From fresh-picked produce to just baked goodies to handcrafted items, farmers markets in central Douglas County offer consumers and visitors a variety of choices.
Each of the markets are open once a week, usually at an outdoor site, rain or shine.
The markets serve two purposes. They give local farmers, gardeners, bakers and crafters a chance to display their products and to sell them. And the markets give consumers a chance to visit one-on-one with the vendors, to learn about the products and to make purchases.
The markets become community gathering places.
“The markets are one of the last places in our social settings where people of all different walks of life, where folks with differences, can gather in a fun atmosphere,” said Glen Lehne of Lehne Farms, a market vendor. “The best way to interact is to focus on things you agree on and at the markets that’s good fresh seasonal nutritious produce.
“For small farms of our size, farmers markets allow us to grow a variety of produce and to be able to see that produce directly to the consumer,” he added.
Several of the markets are members of the Oregon Farmers Markets Association, an organization that supports local agriculture and healthy communities by strengthening and promoting the state’s farmers’ markets. The association has a membership of 113 markets of varying sizes.
Following is information on farmers’ markets in Douglas County. The markets are listed alphabetically.
CANYONVILLE FARMERS MARKETThis market is coming off an award-winning year. It was named the Outstanding Rural Market for 2021 by the Oregon Farmers Markets Association.
The market is in its ninth year. Amanda Pastoria is in her fourth year as the market’s manager.
The market has 40-45 vendors with about half of them setting up booths each Wednesday, depending on what is in season. Most of the vendors are from Douglas County, but because of its south county location, it does draw some vendors from the Grants Pass area.
The market has secured some grants and those funds help finance musicians, the Food Hero program and this year a series of 17 cooking classes. Food Hero gives kids the opportunity to do an activity and earn $3 vouchers to purchase produce.
For adults, when $20 of Oregon Trail SNAP dollars are spent at the market, another $20 is made available to buy more fruits and vegetables.
“We’re there to benefit the community and in turn our local farmers benefit,” said Pastoria. “The market has become a staple in the community. It’s something rural South County folks can look forward to.”
DRAIN FARMER AND ARTISAN MARKETThere are 15 vendors from the Drain, Yoncalla, Elkton and Scottsburg areas that frequent this market. There are usually about 10 vendors each Saturday, offering seasonal produce, baked goods, arts and crafts. Some Saturdays also feature local musicians.
“We work really hard to make it vendor friendly,” said Amy Beard, the market manager, adding there is no fee for the vendors. “The whole point is to build the community up and to promote our small businesses. That’s what we’re about.
“The market is doing really well and the vendors are happy,” she said.
GLIDE FARMERS’ MARKETThe Glide market has a vendor list of 25 with at least half of them setting up a booth on Tuesdays. All of the vendors are from Central Douglas County.
“It’s important for our community to have access to these homegrown and handmade items,” said Rebeccah Dunnavant who is in her sixth year as the market manager. “Since our market is right on the highway, we also get a lot of tourists, people camping along the river or going over the mountain who stop. There’s a good response.”
Dunnavant said there is room for more vendors.
The market has a Facebook page that is updated every week to promote what is being offered at the market.
LOOKINGGLASS BREWERY MARKETThis small market is held just outside the Lookingglass Brewery building in Winston although it can be moved inside if there’s wet weather. The brewery is coordinating the weekly event in order to give the community another gathering opportunity.
There is room for more vendors. Those interested can call the brewery.
LOOKINGGLASS FARMERS MARKETThis market has a vendor list of 16 and there are usually about 12 at each Thursday market.
“But sometimes everybody shows up,” said Kim Haeber, the market manager. “Everything is homemade and handcrafted. There is produce, metal art, Teddy bears, pies, soap — everybody does such nice work.”
Haeber said most of the vendors are from the Lookingglass and Winston areas.
“We’re trying to help the community, giving people an outlet for their products and a chance for everybody to get to know each other,” Haeber said. “It’s really worth coming out for.”
Haeber added that there may be an occasional market held on Saturdays during the summer months when more fresh produce is available. She said it’ll depend on the response.
MELROSE FARMERS MARKETThis market is in its second year after getting established last year. Linda Hale-Ski is the market manager.
The market has 15-20 vendors who will participate through the summer months and will offer a variety of produce, baked good and craft items. Depending on the weather, the vendors will set up inside the grange or outside.
“We have a great community that is very supportive of our market,” Hale-Ski said.
After the weekly market concludes in October, a market will be held once a month from November through April when the weekly events will resume.
MYRTLE CREEK FARMERS MARKETThis market is sponsored by the Myrtle Creek Elks Lodge and the Myrtle Creek Chamber of Commerce. Instead of a booth fee, vendors make donations to the Elks Lodge and then those funds are distributed back into the community through Elks Lodge projects.
The market has a vendor list of 60 with at least 20 of those setting up a booth each Saturday. Most of the vendors are from the Myrtle Creek/Tri Cities area, said Amanda Puls, the market manager.
“The market provides a venue for our local producers and artisans to offer their contributions to the community,” Puls said. “It’s all in one location for easy shopping. It’s become a local meeting place.”
The Myrtle Creek Grange organizes activities at the market for kids. Music is also occasionally provided.
PORTER CREEK MERCANTILE MARKETThis marketplace was created as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic hitting two years ago. Producers and crafters had their items, but no outlets to sell them because of COVID-19 restrictions.
So vendors posted what they had available on the 42Connect Facebook page, consumers placed their orders online and a drive through pickup was held in the parking lot at the Porter Creek Store.
“I thought it would last two weeks, but obviously COVID-19 stayed and the market just grew bigger and bigger,” Erin Saylor, one of the market’s organizers.
That led to the mercantile being opened and now about 80 vendors use it to display and sell their items. When the weather is nice, booths are set up outside on special craft and market days.
“I think it’s been a huge asset for the community,” Saylor said. “People from the Camas Valley and Tenmile areas can get a lot here that they could get in town. For consumers, it’s neat to know who their money goes to and who it’s supporting.”
Saylor, Charlene Henrikson, Kerri Stookey, Jessica Richcreek and Cassia Farmer take turns take turns working at the mercantile so the vendors don’t have to be there.
REEDSPORT FARMERS’ MARKETThis market has a wrap-around look since it is set up on Fridays on the sidewalk around the Creative Mercantile building.
“This is something Reedsport has needed for a long time,” said Jenee Anderson, the owner of Creative Mercantile. She is donating space for the market. “We want to develop a consistency for the market, that it’ll be here every Friday, every year through the summer. We’re working at building a really good public market.”
Kathi Wall-Meyer is the market manager.
In its early stages, the market has 10 vendors. Three farms will be providing fresh produce.
“It’s important to be able to serve our community with service and products that are fresh and healthy and available to everyone,” Anderson said.
The market is planning some kid activities and will feature some live radio broadcasts.
SUTHERLIN FARMERS’ MARKETSheri Barclay, Sutherlin’s market manager, said an effort is under way to reboot and re-energize this market.
The market’s first week in April attracted eight vendors. Barclay said the goal is to build the market up to about 20 vendors which would use the space available. Most of the vendors who have signed up or have shown interest are from North Douglas County.
“We have the population here and rather than have people go to Roseburg, we would like them to be attracted to the market here,” Barclay said. “That would benefit our vendors.
“We want the market to be something people look forward to, like a festival,” she added.
Barclay said live music and a free raffle for a variety of prizes are planned for every Thursday.
UMPQUA VALLEY FARMERS MARKETEighty different vendors are members of this market. The most that have set up a booth on a Saturday was 60.
“They come in and out depending on what they have to offer,” said Amanda Pastoria, the market’s manager, adding that there is room to stretch out and provide space for everyone. “We have more farmers join us during the summer months.”
Different food trucks also rotate at the market and musicians of different genres of music play each Saturday from April through October.
The Umpqua Valley Farmers’ Market was honored in 2021. It was named Outstanding Large Market of the Year by the Oregon Farmers’ Market Association.
In addition to its vendors and musicians, the market offers the Food Hero Program and other special events that promote nutrition education for kids and families. The Food Hero Program gives kids the opportunity to try difference foods, to do activities and to earn $3 vouchers to purchase produce.
The Double Up Program provides adults who spend $20 or more of Oregon Trail SNAP dollars with another $20 to buy more fruits and vegetables.
“It’s all about getting people to eat more healthy,” Pastoria said. “And it’s important that every dollar spent at the farmers’ market gets circulated throughout the community rather than going to a corporation outside the area. The money goes to friends and neighbors who are growing food for the community.
“The support the market and the vendors receive from the community and the consumers is incredible,” she added.