Local vendors get to know community at West Linn Summer market
Two-and a half months into the season, the West Linn Summer Street Market in the Historic Willamette District is bustling. The biggest hiccup for the market so far this year has been the heat, which forced the July 25 market to close and kept away some vendors and customers on Aug. 17.
"Anytime we see the weather heat up, we see attendance drop," said Market Manager Holly Gravier. "It was toasty down there yesterday (Aug. 17) but there were still lots of folks out shopping, which was nice to see."
There are just a few market dates left of the year: Wednesdays, Aug. 24, Aug. 31, Sept. 7 and Sept. 14. The Historic Willamette Main Street organization has run the market for the past 10 years, and this year Gravier was hired to lead that work. So far it seems customers and vendors are pleased with how the market runs.
This year is the first Triskelee Farm has a booth at the market, and Nikii Linehan, who runs the farm with her family, loves it.
"We missed the last two weeks and people were asking for our products," she said. "I like this market because they help promote their vendors. It's been really helpful. They do a lot of good social media marketing and even help promote our events that aren't here at the market."
Triskelee Farms, which the Linehans began in West Linn's Pete's Mountain area about five years ago, sells yarn from Alpaca fibers, milk and cheese from their goats, duck and chicken eggs, lamb and ostrich meat and aquaponic greens like kale.
Drea Doss of Drea's Badass Cookies is also selling at the West Linn market for the first time this year. Doss bakes cookies adhering to dietary restrictions like vegan and gluten-free in a variety of flavors like s'mores, lemon raspberry, caramel apple and her own take on the Girl Scout classic Samoa. Her "fully-loaded" cookies are for those without dietary restrictions.
"I try to offer something for everybody," Doss said.
Dayton-based Fulton Family Farms specializes in stone fruits like peaches, nectarines, apricots and cherries but also sells berries and sweet corn, is also spending its first year at the West Linn market
"A lot of people enjoy our sweet corn," said farmer Chris Fulton said. "But peaches are always the hit."
Though they started distilling vodka, whiskey and bourbon in 2014, West Linn couple Beth and Jason Johnson only began selling their spirits at the Summer Street Market this year.
Beth said it's been a great way to let more people in town know about their business, Double Circle Spirits.
The Johnsons use wheat grown on their family ranch in The Dalles to distill their beverages.
"We're most proud that they're all made from the wheat from our ranch. The ranch has been in our family for five generations," Beth said. "It was a dream of my husband's to do this. He talked about it a lot and back in 2014, so we decided to take a leap of faith and start it."
In addition to single-barrel and small-batch whiskey, bourbon and three different vodkas, the Johnsons also sell bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup, made in collaboration with family friends who own a maple farm in upstate New York.
While the first few weeks of the summer market included 75-80 vendors, participation from the sellers has stayed consistently around 65-70 throughout the summer, according to Gravier.
As much as vendors seem to enjoy the business, market shoppers of all ages are finding fun each week as well. Gravier said over 100 kids receive Power of Produce tokens, which are good for $2 of honey or fresh produce from any vendor, each Wednesday.
"The kids just love it and the vendors all know that we have it, and so they're really good about pricing things like little $2 baskets of berries and things like that for the kiddos," she said.
According to Gravier, kids have also been excited for the biweekly scavenger hunt, which can earn them more tokens and a shot at a gift certificate for a Willamette-area restaurant.
Gravier also pointed out that the market isn't just a farmer's market and includes a number of great jewelry and craft vendors. People have enjoyed Double Circle and the other vendors selling liquor, wine and alcohol, she added.
"A lot of people enjoy coming down, walking the market, sampling things and then maybe going and sitting down for dinner at one of the restaurants," she said.
"There's a nice festive atmosphere on Wednesday evenings here in the Old Willamette District," Fulton added.
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