Commerce — Newberg Farmers Market starts May 28, expecting more than 30 vendors

When the Newberg Farmers Market started six years ago there were only nine vendors. Now with opening day set for May 28, manager Mike Ragsdale said they have 30 vendors signed up.

“Right now we have more vendors signed up than we’ve ever had signed up at the beginning of the market,” Ragsdale said. “It’s growing every year.”by: GARY ALLEN - Opening soon - The farmer's market opens May 28 in its new          location at the Newberg Cultural District forecourt. Market Manager Mike Ragsdale expects more than 30 vendors to participate this year.

Growing in size isn’t the only change to the market’s season: with the completion of the Newberg Cultural District forecourt, the market has been relocated as well as rescheduled.

“That really is a nice setup here,” he said. But the market will now take place on Wednesdays to avoid conflict with Tunes on Tuesday. “It would be really difficult to have Tunes on Tuesday on Wednesday, so we changed instead of insisting they changed.”

The new space has more than a few advantages for the market, some of which Ragsdale said he helped plan for just this reason.

“As they were remodeling it, because the farmer’s market has been going on, they consulted with us about laying that side out to accommodate a market,” he said. So pop-up electrical outlets were added, which will eliminate power cables being strewn about, and the trees were limited. “I said you won’t want to ruin the layout for markets. The original architecture had trees all over it, so we narrowed it down.”

That lone tree will now provide shade for the large picnic benches — on loan from Sweet Oregon Berry Farm — that will remain a fixture outside the Chehalem Cultural Center all summer.

“So when people buy from our vendors they can sit down in the shade and eat,” Ragsdale said.

The vendors themselves will be set up along the border of the forecourt, leaving the street open for right-turning traffic from the library onto East Sheridan Street. However, the left side of Sheridan Street will be barricaded off.

This year there are two new types of vendors. The first, R&J Riverbrook Farm, will be the first vendor to sell goat products, including cheese and soaps.

“We haven’t had cheese vendors in the past so I’ve been disappointed. I’ve always wanted cheese vendors,” Ragsdale said.

There will also be limited wine tasting.

“I’ve always wanted to stay away until I was really confident the market was established because you get into wine tasting and it can really change the complexity of your market quite a bit,” he said. “The person that’s coming just gives sips (of wine), then bottle sales. I don’t want to encourage people to sit at the table and drink a bunch of wine.”

The market will also host its first “big time” vendor, a farmer from Grand Island.

“This was a fun experience for me because he said, ‘I’d like to be in your market’ … and he explained that he does the Beaverton farmers market and Portland farmers market. That’s a breakthrough for us because we’ve never been prestigious enough or large enough to attract the big players and here he is coming asking me if he can come to our market. That’s really a good statement (of) where our market is.”

Musicians will still be featured the length of the market, from 1:30 to 6 p.m., as well as a new splash pad sometime in the summer.

“So we’re going to have even more people in that zone,” Ragsdale said. “It’s going to be great.”

For more information, visit newberg-farmers-market.

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