The second of three upper valley farmers’ markets, held at the Mt. Hood Town Hall, takes place Thursday, Aug. 11, from 4-7 p.m. The market features produce from upper valley farmers, fruit growers and artisans, a Master Gardeners plant clinic, and a meal created by the Fresh Start Culinary Institute. There’s also live music, libations at the bar, and kids activities.
And if the first market was any indication, this one will be well-attended, too — Amy Gray, Mt. Hood Town Hall manager, reports that a few hundred people turned out, with 75 suppers by Fresh Start served.
The nonprofit culinary school has teamed up with Mt. Hood Town Hall to not only showcase the hall’s new commercial kitchen, but to create a farm to plate dinner series.
The market as a whole is a way to “celebrate our brand new commercial kitchen,” said Gray. The board raised money locally, as well as received funding from the Murdoch Foundation, to renovate its existing kitchen “into a very high quality commercial kitchen,” she said. “This is a major win for upper valley residents who need to use it, and we’ll make it available at a very reasonable rate.”
The board not only supports the market by requiring no vendor fees, but supplements the Fresh Start meal as well. “It costs Fresh Start $14 a plate, and we ask community members to pay just $10 a plate,” she said. “We offset the cost because we truly want to build community, support farmers and artists, and announce to the neighborhood that the town hall is a place to teach, learn, cook, and connect.”
Other community benefits: Fresh Start purchases directly from farmers at the market, and customers can meet and talk with the farmers growing their food.
Gray said the board is hoping that more residents will use the hall this fall, winter and spring in one of the many ways it’s open to the community — using the new kitchen, attending or teaching classes, and connecting with others in the space.
“It’s slowly, but surely, becoming the active community center it is so perfectly built to be,” said Gray.
“At age 102, we’re proud to see it so well loved.”
The market runs July through September; the next and last market of the season will be Sept. 8.