Farmers’ Market provides an alternative market of which students should take advantage
Local’s come together every week to give the community an opportunity to by fresh and locally made goods. Featured at the market are a number of different types of vendors, including local farms’ produce, handmade goods, such as soaps and lotions, preserves and honey, as well as sellers who focus primarily on food prepared to eat on-site. The McMinnville Farmers’ Market is held every Thursday from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. starting the last week in May and running until mid-October.
Oakhill Organics is a main produce vendor at the Farmers’ Market and is set up to participate in the full 19-week period. They have gained much from their experiences with the market, understanding that has helped to shape their business.
Katie and Casey Vulla are the founders of Oakhill Organics and see the Farmers’ Market as more than just a marketing opportunity. By having direct interactions with their customers, they have been able to build relationships that have often grown into friendships.
“It’s value-added produce; it’s simple but it’s powerful,” Katie said. “The market provides the opportunity for us to have lower prices because we get to keep every dollar that we get.”
Katie and Casey expressed that they have not really seen many Linfield students coming out to the market, but that those who do are loyal.
Many of the booths at the market feature goods that local families and businesses produce. Candle, Bath & Spa Co. is a staple in this area.
Owners Deborah Young and Chris Smith have been with the market for two years now. The Farmers’ Market has provided an avenue through which they have been able to modify their products in order to cater to the needs of their now broad customer base.
They rely on the McMinnville Farmers’ Market and other farmers’ markets as the primary way to distribute their product. They also use the Internet, catalogs and are beginning to sell in stores downtown.
Haagenson’s Catering & BBQ, owned by Craig Haagenson, has been a feature food vendor for four years and has gained tremendous amounts of valuable material for the store, as well as for the market.
“The convenience of the market is what I think most people appreciate,” Haagenson said. “It’s about grabbing something like pulled-pork that is slowly cooked and walking down the street to get bread and veggies for dinner or even to get you through the weekend.”
For Haagenson’s, the market has helped to show the community the types of products that are available to them through its catering and to-go services. They have learned to adapt their menu at the market to cater to the environment.
Haagenson said he definitely expects to sees an increase in Linfield students and parents at the Farmers’ Market during the last two months of the market season.
“It has helped promote to Linfield our student discount that is [offered] on our to-go menu,” Haagenson said.