Two markets are slated to open this spring in Willamette neighborhood

by: VERN UYETAKE - Xiong Ju of Xiong's Garden prepared a bouquet of flowers at last year's West Linn Farmers Market.West Linn residents will soon have access to fresh, local produce twice a week as two farmers markets will open in the Willamette neighborhood this spring.

The West Linn Farmers Market is under new management this year and its former manager, Miles McCoy of West Linn-based 19th Street Farms, is operating a smaller market out of the Willamette General Store.

Allison Ehle will be heading up the West Linn Farmers Market, which opens June 19 and runs every Wednesday during the summer from 4 to 7 p.m.

Ehle previously ran the Hood River Saturday Market and is excited to get the West Linn market open.

“2013 is an exciting year for us with a growing list of talented local vendors, live music, family-friendly events and weekly market themes,” Ehle said.

Shannen Knight, the West Linn Farmers Market promotions committee chairwoman, said the committee considered moving the market to Thursday evenings in an effort to help improve sales for the vendors. However, it didn’t want to compete with the city’s Movies in the Park program, which also runs on Thursdays in the summer.

She said participation was high on Wednesdays, but people didn’t seem to buy a lot from the vendors.

Knight said the committee decided to part ways with McCoy after hearing a lot of complaints from vendors and customers last year.

“We needed to move on. We needed someone really willing to go after vendors,” she said.

That is exactly what Ehle is doing. She will be bringing in more artisans (all crafts must be made in the Northwest), raw meat vendors and product demonstrations along with a variety of fresh and local produce.

“Some of the products you can find at our market include fresh fruits and vegetables, bread and pastries, farm fresh eggs, chocolates, oils and sauces, popcorn, handmade soap, lotions, ceramics, candles, local footwear, woodworking, garden sculptures and more,” she said.

Knight said special events and product demonstrations are also in the works, with two distilleries slated to come.

The West Linn Farmers Market is also going to try to have a theme each week this VERN UYETAKE - Cole McConaughy sampled some of Miffy Jones' baked good at the market last summer.

“It should be a lot more organized and entertaining,” Knight said.

“We are fortunate to be in a community overflowing with fresh local produce, unique artisan goods and talented musicians. Hot food will also be available for your afternoon snack or evening meal from several local food carts including authentic Mexican, Asian, soups, gourmet hot dogs, classic American, crepes and more,” Ehle said.

This year, the West Linn Farmers Market asked West Linn High School students to help create a new logo with the help of the graphic arts teacher. Knight said the committee would like to have the students create a new logo each year.

“The West Linn Farmers Market has been a staple of the local community and provides an upscale shopping experience for shoppers that want to support local (vendors). I am confident that this year will be a fantastic market season,” Ehle said.

McCoy plans to open the Willamette Saturday Farmers Market starting May 18 and will be open each Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. inside the Willamette General Store.

McCoy, who referred to it as a “mini farmers market,” said he will only sell produce from 19th Street Farms.

“We’re not a full-blown market. We don’t have six or seven food places. I don’t think we’re quite the same sort of event,” McCoy said in comparison to the West Linn Farmers Market. “We may be servicing a different group of people.”

As part of his mini market, McCoy plans to hold some live music and feature local food producers weekly

“We found Wednesdays we just didn’t sell that much produce,” McCoy said of the West Linn Farmers Market. He said more people like to visit and shop at farmers markets on the weekends and he hopes to fill that void in West Linn.

He said the General Store seemed like a logical location to host his stand and it is indoors, out of the elements.

He said greens are 19th Street Farms’ specialty, tomatoes are currently growing and onions and spinach are nearly ready for sale.

“We’re very, very focused,” McCoy said. “We are going to run until the third weekend of October. October is the best period for buying produce.”

West Linn Farmers Market

1780 Willamette Falls Drive

July 19 to Aug. 28

Wednesdays, 4 to 7 p.m.

Willamette Saturday Farmers Market

Willamette General Store

1720 Willamette Falls Drive

May 18 and into October

Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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