to have the market back a seventh year.

'My gosh, it has got to be four times what we used to have. We used to stand around and chat, but there's not time for that anymore. It has definitely changed. It's a totally different market.

'It has grown into such a community. It's a double whammy - people come to see their friends and they come to buy great produce.'

To this, Baird gave much credit to the city staffers who run the market.

'There's fabulous organization,' she said. 'The market managers are always advertising, and they major in the majors and minor in the minors. Out of all the farmers' markets we go to it is very well managed. They know what people want and work hard to give it to them.'

Despite the big opening day, Saturday was only a warm-up for the weeks ahead when the fruits and vegetables come pouring in.

'Our peak will be from mid June through late August,' Miller said. 'We'll be adding new vendors every week.'

On hand for Saturday's opening were such long-time vendors as Baird's Family Orchards, Upper Crust Baker and Victoria's Lavender.

Some new vendors made their debuts, including Saint Cupcake, Hoda's Lebanese food, and Katula Herbs.

From all of the balloons on display it was apparent that the kids were being well taken care of, plus puppies and big dogs thrived in the Doggy Daycare.

The market saw the debut of a new payment system that enabled shoppers to pay with debit and credit cards, as well as Oregon Trail cards, and WIC and Senior Nutrition Coupons.

New Seasons market will continue to partner with the city on the sustainability project, which includes hydration stations, recycling stations, composting for vendors, and booths for sustainability oriented organizations.

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

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