Funny hat contests, food tastings, kids games and special musical guests were just some of the memorable events added for two local farmers markets last week.
Both the Umpqua Valley Farmers Market and the Canyonville Farmers Market added special events to their weekly markets for National Famers Market Week, held Aug. 5-11 this year.
The Canyonville Farmers Market is held Wednesdays. During the summer, it can be found from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the south parking lot of Seven Feathers Casino Resort, 146 Chief Miwaleta Lane, Canyonville.
The market began seven years ago, but this is the first year the market has been held year-round with vendors moving indoors from January to April. While some vendors come down from Roseburg and Winston, many hail from Milo, Azalea, Tiller and Drain.
Market manager Rosie Kenney has only held her position for a few months — she moved to Oregon in January and accepted the job in March — but said she loves what the market has to offer the community.
Kenny added fun elements to the Aug. 8 celebration. Vendors were encouraged to decorate hats for a contest, guests could purchase raffle tickets to win baskets filled with products donated by vendors, and local musicians Jeff and Karalyn Soffer accompanied some of their South Umpqua School District and Riddle School District students.
Rachael Plumlee brought her business, ReStyled, where she repurposes vintage jewelry pieces into new jewelry.
“I found out about it through another vendor. He thought it would be a great place for me to sell,” Plumlee said. “It’s been great getting to talk with both the locals and the travelers that stop by. I have sold bracelets to people in Southern California, Alaska and Germany to name a few.”
The Umpqua Valley Farmers Market began in 1994. It is a year-round market held on Saturdays at First United Methodist Church, 1771 W. Harvard Ave., Roseburg. Summer hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from April to September.
Organizers added food tastings, rock hunts, kids prizes and live music to the Saturday celebration.
Valadez Organic Produce has been a market vendor for three years. They were amongst many that enjoyed the added events.
“I enjoyed the vibe, the look on people’s faces when they tried or saw something new on Saturday,” Lucy Valadez, who owns Valadez Organic Produce, said. “I loved having people come by and tell us how much they enjoyed the melons and tomatoes they tried.”
Due to the smoke that has accumulated down in the Rogue Valley, owners of Mahalo Shaved Ice brought their food truck up to the Umpqua Valley Farmers Market to celebrate what they called a “beautiful day.”
“Everyone we encountered at the market was very welcoming, and we actually got a good deal of business from fellow vendors,” said owner Chris Cunningham. “I also liked the overall organization while setting up and breaking down. It was worth the trip and we’ll be returning next week in hopes of another great day.”
Late Saturday night, long after vendors had packed up and guests had unloaded their local goods, managers of the Umpqua Valley Farmers Market Facebook page ended their celebration with a message to their community.
“As National Farmers Market Week wraps up, we’d like to thank all of our amazing customers and vendors for making this market the best way to spend your Saturday! Thank you for growing your community, spending your money locally, and creating a healthy and fun environment for all to enjoy. We appreciate you!”