Bringing it inside: Winter Market keeps farmers connected to customers

November 2018 Posted in Community, Food & Drink

Dan with Silver Falls Bread Company

By Melissa Wagoner

“Sometimes ‘feeding your neighbors’ is a metaphorical concept, and sometimes it’s literally the best thing you can do,” Hilary Dumitrescu said when asked about the new partnership between the Silverton Friends Church’s and the new Winter Market.

Dumitrescu went on to explain that two of the basic Quaker testimonies, which her church follows, are community and stewardship of the earth.

“By fostering community interaction and providing a place for our farmers to sell their sustainably-farmed products, we are demonstrating our faith in a tangible way,” she added. “It is truly joyful to host our farmer neighbors and the community at large.”

The extension of the Farmers Market into this off-season Winter Market is not actually new. Over the past few years a handful of market vendors have been putting on a weekly After Market inside Dan Lliteras’ Silver Falls Bread Co.

“It was great going in there – a little room, smelling like bread, with eggs, and vegetables, and pottery, and everyone coming in from the rain and talking, getting coffee next door at Gear Up,” market co-manager Alyssa Burge said.

“But there wasn’t enough space for everyone, and definitely not enough space for Dan to continue baking on Saturdays. So we started dreaming of doing a real, full-on, indoor winter market, and customers were asking us about it, too.”Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 3.09.46 PM

A search for a new, bigger space quickly turned up at the Friends Church – which offered space in the large parish hall. The first market began on Oct. 27.

“The Winter Market had a successful first weekend with 13 vendors and a good flow of customers,” market board president and owner of Gardenripe Bill Schiedler said. “Customer traffic was good and there were many comments from customers along the lines of being pleased to have a continuation of the regular market.”

The Winter Market will be open Saturdays 10 a.m. to noon until Dec. 15, reopening Feb. 3 – April 27. Many vendors will be offering gift items as well as foods to allow customers to serve locally grown Thanksgiving or Christmas meals.

“There is a nice selection of produce available still including leafy greens, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, beets, etcetera,” Schiedler said. “Also available are already harvested and stored items including onions, potatoes, elephant garlic and winter squash.”

But the best part of the market isn’t something for sale, according to Burge, it is catching up with friends and neighbors – a lesson she learned eight years ago when she worked as a vendor, alongside Schiedler.

“I loved the Silverton market, and talking to everyone in line, and seeing how loyal everyone was to shopping at the market – we would see the same people every week, buying a full week’s supply of groceries, and Bill would talk to everyone about their own gardens, their families, what they were cooking.  It was wonderful,” she said. “My husband and I sometimes feel like the farmers market is our closest thing to church – we get to see everyone we know, doing something we believe in.”

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