Beaverton Farmers Market wouldn't be the same without Ginger Rapport and Sue Poff

Photo Credit: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Together, Sue Poff and Ginger Rapport have stood at the helm of the Beaverton Farmers Market for the last 19 years. Both say that without each other, they wouldn't have been about to do it.In 19 years, Ginger Rapport has missed three Beaverton Farmers Market. Three.

She’s planned vacations around it. She’s begrudgingly gone to absolutely necessary family events — well, three of them, anyway. And every Saturday morning, the market master show’s up at Sue Poff’s house at 4:45 a.m., and the two head to work.

“No matter how much I prepare, coming to the market, there’s always something that makes (me) have to look at plan B. But the one constant in my life is at quarter to 5 a.m. when I show up, I pull up to Sue’s front door, and she is always standing there no matter how cold it is, no matter how wet, no matter how crappy she might feel,” Rapport said of her assistant market master. “She is there every Saturday at a quarter to 5 a.m., and she climbs in the car.”

The duo have had this routine for nearly two decades, and don’t plan on giving it up anytime soon. When Rapport landed the Beaverton market master job, she was asked if she had anyone in mind for an assistant manager, and confronted Poff about what her Saturdays consisted of.

“She didn’t tell me it was for the rest of my life,” Poff said with a smile.

On Saturday, Aug. 30, Rapport and Poff celebrate their 500th market together (Poff missed a couple more than Rapport — for the births of her grandchildren). It won’t be anything fancy, just a small celebration with the market’s 13 heirloom vendors, who earn the prestigious title for being involved with the market for longer than their fearless leaders.Photo Credit: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Ginger Rapport and Sue Poff are the driving forces behind the Beaverton Farmers Market. When Rapport landed the market master job 19 years ago, she was the only employee.

It was unlikely that Rapport and Poff balanced their lives around the market in the first place. Twenty years ago, neither were necessarily market fanatics, nor were they in the market for a job that would consume so much of their spare time. Things just fell into place, as they do, and the pair is simply lucky enough to still love it.

When they joined the Beaverton Farmers Market ranks all those years ago, it was already the largest farmers market in the state. Today, it’s still the largest market, though it’s three times its original size — on average, the Saturday market hosts 130 vendors, 250 volunteers and employees and welcomes 20,000 visitors.

“Both the customers and the vendors, they’re a special breed. Obviously, the customers who come have a common belief. No matter what their political beliefs are, there are certain things about the importance of cooking well, eating well, feeding your family well, supporting local businesses and supporting our local farmers — it’s something that is really unifying,” Rapport said. “(And the vendors) all have something very much in common. They’re all independent businesses, they’re all the chief cook and bottle washer busting their butt to make a living. They all understand one another at a very elemental level. So there really are a lot of common threads in the lives of all the people who come together.”

For both Rapport and Poff, the farmers market is their family. Their kids grew up amongst the vendors and fresh bell peppers, and they watched other people’s children take naps behind the tents before driving up a few years later in their big trucks. It’s at the market that they invested their hearts and souls, spending a substantial part of their lives making the whole thing click.

“I tell my board, ‘If she goes, I go,’” Rapport said.

“Well, it would be so lonesome,” said Poff.

“No. It would be terrible,” Rapport added. “After 19 years, there’s still no place I’d rather be on a Saturday morning. And I guess if at some point that ever changes, or you quit...”

“I can’t imagine quitting,” Poff said.

After nearly two decades, it sounds like the pair will make the market happen for a few more.

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