As farmers’ market season comes to a close, not only does access to local food become much more of a challenge, but small farmers also lose out on an important source of revenue. In Lincoln County, a dedicated group of community members decided to take matters into their own hands to resolve these dilemmas. Saturday, November 19th will mark the opening of the Lincoln County Fairgrounds Farmers’ Market. Lincoln County customers can now buy food direct from farmers from November through March.
It all began as a result of the Lincoln County FEAST (Food Education Agricultural Solutions Together) workshop in April 2011. This event was co-sponsored by Ten Rivers Food Web and Oregon Food Bank to engage community members in conversations about food security, supporting local farmers and making connections to strengthen local food systems. Lincoln County residents identified gaps in their community food system, one of which was the lack of access to local food. Participants also recognized a need for the small farmers of Lincoln County to find more opportunities to sell their products. A brainstorming session followed and the idea of operating a winter market manifested.
Ten Rivers Food Web’s Chloe Rico organized a committee featuring farmers, fishermen, and farmers’ market managers to help turn this idea into a reality. Realizing that many farmers don’t plan to sell in the winter season, they approached farmers early on in the process about the new opportunity. Therefore, farmers were able to plan appropriately and plant enough winter vegetables to meet the anticipated increase in demand. The Lincoln County Small Farmers Association, host of the Newport Farmers’ Market, will manage the new market.
Opening day will feature 39 vendors including six small farms: Walker Farms of Siletz (produce, chicken, lamb, beef and turkeys), Sitka Springs Farm from Toledo (produce), Rooster Plow Farms from Toledo (eggs, vinegars, jams and herbs), Common Treasury Farm from Alsea (produce, turkeys and wool), The Honey Pit from Sherwood (honey) and Olalla Nursery from Toledo (plants and seasonal greenery). Eight food vendors will offer baked goods, kettle corn, coffee, and more. Over 20 Lincoln County arts and crafts vendors and acupuncture and massage stalls will round out the market.
Volunteers from The Cider Project will sell hot apple cider to support the That’s My Farmer SNAP Incentive Program, similar to the summer market’s Lemonade Project.
The market will be open every Saturday from November until the end of March (including Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve). Head on down to the Lincoln County Fairgrounds (622 NE 3rd Street, Newport) Main Exhibit Hall from 10-2pm and support Lincoln County farmers. For more information, check out the market’s facebook page and website.