Corvallis-Albany Farmers’ Markets
LOCATIONS: 1st & Jackson in Corvallis, 4th & Ellsworth in Albany
DAYS/HOURS: Corvallis — Saturdays 9 am–1 pm (4/14– 11/17/12) and Wednesdays 9 am–1 pm (4/18 – 11/21/12)
Albany — Saturdays 9 am–1 pm (4/14–11/17/12)
PHONE NUMBER: 541-740-1542
WEB SITE: www.locallygrown.org
ADDRESS: PO Box 2602, Corvallis OR 97339
MARKET DIRECTOR: Rebecca Landis
YEARS IN BUSINESS: Corvallis Wednesday market – 31 years, Corvallis Saturday market – 21 years, Albany market – 34 years
WHAT THEY SELL: Vegetables, fruit, grains, dried beans, mushrooms, meat, cheese, eggs, honey, bread, nursery plants, seeds, cut flowers, and prepared foods
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: The Farmers’ Market is a special event, since there’s always something new. The variety of offerings is remarkable – and delicious!
Want to know where your food comes from? Want to chat with a farmer? Then visit the Corvallis-Albany Farmers’ Markets. Held Wednesdays and Saturdays in Corvallis and Saturday in Albany, the markets are a great place to connect with local farmers, select farm-fresh seasonal produce, enjoy some homegrown music, and socialize.
Rebecca, what is the primary goal of the Farmers’ Markets? The goal of the markets is to create highly visible and vibrant community gathering places where local agricultural producers can sell directly to consumers. Markets are actually collections of small independent businesses, many of which had no foothold in the national and global food system that evolved starting in the mid 20th century.
What is “farm direct marketing”? Farm direct marketing means products sold at our markets are grown by the farmers and their workers with no “middle person.” It is the opposite of resale, where food changes hands one or more times, and there is no direct connection between farms and consumers. We also provide advice to farmers pursuing other forms of farm direct marketing, such as Community Supported Agriculture boxes, farm stands and buying clubs. Another key policy is how we define “local.” We limit our geographic region to six counties: Benton, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, and Polk.
Are there others who use this six-county area to define “local”? Yes, the First Alternative Co-op adopted the market’s geographic region for their “Local 6” program. Not all of the Co-op’s Local 6 products are farm direct, because Local 6 also recognizes local processing.
Are there any non-farm items sold at the market? There are a limited number of restaurant booths and baked goods available so patrons can enjoy a delicious breakfast or snack while they shop. The beautiful farm displays make you hungry, so without a little prepared food on site people would have to leave too quickly. We allocate most of our space to farms, and these exception vendors are selected based partly on ingredient sourcing.
How did the farmers’ markets in Corvallis and Albany develop? Farmers’ markets have had a presence in the Corvallis/Albany area since 1978. The current Corvallis Saturday market began in 1991 when Ron Spisso, who was new to Corvallis, worked with local farmers to get the market going. After four years, the volunteers running the market felt it had expanded enough to hire staff, and I was hired as the market director in 1995. At that time 14 vendors was a big day. Compare that to the 55 vendors at last Saturday’s market!
Are farmers involved in decision-making for the Farmers’ Market? In 1998 the Albany and Corvallis markets came together to form the Corvallis-Albany Farmers’ Markets, which is now a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization. The CAFM is overseen by a 10-member board, seven of whom must be farmers. The remainder of the board can be made up of community members, but currently we have one non-vendor. Close contact with farmers is essential to create a market that provides a functional service to farmers.
In addition to offering produce fresh from the farm, how does the Farmers’ Market serve the community? Community members who are backyard growers can sell their excess produce at the community table. Also, we try to make it as easy as possible for people to make purchases at the market. Oregon Trail cardholders can use their cards to purchase tokens they can use in place of cash at vendors’ booths. In fact, any cash-free market patron can use a debit card to purchase tokens, and local restaurants can use debit cards to purchase tokens, saving them from creating a separate invoice for each vendor. This makes it a lot easier for them to manage their books. Another service of the market is that community groups are invited to have informational tables or activities at the market.
Will there still be a reason to visit the market as the weather gets colder? Absolutely! The market runs until the Wednesday before Thanksgiving so you can purchase almost everything you need for your holiday dinner right here.
(Interview and article by Kate Lindburg – October 14, 2012)
The Local Business of the Week program is designed to help the Corvallis community identify our locally-owned independent businesses by featuring one business each week. The program is part of the Buy Local First campaign co-sponsored by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and the Corvallis Independent Business Alliance.