Farmers Markets Oregon style

/
/
/
/
/
/
Farmers Markets Oregon style

One of the things that hits me us as we travel up the west coast of the USA is how much more organised the marketing of markets is compared to most parts of the world. There seems to be a lot more cooperation between markets to build the pie for everyone. Oregon could be classed as one of the homes of the farmers market movement in the USA. The first market was at Salem and that started in the 1940’s. Oregon, the hazlenut capital of the USA which supplies 100% of Americas hazelnuts, blackberries, raspberries and loganberries, plus 43,100,000 pounds of blueberries, $55,184,000 worth of cherries, $29,175,000 worth of crabs and 30% of the nations peppermint. The State fruit is the pear and 197,000 tonnes are sold to Americans from this State, but the State also boasts over 800 vineyards. Ten years ago the State had 10 farmers Markets, but in the last decade that has grown to over 100 markets for a population of 3.3 million people. Over 1,000 farmers participate in these markets and in the summer months over 90,000 people a week go to a market. The Oregon Department of Agriculture is working with the Oregon Farmers Market Association to regulate the markets and to provide a set of best practice rules. The Department has also launched the ODA Food Safety Establishment Standards and Standards for Retail Food Service Activities to cover food safety in farmers markets. Silverton Farmers Market has just introduced an Electronic Transfer machine that allows consumers on the Oregon Trail program to purchase fresh produce and provides discount coupons for seniors. Vouchers are also provided through the Oregon Farm Direct Nutrition Program to low income young families to spend directly with farmers at farmers markets. Oregon also has the Community Supported Agriculture scheme .This enable people to subscribe to a yearly subscription to a local farm and to receive a weekly box of fresh produce. This scheme is often promoted by the farmers market. The market schemes in Oregon are worth looking at, especially as other market communities start to grow. Note – The material in this article is from an article by Linda Whitmore entitled “Get it Local, get it fresh” in The Home and Garden Journal July/August 2010