Is The New Farmer’s Market Helping Local Businesses?

While it’s still early in the season, the first weeks of the new Canyonville Farmer’s Market, which began on May 9, appear to be a great success and can only get better in the weeks to come.

Vendor Liz Matteson noted that even on a fellow vendor’s first day, the previous week, when things were a bit slow due to the weather, the vendor indicated they had a “good day”. She noted that customers from Azalea to the south and Myrtle Creek to the north have indicated that they will keep coming to the weekly market, which began on May 9th. She added that she now does her own shopping in Canyonville on Wednesdays, working with the market schedule.

Promise Natural Foods proprietor Javelin Ormond, who has had a booth at the market since the second week of operation, noted that two people came into his store for the very first time last week after purchasing his granola at the market.

Next to the Promise booth was Lisa Wiggs with Oregon Sunshine, only in her second week at the market, and she has found it a little slow, but felt that “once the vegetables come in” it will draw more people, and it’s “something to do.”

“It’s just another venue to sell stuff and be known,” remarked Bruce Gordon of Commonwealth Garden Shoppe. “Some people didn’t know we were here,” he said.

Twisted Sisters bakery comes up from Medford with their unique baked items,  and noted that even with the time and gas involved, it’s been worth it, as they sell out of almost everything each week, as does the tamale vendor from Grants Pass, which has people standing in line.

Market manager Maryjean Anderson noted that the purpose of the market is not so much to sell product as to be a presence and introduce themselves and their products, particularly vendors like Henry Estate winery and Big Lick Farms, which sells a package of weekly boxes of produce for a set fee, like a subscription, which has proven to be quite popular.

Anderson said, “Now that we’re into the fifth week, people are starting to plan this into their week, and have commented that they are setting aside some of their grocery money to come here. It’s a sign we’re doing well.”

From a community standpoint, the market is already a plus: “People are making new friends, sitting at the tables–I love what it’s doing for the community,” Anderson said. “I overheard a man say, ‘I haven’t seen you in 5 years and now I see you every week!’ Seeing people and trying new things…there’s a lot of value in that,” she said.

The Canyonville Farmer’s Market is held in the south parking lot of the Seven Feathers Casino from 4-7 p.m. each Wednesday through October, with easy access off I-5 at Exit 99.