More than a market: Sense of community part of the offerings

June 2014 Posted in Community, Food & Drink
Xiong and Ying Ker of Z-K Flowers. Photo by Melissa Wagoner

Xiong and Ying Ker of Z-K Flowers. Photo by Melissa Wagoner

By Melissa Wagoner

Visit the Silverton Farmer’s Market and you’ll find more than farms, you’ll find bees, jams and jellies, and most importantly, community. The market opened in 2002. Many of its original vendors are still minding stalls today.

“The market clientele are consistent and loyal shoppers and I’ve tried my best to be a consistent vendor over the years,” Bill Schiedler, one of the originals, owner of GardenRipe CSA, and president of the farmer’s market board said.

New vendors are welcome, too, new market manager Ryan Shetler said, adding he wants to offer a wide variety of products including local nuts, grains, soap, and meats. He is excited to add vendors with homemade personal care items, raw cheese and garden tool sharpening.

Also new to the market this year is music on the lawn. “A lot of people are excited about the music,” Shetler said.

The Farmer’s Market is a board-run entity. Members are primarily market vendors who have an interested in its success.

“It is an excellent opportunity for the community to support local businesses. In doing so, all of us vendors support other local businesses as we purchase our inputs for whatever we produce, thus helping the entire community,” Schiedler said.

Silverton Farmer’s Market
Towne Square Park on Main Street
9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays
Mid-May thru mid-October.

Here are a few of the vendors you will discover at the Silverton Farmer’s Market.

GardenRipe CSA

Silverton native Schiedler has been farming all his life. His Century Farm has been in his family since 1874.

GardenRipe grows a variety of produce using only organic fertilizer and natural weed and pest control methods.

“I draw a distinction between farming and gardening and Gardenripe is gardening. I enjoy the variety of work in a garden as compared with the commercial production of a single crop on the farm,” Schiedler said.

Vibrant Rainbow Chard grown by GardenRipe. Photo by Jim Kinghorn

Vibrant Rainbow Chard grown by GardenRipe. Photo by Jim Kinghorn

GardenRipe sells most of its produce through a community supported agriculture program (CSA). Customers buy a share of that year’s produce before the season begins and receive weekly deliveries.

“As a subscriber, you know how and where the food you eat is grown. I benefit by having a known outlet for produce before it is grown. This arrangement means healthier food for you and your family, and a better return to the farmer for my work so that I am better able to care for my family. It’s a win-win situation,” Schiedler said.

GardenRipe also sells in Portland and surrounding areas but Schiedler’s favorite market is the Silverton Farmer’s Market.

“It’s nice to know most of the customers’ faces and many names,” he said.

Garden Thyme Nursery and Esotico Pasta

Garden Thyme Nursery has been with the Silverton Farmer’s Market since its inception ,selling plants including those that are drought tolerant and deer resistant. In 2013, owner Patti Harris joined with husband George and friends Wayne and Julie Huisman to start Esotico Pasta, offering artisan pasta, and opening a second booth.

“It’s a new and exciting venture for all of us,” Harris said.

She loves getting requests from her customers, who help her find the trends in the industry.

Harris also spent the past 10 years serving on the market board.

“The residents of Silverton have been supportive and appreciative of having a local farmer’s market. We have very loyal customers and we thank each one of them,” Harris said.

Homestead Honey Company

It’s hard to miss the hive of bees on display almost every week by Homestead Honey Company owner Mike Roth.

“I have the bees with me every Saturday and people seem to love looking at them and searching for the queen,” Roth said.

Roth, a native Oregonian, has been maintaining his own hives for the past four years but his family has been raising bees since 1894. “I guess bees are in my blood,” he said.

Roth keeps his bees on 117 acres above Silverton when they aren’t out pollinating local fields or entertaining school groups.

Homestead Honey has been a vendor at the farmer’s market for three years and makes 75 percent of its sales there.

“I have found the market to be a fun outlet. I love to chat with my customers. It’s fun for me to hear how much they enjoy the honey. Much more rewarding than selling through a middle man,” Roth said.

Food cooperative proposed
Rooted in Food and the Silverton Farmer’s
Market are partnering to create a year
round local food cooperative.
They are applying for a federally
funded grant designated the Local
Food Promotion Program in the hopes
of funding the venture.

To receive the grant community
support must be demonstrated.
Letters supporting the local
food movement and creation of a
cooperative may be sent to
Rooted in Food, PO Box 785,
Silverton, OR 97381 or emailed
Deadline for submission is June 18. 

Forest Meadow Farm

Mike and Stacy Higby provide chicken and eggs as well as some produce to a loyal customer base. Joined by their children Cedar, 11, and Heron, 3, the Higbys have been vendors and board members since the market began.

“Both of our kids have grown up at the market, they have a great time catching up with the customers and friends each week, and so do we,” Stacy Higby said.

Forest Meadow farm raises its animals on 100 percent organic feed and organic pasture and farms using organic methods. The Higbys make most of their sales at the market.

“We are lucky to have a very loyal customer base, both for our booth and the market in general,” Stacy Higby said.

Diggin’ Roots Farm

Relatively new to the market, Sarah Brown and Conner Voss own Diggin’ Roots Farm, a quintessential family farm in Molalla.

“Not only do we co-own the land with our families but they have been hugely helpful with planting, harvesting, weeding, building greenhouses, and baby watching. Our families and friends have enabled us to follow our dream,” Brown said.

Brown studied sustainable agriculture at UC Davis, where she fell in love with farming.

“I came to farming through my love of food and cooking and Conner followed me,” she said. In 2012, they purchased their land and are working on building up clientele and becoming certified organic.

“I think we got asked at least once every week whether or not we are organic. We are looking forward to answering that with an excited ‘yes,’” she said.

Diggin’ Roots Farm is returning for a second year at the market in mid-June.

“We were really excited about selling at the local market as a way to connect to the community and meet folks. It was a great way to get to know the community and it forced us to get off the farm, which is hard for us to do,” Brown said.

Although Diggin’ Roots Farm sells much of its produce at the market, they also presell customer shares through a CSA program.

“The CSA offers a real unique opportunity for families to connect with the farm and their farmers. We love having people out to the land to see where the food is grown and how we’re doing it,” Brown said.

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