Market opens with sustainability in mind
The Lake Oswego Farmers' Market returns for its 18th year this weekend, kicking off a season of fresh produce and locally crafted goods. Come check out all your favorite vendors, and several new faces as well, when the market begins Saturday, May 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Millennium Plaza Park.
The opening day will feature a range of urban forestry activities for kids put on by Parks maintenance in coordination with Lake Oswego's Contract Arborist Morgan Holen. The Arbor Day art contest winners will be announced at the beginning of the day, with a prize wheel, scavenger hunt and temporary tattoos for the children. For adults there will be tree pruning demos and the free seedling handouts.
There are a few changes to the farmers' market this year, the biggest of which actually began in conversations last year between Market Manager Emily Liu and Sustainability and Management Analyst Jenny Slepian.
Last year Slepian introduced Liu and the LO Parks & Recreation department to the Surfrider Foundation, a nonprofit that advocates for the protection of oceans and beaches. Parks & Rec was looking to reduce waste at summer concerts, and upon connecting with Surfrider the department was able to secure a donation of 500 paper straws for use at events.
When Liu took over coordination of the market last year, one of her major focuses was to evaluate the market's sustainability practices and improve them. Liu then worked with Recreation Supervisor and Events Manager Jamie Inglis to come up with a three-year plan on how they could reduce plastic waste at the market.
Liu began by researching policies and figuring out how best to implement them moving forward for the betterment of both the market and the environment.
"I researched other farmers' market's sustainability policies in the area to see what they were doing, what works, what doesn't and what feedback have they received from their vendors and market patrons," Liu said. "We also wanted to reduce the financial burden on our vendors as much as possible, so I surveyed our vendors last year asking them what was feasible."
Liu decided to start with the ban of plastic straws and carry-out bags. Because the City of Lake Oswego's ban doesn't go into effect until July 1, the market will be one of the earliest adopters of the City's new policy. Liu's ultimate goal will be to remove all single-use plastic from the market. That will come with a tiered approach, according to Liu.
"We aim to get there one step at a time," she said.
In this first tier, which is being rolled out this season, not only will plastic straws and bags be banned, but also plastic water bottles. Water will be available to market patrons at two hydration stations located on the market grounds.
By taking a few small steps, Liu hopes this will give both vendors and market patrons time to adjust rather than implementing many new restrictions all at once.
According to Slepian, she's proud of the way Liu has approached these new policies in an effort to improve sustainability. She believes it's important for the City to lead the way in becoming better stewards of the environment, and if they're asking businesses to comply with new ordinances, why not the market too?
"Most of the credit should go to Emily Liu for communicating with vendors and making this a prerequisite for any vendor at the farmers' market," Slepian said. "Emily was determined to do this, with or without a city-wide ordinance in place, which was great. Many local ordinances exempt farmers' markets or their own city events from the bans, which feels to me like a privileged exception that puts the burden on businesses only."
Slepian notes that while there is a 10-cent pass through fee on paper bags packed into the City's plastic bag ordinance, market vendors will not be charged for paper bags. The farmers' market will also be giving out free reusable bags throughout the season for market patrons to take home.
"We feel we have a duty to take care of a parks & public spaces and the best way to do that is by creating as little of a footprint as possible when putting on community events," Liu said.
NEW VENDORS AT THE LO FARMERS' MARKET
— 2 Towns Ciderhouse: cider made with high quality, whole ingredients right here in the Pacific Northwest. Market dates: June 1, July 6, Aug. 10, Sept. 21
— 503 Distilling: an Oregon City-based distillery offering unique hand-crafted cocktails in 12-ounce cans. Market dates: May 18, June 15, July 20, Aug. 3, Oct. 5
— aMYLK: purveyor of artisanal, plant-based milks. Market dates: Full season
— Bridgetown Mushroom: fresh mushrooms for chefs and consumers, grown with sustainability in mind. Market dates: Full season
— Celia's Marketplace: authentic, gourmet flavored barrel-aged balsamic vinegars, vinaigrettes and olive oils. Market dates: Full season
— Creative Recipes/Cranberry Kitchen: Pacific Ocean cranberry farmers from Warrenton, Oregon. Market dates: May 18, June 15, June 29, July 13, July 27, Aug. 10, Aug. 24, Sept. 7, Sept. 21, Oct. 12
— Dauntless Wine Co.: founded by three Iraq War veterans, a nonprofit wine company that assists veterans who want to become farmers. Market dates: June 22, July 27, Aug. 24
— Everbearing Farms: a family-owned farm west of Woodburn offering a variety of veggies, fruits and flowers. Market dates: Full season
— Felton & Mary's Artisan Foods: barbecue sauces and dry rubs, a southeast Portland staple in the '80s & '90s. Market dates: May 18, June 8, June 29, Aug. 3, Aug. 31
— Grano Breads: local bakery focuses on naturally leavened breads using ancient grains from local producers. Market dates: Full season
— High Five Cupbop: serving fresh Korean BBQ beef, pork or chicken with rice and a variety of seasonal veggies in a single cup. Market dates: May 18 through Aug. 31
— La Mariposa: a variety of European-style cow's milk cheeses from a small cow farmer from Argentina now based in Albany, Oregon. Market dates: Full season
— Lucietta Wines: high quality Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. Market dates: June 29, Aug. 17, Sept. 14, Sept. 28, Oct. 5
— Pablo Munoz Farms: fresh, local produce at a reasonable price. Market dates: Full season
— Roots Gather + Give: Roots Gather + Give exists to give generously to the charities making a difference in the community. They do this by curating and creating amazing craft beverages. Market dates: June 1, July 13, Sept. 21, Oct. 12
— Sacred Summit: specializing in stone ground spices and hand-blended loose-leaf teas. Market dates: May 18, June 8, July 6, Aug. 3, Aug. 31, Sept. 28, Oct. 5, Oct. 12
— Townshend's Distillery: a new project of Townshend's Tea Co. of Portland. Tea spirits made entirely out of their southeast Portland distillery. Market dates: June 22, Oct. 12
— Tumwater Vineyard: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grown and made in West Linn. Market dates: June 1, June 15, July 6, July 20, Aug. 3, Sept. 7, Sept. 21
— Westward Whiskey Distillery: founded in 2004 bringing together the best of American whiskey and craft beer traditions. Market dates: Aug. 24, Sept. 28
— York Farm Fresh/Central Oregon Wagyu: 100% Japanese Wagyu cattle and grass-fed beef from Redmond, Oregon. Market dates: July 6, July 20, Aug. 3, Aug. 17, Aug. 31, Sept. 14, Sept. 28, Oct. 12