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Farmers Market to blossom May 19

Popular attraction offers fresh food heaven for fruit, vegetable lovers

The opening horn for the 2012 Lake Oswego Farmers Market will blow on Saturday, May 19, at 8:30 a.m. in Millennium Plaza Park.

That is when a crowd of flash mob proportions starts coming to take advantage of the endless bounty of goodness that the LOFM offers - fruit, flowers and veggies galore will be provided by such long-time vendors as Baird Family Orchards, Greens Bridge Gardens, Maryhill Orchards and Vineyards, Vang's Gardens and many more.

The choices are just as rich in the prepared food department. Lowhill Bakery, makers of perhaps the best tasting donuts in the U.S., is returning. Once you get that craving out of the way you can stop by Philly's Fat Omelets (awesome eggs), Upper Crust Bakery (featuring delicious bread and Alice Seeger's mother-wearing wild hats), Juice-Ahh-Licious (very refreshing), and Chuck's Place (the coffee kingdom owned by Chuck, the long, lanky ding dong daddy from Amarillo).

Patrons are advised to get there early, but it will be challenging to beat the crowds that reach up to 8,000 people every Saturday.

'We get a lot of positive feedback from the community in general,' said Maddie Ovenell, who after five years of being market manager must be classified as an iron woman. 'The market allows access to local foods. The farmers really like the aspect of this being a gathering place. The vendors say how wonderful our market is, and they do a variety of markets.

'Establishing a relationship with the community and its food is really the most noteworthy thing for me. This makes it a place that the community can be proud of.'

Even a farmers market as well-run and popular as the one in Lake Oswego needs a little tinkering every year to assure a tip-top product. The city of Lake Oswego has obtained a grant from New Seasons Market for matching funds for Oregon Trail users, a new program that will help low-income shoppers buy fresh food. As always, sustainability is the theme of the LOFM, and each year it tweaks its practices to make the market more sustainable.

Each year there are a few new vendors on hand to provide gourmet excitement, and this year's exciting newcomers include Happy Camper gluten-free vegan bread and Salt and Straw Ice Cream, which makes its products in small portions to assure the utmost taste and freshness.

As if all the food were not enough, Ovenell has scheduled 22 musical acts, featuring such outstanding artists as Connie Bieberach, Mariano de Obregoso, Dick Saunders and many more.

As always, the LOFM will provide the best informal dog show around with Doggie Daycare. Dogs can relax or bark while their owners shop and dine.

The market runs Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. from May 19 through Oct. 13. For complete information about the Lake Oswego Farmers Market, go to ci.oswego.or.us/farmers market .