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Vying for the best farmers market

Nationwide contest raising awareness, support for local markets


The season for the Newberg Farmers Market has been excellent, according to manager Mike Ragsdale.

“We’ve got excellent produce variety, which is really critical to a farmers market,” he said. “Overall we’re really thrilled.”

Even though attendance has been down due to high temperatures (“It seems like every Wednesday,” Ragsdale said), there’s still an effort to win a farmers market contest.

“It’s a competition between farmers markets across the country,” said Anne Brown with Dolce Farm and Orchards.

Sponsored by American Farmland Trust, the contest asks shoppers to pledge a certain amount to spend at their local market.Photo Credit: GARY ALLEN - Best market - The Newberg Farmer's Market is participating in the ‘I Love my Farmers Market' contest. Newberg is currently second place in Oregon with voting closing Saturday.

“It just makes people aware,” Brown said. “All of us farmers have to do off-farm jobs to keep it going. If people buy local, and support their farmers, maybe they can save their farm.”

As for the pledge, it can be any amount from $5 a week to $100 and beyond.

“It shows how many people pledge rather than the amount of the pledges,” she said, explaining that if 100 people pledge $1 it would be better than 50 people pledging $50 dollars.

Currently, Newberg is second in the state, behind Oregon City. But the contest closes at midnight Saturday.

“We can do it,” Brown said. “A little last ditch effort.”

At today’s market, vendors will be promoting the contest and encouraging shoppers to participate. There’s something in it for participants as well, a free “No Farms No Food” bumper sticker.

Visit http://bit.ly/1qCjBU0 to pledge support for the Newberg Farmers Market.

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