BANDON - The Port of Bandon's Old Town Marketplace Farmers Market will open for its eighth season on Friday, with more than 50 vendors offering their wares.
The Farmers Market will be open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. every Friday and Saturday through Dec. 21.
In addition, the eighth annual Good Earth Community Garden Plant Sale will be held this weekend, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday and Saturday (see related story).
Another new offering will be the opening of Farm & Sea on the Waterfront, a fresh seafood, locally grown meat and specialty market owned by Lori and Barry Osborne. The Osbornes are leasing the portion of the building that previously housed Watson's Live Seafood. The new business will be open sometime this summer. The Osbornes also run the Farm & Sea business inside the Marketplace building that sells craft beer, cider and wine, along with seafood cocktails and other fare.
Located at 250 First St. SW in the big green building on the Bandon waterfront, the 10,000 square foot building houses Oregon’s largest indoor farmers and artisans market. The building was formerly used for many years as a seafood processing plant. Once the plant closed, the building sat vacant for several years until the Port purchased it under former Port Manager Gina Dearth's leadership with the idea of turning it into income property. The building has undergone several upgrades. The building is available to rent during the week or in the off-season for events and activities. This year, the Port purchased tables and chairs that can be rented for use at the facility.
Market Manager Peggi Towne will be returning for another year of organizing all the activities for the Farmers Market 2019 season.
"We are full," said Towne of this year's vendors. "I'm excited for our eighth season. We started with nine vendors and now we're at 50."
This year's market season will house the usual market vendors that have been established since its inception, along with newcomers that bring value-added products to the market. Fresh produce, packaged local organic meats, eggs, locally produced foods, artisan crafts as well as updated food vendors will all be available.
Towne said there are about 45 vendors inside and five outside, depending on the week and day. There are 25-30 "pure farmers" who offer produce and other consumable items such as honey and jams, and several offering ready-to-eat foods, including Chubby Girl Cheesecakes, Capt. Bean's coffee, baked goods, John Towne's Famous Chowder, Mexican, Hawaiian, barbecue, hamburgers and Farm & Sea's shrimp and crab cocktails in an inside food court. Food can be purchased outside the Farmers Market and taken inside to eat.
In addition, there are about 20 artisans, offering hand-crafted wood products, fabric items, yarn, jewelry, photography and other art in various mediums.
"We're also expecting a chair massage woman in June and a woman who does henna art, as well as a couple who re-purpose furniture and two people who will sell dried and fresh herbs and sprouts," Towne said.
A new addition to the market season will be a monthly drawing, according to Port Project Coordinator Josh Adamson. Each visitor who fills out an information card can be entered to win a gift basket put together by several vendors with their products. Each month, the basket contents will be different.
Nonprofit groups also will make appearances at the Farmers Market during the season, including Shoreline Education for Awareness, the Bandon High School Transitional Youth Program, the Good Earth Community Garden, the Bandon Community Youth Center, Bandon Lions Club and others. Live music and other special vendors and events are offered on the Fourth of July and during Cranberry Festival.
“Every year we see the market grow," Adamson said. "With great produce, products and crafts, it’s become a popular tourist attraction along the Oregon South Coast. The market was just approved to accept WIC benefits in addition to being a part of the SNAP program. The Old Town Marketplace is also listed as one of the stops along the Wild Rivers Farm Trail.
"The Port of Bandon and Old Town Marketplace look forward to a great season with many holiday activities planned during the year."