The Portland Farmers Market, located on the Portland State park blocks every Saturday, has announced it will now be operating year-round. In previous years, the market would close from mid-December until mid-March. Due to the needs of local farmers and customer demand, the market will be open every Saturday starting this year.
“We have an established base of shoppers, and the push to go year-round has finally just become what we should do,” said Jaret Foster, the operations director for the Portland Farmers Market. “We felt comfortable that we had enough vendors and farmers and people who were interested in coming to the markets, and then the shopper base as well.”
The shift to year-round is expected to simplify market operations. “Before, we would move down the park blocks and open up the Winter Market in Shemanski Park just for January and February,” said Mona Johnson, the Portland Farmers Market communications manager. “I think that created a little bit of confusion for the customer, and there was probably a little bit of drop off. Some people didn’t know we had a Winter Market, so in that regard it’s going to be such a win for us to make it seem seamless for the shopper.”
“For the Winter Market at PSU, we’ll shrink to just one block, and it’ll be 50 or 60 vendors to take up the whole block. We hope there’s enough shoppers to support all that, but in a couple years we’ll have a really steady group of vendors to build up the Winter Market shopper base,” Foster said.
The year-round farmers’ market will play a role in PSU’s community as well. “It’s an important part of the Portland culture to go to farmers’ markets and get locally produced products. So, having one on our campus, a place where we encourage locally grown, locally sourced, sustainable businesses and products, it just makes sense to have them right on our campus,” said Scott Gallagher, director of communications at PSU.
“People are already kind of used to that ritual of going down Saturday morning to the PSU market, and they’ll just make it part of their routine, which I think is great,” Johnson said.
“I come here pretty much every week. I just live down the way, so it’s really convenient,” said Daniel Dostal, a customer at the PSU Farmers Market.
Dostal said the main attraction to the market is local and seasonal foods. He wondered how the winter season will affect produce diversity.
“There’s a lot of farmers especially that blow my mind with what they’re able to bring to the market in the winter months because of all the innovative growing techniques they’re using, and just planning ahead for planting crops that really thrive during the colder months,” Johnson said. “They’re working so hard to bring all this beautiful food, and I think we’re going to have a better stage for them at PSU. I think it’ll be better attended than our Winter Market, and people will have a destination year-round for food, which is a great story to tell.”
Gallagher said the market brings the community together and reflects the values of the PSU campus.
“The farmers’ market is an example of what we promote in the university as a whole. Sustainability is integrated into the curriculum at PSU and everything that we do, so having a farmers’ market is a perfect fit into the extension of that,” Gallagher said.
More information about the PSU Market and the seven different markets operating under the Portland Farmers Market organization is available at their website at Portland Farmers Market.