What’s the opposite of Fast Food? Right, you’ve got it…Slow Food. What does that mean? It’s an idea, a philosophy designed to counteract the whole fast food, fast paced lifestyle that so many of us have gotten caught up in. Remember Grandma spending hours rolling out lefse on the wooden table? Now you can buy the stuff (not very tasty by the way) in the cooler in a grocery store! With the convenience of one-stop shopping and pre-packaged food, traditions and yes, sometimes honest to goodness nutrition fell by the wayside.
Farmers’ Markets are not new by any means, but with the introduction of industrial store shopping, they faded away for a time. I raised my children on an island in Alaska, and prior to joining a CSA out of Seattle, my kids had no idea fruit and vegetables could be so fresh! To me it was worth logging on-line each week and picking out 7-9 choices of what I wanted Alaska Airlines to bring me each Wednesday! The kids helped me pick up the boxes each week, (and yes, they were still dirt-smudged from being harvested THAT morning) and we sorted and cleaned our lovely produce.
The farm-to-table movement has been instrumental in Farmers’ Markets regaining their popularity and here in Oregon…well we love our food, be that seafood, farm produce, grass-fed beef, artisan breads or dairy. The notion that local farmers are feeding local people, nourishes (excuse the pun) our sense of sustainable “community.”
Now, in the midst of summer, we have a surfeit of choices to indulge in, and along the Oregon Coast both locals and visitors may hit a Farmers’ Market and head to the beach to dine al fresco with their crusty loaf of artisan bread, clear golden honey, a carton of fresh berries and an apple or two.
If you’re wandering around on the coast this summer, stop in to one of these Farmers’ Markets. They’re not all on Saturday, so check out the following websites for days and times:
Astoria Sunday Market is a vibrant marketplace with a reputation for offering locally crafted products by close to 200 vendors every week. Running from Mother’s Day through the second Sunday in October, this bustling area fills up with locals and visitors vying for freshly grown vegetables, artisan quality items and offerings from other small businesses in the area. An open food court and regional entertainment may be enjoyed during your weekly Sunday shopping, making this a family friendly event.
The Manzanita Farmers’ Market likes “bringing fresh produce and fun to Oregon’s north coast” and on Friday nights…boy what a party! Although a small berg, Manzanita is fully into the sustainable mode of producing and selling food, all within a 10 mile radius. And the fact that neighbors helping neighbors facilitated this project getting off the ground, it is even more incentive to band together and ensure its success.
Celebrating their 13th season, Tillamook Farmers’ Market will offer fresh produce, free range eggs, grass—fed meats, baked goods and more! Saturdays, June 15-September 28, visitors will be able to purchase fresh flowers as well as browse through artisan craft booths. As they remark, it’s “…bringing together farmers, consumers and community.”
Newport Saturday Farmers’ Market leaders think that local food strengthens the economy, keeps the money in the community and helps to create jobs. As part of their giving back to the community philosophy, one booth is set aside and manned by volunteers who sell lemonade. The Lemonade Project raises funds to support the “That’s My Farmer SNAP Incentive Program”, allowing low income consumers to afford fresh, local produce. This Farmers’ Market customarily moves from their outdoor location (summer), to the Lincoln County Fairgrounds (winter) where it is more protected for vendors and visitors during the cool season.
Small does not mean less, and Port Orford’s Farmers’ Market offers an array of things to enjoy. Fresh eggs and homemade salsa will vie for your attention right along with pottery crafts and henna painting. Saturday, 9 to noon will be three hours to reconnect with neighbors, find that perfect ingredient for dinner and if you’re lucky you arrive in time for the live music.
Brookings-Harbor Farmers’ Market is open May through October on Wednesdays and Saturdays, with assorted items like duck eggs, seasonal produce, soaps, baked goods, wood-fired pizzas, grass fed beef, and flowers. In this somewhat remote location it is particularly important to provide fresh, sustainable food for local residents. Throughout the season, music, special events and activities are regularly scheduled, so drop by and see what the southern coast has to offer.
The sustainable movement is all about creating balance. What you have with a Farmers’ Market is a special place to create community…and you can’t really get more balanced than enjoying and supporting the community in which you live.
Submitted by: Kim Voetberg
Thank you to the various farmers’ markets who provided image files