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New farmers market set for Bull Mountain area

Not affiliated with Tigard-Area Farmers Market, new market hopes to offer shoppers more choice


by: SUBMITTED - Face painting artist Erin Mathews is one of several vendors at the new Tigard Bull Mountain Farmers Market which begins this Sunday.As vendors set up their booths at the Tigard Area Farmers Market for the opening of its 20th anniversary this Sunday, less than two miles away, Sean Mathews will be doing the same thing.

The Tigard father and former farmers market vendor has started a new market, and a direct competitor for the 20-year-old farmers market after it was purchased by the Tigard Area Chamber of Commerce last year.

He and his daughter have spent the better part of a decade as vendors at the Tigard Area Farmers Market, where his daughter gives face paintings. But Mathews said he saw a change in the market after it was taken over by the chamber.

“The other market had a different style of management, and I’m sure that will work out very well for them,” he said. “But it grew a division between the management and (some of) the people who were selling there. There are obviously many different management tactics.”

Mathews and a few other vendors started the Tigard Bull Mountain Farmers Market, which will open this Sunday at the base of Bull Mountain.

Mathews said he holds no ill will against the chamber for wanting to take over the market.

“I really want to see us get along,” he said.

Mathews said the premise for the Bull Mountain market is simple: It’s owned and operated by members of the market.

“They would control their own destiny,” Mathews said.

The market’s members are made up of vendors and local citizens, Mathews said, and would retain the ideals the Tigard market had for years: Allowing room for small farmers or other vendors a place to sell their wares.

“I don’t consider it a new market,” Mathews said. “It’s just a new location. It’s a continuation of the old philosophy. Anybody can come along, like an artist or something else, and we want to make sure that they have a place to express themselves.”

Room for everyone?

The market will spend its first year at Canterbury Square at the base of Bull Mountain. The lot is the current home to the Tigard Flea Market and Dollar Book Fair.

In a city of less than 50,000 residents, the decision to open up a second farmers market has some locals scratching their heads, Mathews admitted, but he said it makes sense.

“Tigard has grown, and the way that people are shopping is changing,” he said. “People are making better choices about what products they put on their table. There is always room to encourage people to shop at a local market.”

Debi Mollahan, the head of the Tigard Area Chamber of Commerce, which runs the Tigard-Area Farmer's Market, said that the two markets had a "neutral relationship" and said that the two markets would not be directly competing with one another.

But with both markets operating on Sundays between Mother’s Day and Halloween, shoppers will decide whether there is room in Tigard for the two markets, which are located less than five minutes from each other.

The Bull Mountain market has secured 35 vendors for its opening weekend — including some former vendors at the Tigard Area Farmers Market, Mathews said.

Fresh baked bread, potatoes, flowers and vegetables, as well as hanging baskets, arts and crafts and live music will be part of Sunday’s kickoff event.

“We really want to focus this year on providing an atmosphere,” Mathews said. “It’s not just a place that people can come and buy vegetables, it’s a place they can come and spend time with their family.”

Some vendors will have booths at both markets.

Two different sets of customers

Mathews said hosting his market on Sunday worked for the Tigard market, so finding shoppers in Bull Mountain on Sunday shouldn’t be a problem, he said.

“Traditionally, farmers markets here have worked as a Sunday activity, not Saturday,” Mathews said. “There are too many other things going on Saturdays. Sunday works here in Tigard, and if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Ideally, Mathews said, he’d like to see his market expand to a mid-week market similar to Beaverton, which has operated a summer farmers market on Wednesdays for years alongside its longstanding Saturday market, which runs through November.

“I’d like to see the market become a more fundamental piece of Tigard,” Mathews said. “This is something that will long outlast me. The way it’s set up, it’s something that won’t be able to be sold like the other market was.”

The Bull Mountain market’s manager Pam Benson, who previously managed the Tigard Area Farmers Market in 2009 and 2010, said the two markets would serve two different communities.

“With them downtown and us closer to Summerfield, King City and Bull Mountain, we have different client bases,” she said. “We’re bringing the farmers markets to where the residents are, instead of having one location where people have to come to us,” she said.

In the end, Mathews said, it’s about giving customers a choice where they want to spend their money.

“Having options is a good thing,” Mathews said.

The Tigard Bull Mountain Farmers Market opens Sunday at 14385 S.W. Pacific Highway. The market runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., each Sunday through Oct. 27.

A Facebook page has been set up to keep vendors and residents informed on the latest information, facebook.com/TigardBullMountainFarmersMarket.



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