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News Release
Farmers' markets open April in Albany and Corvallis - 04/10/19

Opening Day for outdoor farmers’ markets in Corvallis and Albany is April 20. Wednesday markets in Corvallis begin April 24. Hours for all Corvallis and Albany outdoor farmers’ markets are 9 am to 1 pm.

Albany Farmers’ Market is entering its 42nd season.  Albany has Oregon’s longest continuously operating outdoor farmers’ market. The relatively younger farmers’ market events in Corvallis are in their 29th (Saturday) and 39th (Wednesday) seasons.

The musical forecast for April 20 has a 100 percent chance of guitar music: David Rogers in Albany and John Twist in Corvallis. In Albany events will include OSU Pharmacy doing health screenings. In Corvallis, OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences will be joined by OSU Veterinary Medicine students promoting the upcoming Pet Day by offering nail clipping for dogs.

Planet Palooza, formerly known as the Procession of the Species parade, will go through the Corvallis Farmers’ Market at about noon on April 20 on its way to Eric Scott McKinley skate board park, where activities continue until 3 pm.

Albany’s Procession of the Species is April 27. Starting at 9 am, the market shares space with Earth Day information booths, activities, face painting, giveaways and Claudia the giant Chinook salmon. The parade kicks off at 10 am. Come dressed as your favorite species. Materials to make headbands will be available prior to the parade. 

Market locations

In Albany, the farmers’ market is in the City Hall parking lot at 4th and Ellsworth and an adjacent piece of 4th Avenue. Albany market customers can use restrooms and access water fountains in City Hall from 8:30 to 1:30 on market days.

The farmers’ market in Corvallis occupies a street closing on a 1.5 block of 1st Street and rounds the corner onto Monroe Ave.  For much of the season, the market will extend on Monroe almost to 2nd Street.

Year of the Pig, plus pizza

This year is the Year of the Pig in Chinese tradition. The Albany Farmers’ Market put out a call for pork producers last year, and now there are three new Linn County pork producers who will be bringing pork to market. The new farms are Anchor Ranch and Gap Road Meat Company of Scio and PK Pastures of Sweet Home. Albany also has locally grown chicken, beef and lamb.

Krakelen, another new vendor, will be making wood-fired pizzas topped with many locally sourced ingredients.

Markets are like accordions

Since all farm products must be local and farm direct, the size of the farmers’ markets expand and contract over the outdoor market season. Some local farmers grow inside large greenhouses called high tunnels, which helps keep the soil a little drier and warmer. Not all market vendors have access to this equipment, so there may be differences in what is available.

The Saturday incarnation of the Corvallis Farmers’ market has a changing lineup of 50-70 vendors per week. The Albany season sometimes begins with fewer than 20 vendors depending on weather earlier in the year. As hot weather crops develop, the Albany vendor count builds to about 30. Corvallis’ Wednesday farmers’ market is similar in size to the Albany Farmers’ market and includes vendors from both Saturday events.

Corvallis and Albany both have a 32-week long season with a lot of change along the way. Early market weeks feature spring raab and many other greens, potatoes and other storage vegetables, radishes, fresh turnips, carrots, rhubarb, preserved foods, honey, eggs, meat, poultry, and cheese plus nursery plants and cut flowers. On the other extreme, the last market on Wednesday Nov. 27 will feature much of what will be on Thanksgiving tables the next day.

Power of Produce kids’ club in Albany

The Albany Farmers’ Market and its community partners are supporting a 12-week Power of Produce Club running June 15-Aug. 31. Kids 5-12 get $4 in tokens to spend at each market they attend during the program, plus activities with support from community partners like the YMCA and Linn County Master Gardeners.

The PoP Club is funded with local small business sponsorships and larger grants, including one from the Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund, which has supported anti-hunger efforts in our counties for many years. The Albany Elks Lodge #359, which is seeking to renew its national grant supporting PoP in Albany, will assist with cooking and planting activities.

AFM’s Power of Produce is modeled after the Oregon City Farmers Market PoP Club.  This program began in 2011 and has spread to farmers’ markets across the country.

Information about sponsoring Power of Produce is found at locallygrown.org/albany-pop-club/. Or contact event coordinator Vonda Peters at cafm@gmail.com">volunteercafm@gmail.com or 541-990-5474.

SNAP Match continues

Corvallis-Albany Farmers’ Markets and the smaller area farmers’ markets in Linn and Benton counties always redeem SNAP benefits (commonly called food stamps) on customers’ Oregon Trail cards. Matching programs, which potentially double the amount that SNAP customers spend on fresh and local foods, go a step further by helping families stretch their food dollars and improving the nutritional quality of meals.

Fresh & Local, First! is a relatively new local nonprofit that helps the farmers’ markets by writing grants and seeking donations on their behalf.  Market advocates in the two counties hope to fund SNAP Match at every market for at least half of the year. When these outside funds get low, farmers’ markets likely will return to running only one Match day a month.

Local food advocates are asking the Oregon Legislative Assembly for a $3 million two-year appropriation to fund Double Up Food Bucks, a SNAP matching program that served roughly 50 Oregon farmers’ markets in the 2016 and 2017 seasons. If a state appropriation passes, the program likely would start in the 2020 market season.

CAFM will continue to use its own $2 tokens printed in purple ink until Double Up Food Bucks funds are available. These tokens are good for all SNAP eligible foods. Even dollar amounts are matched.

Other nutrition programs

Samaritan’s Cancer Resource Center operates That’s My Farmer nutrition program in cooperation with the markets. Current and recent cancer patients get help from Samaritan dietitians and other staff plus vouchers to purchase fruits and vegetables, grains and dried beans.

Another program that increases access to high quality foods among low-income households is the Farm Direct Nutrition program, which includes both young families (WIC or Women, Infants and Children) and seniors. Gleaning groups also collect perishable produce from vendors and distribute to others in need.

Community Table and community involvement

 

Most market vendors are members of the nonprofit association and sell using their own tents and other equipment. The market also has a Community Table consignment option that is often the best option for backyard growers. 

Community groups that would like to do outreach at the market can sign up at locallygrown.org/community-involvement/ or contact Vonda Peters at cafm@gmail.com">volunteercafm@gmail.com or 541-990-5474. Community groups provide cooking demonstrations and other education, plus family fun, such as children’s art projects. Individual volunteers are also welcome.

Shop like a pro

Experienced market shoppers walk around the market before making purchases. They get to know individual farmers, try samples of unfamiliar foods and get recipes and other cooking advice. When it’s time to preserve the harvest by drying, freezing or canning, savvy shoppers know farmers they can ask for quantity discounts.

Those interested in keeping their dollars circulating locally and knowing who grew their dinner can rely on farmers’ market guidelines that prohibit any resale. Most vendors are selling agricultural products they grew in a six-county area: Benton, Linn, Lincoln, Lane, Marion and Polk counties. A modest amount of baked goods and restaurant food is added so customers can overcome the hunger pangs that beautiful food displays can cause.

All markets include a market booth, marked with brightly colored pennants, where customers with Oregon Trail cards and debit cards buy wooden tokens. The market also sells cloth market bags, which help to fund SNAP Match.

Some information is available at the market booth, but more information is available online. Market shoppers can use features on www.locallygrown.org to search for particular vendors and view interactive maps showing the location of vendors on each market day. Music and other events are listed as well.

 

 

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