Winter Market to feature 45 vendors on first and third Saturdays

When the Beaverton Farmers Market kicks off its first-ever Winter Market on Saturday, the response from regular-season customers will be closely monitored.

“It’s a test to see if the community is ready to come out in bad weather,” admits Market Manager Ginger Rapport. “It’s a very suburban market. If it’s rainy, windy and cold outside, it’s hard to pack up the kids and grandma and go down to the market.”

If the market is a test, then Saturday’s forecast calling for partly sunny skies and high temperatures around 50 degrees, means visitors will likely be cheating. Not to worry. The Winter Market — open from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the first and third Saturdays from February through April — should provide plenty of opportunities to experience Oregon’s good old wet and cold.

Located in the 26-year-old Beaverton Farmers Market’s usual location near Beaverton City Library at Southwest Hall Boulevard between Third and Fifth streets, many of the longtime growers, farmers and artisans will participate, but on a smaller scale. The Winter Market will feature 45 vendors as opposed to the 120 or so who sell produce and products from May through November.

Vendors market visitors can expect to see include Pepperheads, Lonely Lane Farms, Souper Naturals, Fressen Bakery, Feastworks, and a new addition, Local Locovore, featuring organic baby food.

“There will be a good selection of product, but the produce will be limited,” Rapport says. “No one’s going to find corn and bell peppers in the middle of winter.”

There also will be a new Oregon Distillers booth, where local craft-made spirit products will rotate throughout the season. Big Bottom Whiskey and Eastside Distilling are two participating distilleries.

While live music will take a hiatus for the season, the market will still provide tents with tables for customers to enjoy food from vendors.

The decision to have a Winter Market came about during discussions with vendors last fall, Rapport says. “After listening to everyone, we said, ‘Hey, let’s give it a try. Let’s test the waters and people’s appetite for shopping in the winter.’ At the time we decided, some farmers had already planted. Now each year, as farmers know there will be more winter markets opening, they can plan accordingly and build on their produce.”

One concession to holding a market at the mercy of Old Man Winter is the 10 a.m. starting time.

“On winter mornings, it’s cold and wet,” she says. “People tend to stay in bed a bit longer and don’t get up and get going till 10 o’clock, so we condensed the schedule.”

Rapport credits city of Beaverton staff and Mayor Denny Doyle’s office for helping with the logistics of the resurrected Winter Market.

“We couldn’t have done this without the support of the mayor. He’s super thrilled about it,” she says, noting the market is working with the city for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration with Irish music and dancing. “It will be really, really fun.”

The regular spring Farmers Market will open on Mother’s Day weekend, Saturday, May 11, with a focus on spring greens and nursery products for gardeners.

Rapport, meanwhile, is confident the Winter Market will come together this weekend, regardless of how the weather turns out.

“This is my 18th season,” she says. “I have it wired by now.”

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