When Bonnie Cox moved to Hood River from Corvallis about three years ago, she noticed something was missing: a “Fill Your Pantry” market.
She’d participated in such markets while living in the Willamette Valley, both as a shopper and a vendor, and saw the lack here as an opportunity.
She brought it up at a Rockford Grange meeting — she serves as secretary —and the group decided to move forward with the idea. Cox and fellow Grangers Linda Short and Aera Atkins have been planning the Nov. 7 market since last winter with the goal of “trying to connect local food with local eaters, strengthening our own local food system, and preparedness for winter,” Cox said.
Nov. 7 Market
Fill Your Pantry will run from 2-6 p.m. at the Rockford Grange. The market is free and open to all.
“Early on, we met with Gorge Grown and some of the OSU Extension staff to see if they were interested in helping,” she said. The two are now co-sponsoring the event with the Grange. “They’ve been helpful in getting the word out.”
As word has spread, more and more vendors have jumped onboard. The event is holding at about 20 vendors, but Cox is getting phone calls inquiring about space even now.
“Gorge Grown put it out to their producers list — they have a wide reach; that was helpful — later in the summer. We had gaps, like in grain, and they were helpful in reaching out to some of the farms we didn’t know directly,” she said.
“We wanted to present the broadest selection of storable food products we could, grown in the Gorge or a little beyond,” she explained.
Although there are two farms coming to Saturday’s event that are not from the Gorge (one from Bend, another from Monument), the majority will be from the Gorge — and that’s kind of the point.
“We want to offer a bounty with what’s grown in in our area and provide another marketing opportunity for vendors in the Gorge,” she said.
Because the Fill Your Pantry market is co-sponsored by Gorge Grown, SNAP, EBT, and Veggie Rx payments will be accepted.
“It’s a great collaboration to offer that at our market,” she said.
For those interested in buying in bulk, some discounts will be available. Vendors are preparing for such sales, she said — she has one selling five gallon buckets of honey, and another 20 pound packages of potatoes. Of course, there will be smaller quantities, too.
Other foods and products include onions, garlic, root crops, winter squash, carrots, cabbage, dry beans, wheat flour, wheat berries, rye flour, flour corn, pancake mix, jams, jellies, beef, pork, lamb, fresh and dried fruit, frozen berries, dried herbs, herbal tea blends, infused vinegars, kombucha, sparkling kefir, soaps, salves, and lotions.
All value-added foods, like jams and jellies, have been prepared according to state food safety regulations in either commercial or domestic kitchens, just as at any other Gorge Grown market.
For those wondering how they’ll properly store their finds, OSU Extension Service will hold demonstrations covering everything from food storage to processing techniques, and Grow Organic will demonstrate home-scale food processing equipment, some of which will be for sale.
On a lighter side, bluegrass trio Spring Creek Band will perform all afternoon, and there will be kids’ activities and educational materials, too.
“I think it’s going to be a fun day,” Cox said. “It will be lively. I’m trying to figure out how to do my shopping while running the market!”