By Deborah Pleva, Weinstein PR
Portland Farmers Market and Portland State University today announced that Portland Farmers Market’s flagship Saturday market, located on the south Park Blocks in the heart of the PSU campus, previously operating mid-March through mid-December, will now remain open year-round.
This season, the Winter Market at PSU will be open every Saturday from January 3, 2015, to February 28, 2015, from 9 am to 2 pm. The Winter Market footprint will be one block, from Montgomery to Harrison, expanding back to the full two-block footprint in March, when it resumes its regular hours of 8:30 am to 2 pm.
“Portland State University’s beautiful South Park Blocks have long been the perfect location for our world-class market, and we are thrilled to now make the location our year-round home,” said Trudy Toliver, executive director of Portland Farmers Market. “We are grateful to the university for its ongoing support of our dedicated farmers, ranchers, fishermen and small food businesses, as well as our loyal shoppers.”
Portland State President Wim Wiewel praised the new agreement as an expansion of a highly successful partnership between the university and Portland Farmers Market. “The Portland State Farmers Market exemplifies our connections to the community. It provides economic opportunity and showcases sustainability. We are proud to have this grow,” Wiewel said.
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales welcomed the news, and said, “The Portland Farmers Market has played a major role in establishing our city as one of the most sustainable cities in the world. It is a major benefit to our residents and local farmers, and one of the institutions that makes Portland so livable and unique. It’s terrific news to have a year-round farmers market at PSU in the heart of the city.”
HISTORY OF SATURDAY MARKET AT PSU
Founded in 1992, the original Portland Farmers Market was held in a parking lot along the Willamette River at Albers Mill. Portland Farmers Market transplanted the budding market to one city block on the PSU campus in 1996. In 2010, as crowds of shoppers swelled to 16,000 in the summer months, the market doubled its footprint expanding to two city blocks, from SW Montgomery Street to SW Hall Street.
In January 2012, Portland Farmers Market opened an eight-week Winter Market at Shemanski Park to meet the growing demand for locally-grown produce during the winter months. Now, rather than closing down the PSU location and moving to Shemanski Park, the Saturday Market at PSU will stay open all four seasons of the year.
Portland Farmers Market staff will provide a covered seating area at the PSU Winter Market to protect shoppers from inclement weather. Just like during the other market months, shoppers will have easy access to restrooms in the Smith Memorial Student Union building.
YEAR-ROUND MARKET MEETS THE NEEDS OF LOCAL FARMERS
Year-round farmers markets have become increasingly viable thanks to the region’s innovative farmers, who have started to employ a variety of season-extending techniques such as planting winter-hardy varietals and using row covers, cold frames and hoop houses to protect crops from the elements. Dedicated shoppers that frequent markets even during the darkest, coldest, wettest months also have been key to expanding the season.
The year-round market helps expand the local food economy by providing shoppers a destination to purchase locally grown and produced foods all year long. For small family farms, having year-round sales can greatly impact their ability to balance out annual income, retain employees and invest in farm equipment and other needs.
“More people buying vegetables at farmers markets in the winter means more income for the farm in the winter and being able to keep some employees working year round rather than the standard seasonal work model,” shares Lane Selman, market manager for Gathering Together Farm.
Market shoppers can expect to find produce vendors offering piles of purple and green kale, broccoli and cauliflower; pyramids of carrots, parsnips and beets; and baskets of apples, pears, winter squash, potatoes and onions. Other vendors will sell meats, fish, eggs, artisan breads, cheeses and sweets. Hot food and coffee will round out the full market experience.
Added Toliver, “The Winter Market at PSU will offer everything we need to keep our soup pots and dinner tables full of local goodness throughout the winter months.”