After a start to the summer season marred by the theft of a utility trailer loaded with necessary supplies, the seven-year-old Damascus Farmers Market is back in business.
Market Manager Leslie Shalduha says police recovered roughly 85 percent of the stolen items — mostly canopies, tables, chairs and signage — but not the trailer in which they were stored. She says no charges have been filed against a man connected with the theft.
Four vendors pulled their stalls after the market, located at Damascus Centennial Park off Highway 212 near Bi-Mart, had to cancel its normal Thursday gatherings on June 22 and 29th. The trailer was reported stolen on June 15.
"I call us a small but mighty market," Shalduha said in an interview Thursday, July 6, the date of the grand re-opening. "We have everything that somebody would want."
The Farmers Market has benefitted from a strong partnership with Lewis and Clark Montessori, a nearby charter school where Shalduha works.
This year, students are selling pre-drilled birdhouse kits for $15. The market also serves as a pickup point for their food pantry, which helps feeds about 40 families. Students grow the food themselves in a garden located a few blocks from campus.
Market attendee Jonathan Nedelisky, a 12-year-old eighth-grader at Lewis and Clark Montessori, said he spent the morning "watering some plants, stringing up tomatoes and weeding."
Jonathan notes that he doesn't really play video games, but he enjoys the community garden work because it's fun to be outside.
"We do a little bit (of gardening) at home too. We have lots of chickens," he explained.
Current vendors at the Damascus Farmers Market include Friends of the Happy Valley Library, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, several farm stands, a wooden bowl craftsman, an herb and salve seller and Wagging Tayls, a doggie bakery.
The market is open each Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. between May 25 and Sept. 28.
For more information, visit www.damascusfarmersmarket.org.