Forest Grove nonprofit, Adelante Mujeres, opens up its indoor market at Elks Lodge for Nov. 18, Dec. 2 and 16.

COURTESY PHOTO: ADELANTES MUJERES - Vendors from around Washington County sell at the indoor markets, including jewerly, gifts and produce. Local farmers markets may have wrapped for the season, but cooler winter weather hasn't stopped Forest Grove-based nonprofit Adelante Mujeres, which has brought back its indoor farmers markets, just in time as holiday shopping kicks in.

The indoor market, held at the Forest Grove Elks Lodge on 2810 Pacific Ave., runs every other week through November and December. The next market is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 18.

On Nov. 18, Dec. 2 and 16, families and community members can get their farmer market experience in a warmer setting from 1 to 5 p.m., with live music playing as visitors' shop.

Adelante Mujeres, a nonprofit working to educate and empower Latina women in Washington County, began managing the Forest Grove Farmers Market in 2005, and has run an indoor market for the last six seasons.

Kaely Summers is the organization's nutrition and farmers market manager, and for her, the markets are about connecting with the source when buying locally.

"For the conscious shopper, there is value in buying your products locally," Summers said. "When you come into the market it is a very visceral experience. The colors, the smiling faces, it is a joyful experience versus a big box store. We really like to make this an experience."

The market was previously held at the site of the recently opened Jessie Quinn apartment building in downtown Forest Grove. Summer said the new location has brought better exposure to the market.

"They have been so accommodating to us," Summers said. "We are able to be more visible to Forest Grove here."

Most vendors at the market are local, hailing from Forest Grove, Hillsboro, Gales Creek, Banks and some a few from Portland, Summers said.

"What is really unique about any farmers market is you get to know where your food is coming from, how is it processed and grown. You are really able to hear the story and know your dollars are going to the person who created what you are buying," Summers said. "You are supporting the local economy and not buying online gifts. You know where your money is going to."

Keeping up the market in the late fall and winter is about giving vendors a chance to share resources while they are readily available, Summers said.

"There is still a ton of produce," she said. "People often think, there are no more tomatoes or blackberries this time of year, but there are definitely a lot still available in fall and winter. Onions, potatoes, squash, chard and kale — even some winter fruits like apple and persimmons."

COURTESY PHOTO: ADELANTE MUJERES  - Adelante Mujeres has hosted indoors markets for over six seasons in Forest Grove, advocating for food to be accessible to the community. Other vendors who don't make it out to the farmers market in the spring and summer make a point to set up shop at the indoor markets, Summers said, including bakers, coffee roasters, and people selling honey, soaps, salts and other gifts for early Christmas shoppers.

The indoor market accepts federal food assistance programs, such as SNAP, WIC and FDNAP funds. Shoppers with these programs can also receive up to $10 matched for food funds by Adelante Mujeres.

"I think getting the word out about SNAP and WIC benefits (is important) and people can get extra money to shop for fruits and vegetables because we know there are folks who don't know about it with Thanksgiving coming up," Summers said. "We had a woman come last year who had no idea we gave out extra funds, and she literally began to cry. She said, 'You don't know how much this means that I will be able to bring more food home to my family.' It is make-it or break-it for some people to buy quality ingredients for their family."

By Janae Easlon
Features Editor
Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune
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