Farmers’ Markets provide healthy local produce

August 1, 2018

Farmers markets in Douglas County provide locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables for consumers. Amanda Pastoria, the director of the Umpqua Valley Farmers Market talked recently about the year-round market, what is available and the health benefits, with host Lisa Platt on Talking Health on News Radio 1240 KQEN.

The following is an edited version of that interview.

Lisa: Can you tell us about the farmers market and when did it start?

Amanda: It started in 1994 with five vendors and five board members. We’re in Roseburg at the First United Methodist Church at 1771 W. Harvard. The market is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Lisa: What is in season right now?

Amanda: We have blueberries, cherries, peaches, wonderful salad greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, peas, snap peas, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, turnips, beets, radishes, and corn, and melons are coming on.

So all of your favorite summertime goodies that are fresh and healthful, you can find at our market right now.

Lisa: How is utilizing the fresh produce at the farmers market good for both our economy and our health?

Amanda: It’s been proven that produce that is picked and eaten, or at least bought within 24 hours, has more nutrients than something that has traveled 2,000 miles to get to your grocery store.

It’s normally not picked when it’s ripe. It loses a lot of that nutrient when it has to be moved and refrigerated. Also having to travel that far uses a ton of fossil fuel. So buying local really cuts down on harm to the earth.

At the grocery store, the farmers only get 15 cents of every dollar that is spent on produce. If you shop at a farmers market 100 percent of those dollars go right back to that farm.

Lisa: Do we have (Community Supported Agriculture) options for food at the famers market?

Amanda: We have a few farms at the market that do CSAs. You sign up with the farmer and each week you will get a basket, averaging about $25 worth of produce.

It is such an incredible offering to eat seasonal, to stay healthy, to know your farmer, to know where your food is coming from.

Lisa: Can you walk us through the timeline from when the farmers start planting their crops?

Amanda: We have three farms that operate year-round. They are planting every season, all year long. It’s an ongoing process of buying seeds, fertilizer and weeding and constantly moving irrigation pipes.

It’s really a lot about timing and you’re at the mercy of the climate. But here in Douglas County, it’s a wonderful place to grow food year-round because it’s such a mild climate.

We do have the capability here with green houses to extend that growing season all year long. But the planning really takes place all the time. For the farmers that are only doing summer market, they start planting in January for their summer crops.

Lisa: Our farmers market goes all year, so do we have a lot of greenhouses and hoop houses?

Amanda: Yes, especially the farms that go all year, most of them have eight to 10 hundred-foot hoop houses that they use. They are full all year-round, and in the summer.

Lisa: You want to share a favorite recipe on your favorite vegetable and how to cook it?

Amanda: My favorite thing to make with all the tomatoes is bruschetta. You chop up tomatoes, a little red torpedo onion, basil, garlic and add some balsamic vinegar.

Lisa: Do we have a lot of food demonstrations at the farmers market?

Amanda: We do demonstrations a couple of times a year. The next one will be Aug. 11.

Aug. 5-11 is National Farmers Market Week, so that Saturday will be our day for demonstrations and just generally celebrating National Farmers Market Week.

Lisa: Is it typical for a farmers market to be year-round, or do many of them shut down during the winter season?

Amanda: There are some that just go throughout the summer, however we’ve had great success running all year. We have about half the number of vendors in the winter, but we still have a great selection for our customers.

Lisa: Since you are open year around, what can people expect to see in those winter months?

Amanda: Root vegetables, potatoes, onions, winter squash, cauliflower and broccoli. We still get beets, apples, and an amazing variety of winter squash.

We also have a lot of bakers and crafters, and everything from garlic to lavender, beeswax candles, and mushrooms.

Lisa: How many vendors do you usually have?

Amanda: We have 67 active vendors right now, and 26 of them are farmers. That number changes all the time.

Lisa: Are there other market days in the community?

Amanda: Southside Community Market is on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Senior Center, in Roseburg.

Canyonville is Wednesday at Seven Feathers from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Lookingglass is Thursday at the Lookingglass Grange from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Sutherlin Market is on Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the corner of Willamette and Everett across from Central Park.

The Umpqua Valley Farmers Market is on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church at Harvard and Keady Court in Roseburg.

Lisa: How many people come through the market on Saturdays?

Amanda: We could have anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500. It’s a great environment to be in with the community of the farmers and the vendors, camaraderie is so great.

Lisa: How can you pay for your food?

Amanda: All of our vendors take cash, and if you come to the manager, we can swipe your credit or debit card and we give you tokens to use in the market.

If you have a SNAP card or EBT card you can just come to the manager’s booth and get tokens to use in the market, and right now we have a $6 match on top of that, so we’ll give you an extra $6 to use for fresh produce.

Lisa: What is your website for more information?

Amanda: It’s www.uvfarmersmarket.com.

All of these markets have Facebook pages that are very active. It really helps get the word out about the wonderful things in our community.

Coming to the farmers market is such a wonderful opportunity for your children to learn about eating healthy, and to get out and have personal interactions.

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