Camas Farmer’s Market prepares to open for seventh season

The Camas Farmer’s Market will kick off its seventh season on Wednesday, June 4, with locally grown produce, food, new offerings and a health fair featuring Pure Wellness Chiropractic. “I love how this event brings people together, educates them on healthier lifestyle choices and provides such great access to local produce and food,” said Carrie Schulstad, a founding board member.

If you go

Camas Farmer’s Market is held from 3 to 7 p.m. every Wednesday, from June 4 through Oct. 1.

It is located in front of the Camas Public Library, 625 N.E. Fourth Ave. In addition to cash, the market accepts Visa, Mastercard, Discover, EBT cards and WIC vouchers.

For more information, visit www.camasfarmersm...

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Youngsters pause for a moment after the mini pie eating contest at the 2013 Camas Farmer’s Market. The popular event is returning this year.

Every Wednesday, a myriad of tantalizing aromas, music and conversation floats through downtown Camas when the Farmer’s Market opens.

Located between the library and City Hall, this local market includes fresh fruit, produce, cooking demonstrations, wine and food vendors, beverages, kids activities and much more.

“I really like to see the spirit of community come alive every Wednesday when the market is just bustling with energy and happiness,” said Marilyn Goodman, program coordinator, who began her job with the market two years ago.

“It has been so exciting to see how much people love this small town market,” she said. “I enjoy talking with customers about what brings them back each week and hearing their stories. We are so fortunate in having an excellent crew of volunteers who set up the market each week and help us tear down and our board members, some who have been with the market since it started out seven years ago.”

On a typical Wednesday evening at the market, families can be found eating dinner together and children are often running around on the lawn of the library, a book in one hand and a treat in the other.

There is no shortage of activities, either. The Kids Connection booth keeps the young ones occupied and educated.

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Beautiful berries of all kinds can be found at the market.

“We have some kids activities that get them moving around the market and asking the farmers questions that help them understand where that potato really came from or what is ‘that purple thing’ (eggplant). It is the best thing to see,” Goodman remarked.

She adds, “I know it’s a good sign when the kids don’t want to leave the booth because they are having so much fun exploring the pretend store, working on a puzzle or making a farm collage.”

New this year will be wine tasting, as a state law now allows it at farmer’s markets.

“We are now able to allow our customers to sample wine from our two fine wine vendors, Klickitat Canyon and Terra Vinum, LLC before purchasing a bottle,” Goodman said. “We hope this will result in increased revenues for our wine vendors. We also have a new vendor, which is actually a co-op made up of backyard farmers who bring their produce to various markets. It’s a very unique program that allows multiple people who are passionate about growing good food to be involved in the markets.”

Ginger Juice of Washougal, which makes beverages from organic fruits and vegetables, will also be a new face this year.

Some popular returning activities include the Veggie Derby, where children turn vegetables into race cars, a mini pie eating contest, complimentary berry shortcake and the fall themed Harvest Festival in early October.

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Kids give their creations one final inspection before the Veggie Derby. Awards are given out for most use of veggies, farthest/fastest and most creative.

In addition, the Healthy Living booth will return with community partners who share information about exercise, nutrition, wellness and food security.

“The market just continues to get better and better each year,” Goodman said. “We work with many community partners who reach out to families with limited incomes such as Women, Infant and Children (WIC), who provide vouchers on two days at the market.”

In conjunction with WIC, Healthy Families, a WSU program, provides customers with chef demos using produce found in the market. Eligible customers then get to take home a bag of the produce used to create the recipe.

“With New Seasons Market’s support we are thrilled to offer the Fresh Match program again this year, which allows families using their EBT card the opportunity to receive $5 in matching tokens to be used at the market,” Goodman said.

Providence Health & Services will also be back again with their special event days where free blood pressure checks and general health information is available.

A few popular returning vendors include FoxFire Farm, The Soap Chest and Pop-A-Bak.

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The popular health fair will return to the Camas Farmer’s Market on opening day Wednesday, June 4. It will feature Pure Wellness Chiropractic and other health organizations.

Kathleen and Jeff Boren, of FoxFire Farm, are excited because the market is “all about food.” To that extent, they will be offering baby spinach, spring lettuce mix, red and gold beets, carrots, radishes, green and purple spring onions, baby potatoes, cilantro, basil, chives, thyme, sage, parsley, hazelnuts, kale, chard, Hakurei salad turnips, rhubarb and asparagus.

“We have friends visit us at Camas who regularly go to the Portland Farmer’s Market, they have told us Camas is one of the top markets in the area for beautiful fresh, local food,” she said.

Boren notes that another unique characteristic is the strong community support.

“Every year we look forward to reconnecting with the people we have met, whether they’re the hard-working market volunteers or the fabulous community that always turns out,” she said. “With a community like Camas behind a market, it will continue to prosper and it couldn’t be accomplished without the tireless efforts of the volunteer board that make it all come together.”

Gail Horn of The Soap Chest is looking forward to connecting with local customers and meeting new people.

“I’ll be selling lots of handmade botanical soap, including some exotic concoctions like Thai Lime and African Shea, as well as local favorites like Milk and Honey (made with local honey and goat milk) and Sunriver Sage,” she said. “I’ll also have handmade lip balm, bath salts, spritzers and lotion. I’m excited to offer handmade laundry soap for those desiring a safe and natural alternative to detergent containing phosphates and other harsh chemicals.”

Elanye Barlas of Bop-A-Bak will be selling her popular Greek baklava and gyros.

“I so look forward to returning to this wonderful market that gathers our local Camas peoples (for) a once-a-week get together,” she said.

Goodman encourages everyone to come and check out the market, especially those who haven’t had the opportunity to do so in the past.

“Besides the entertainment and community celebration aspect what better place is there to go in the summer than your local farmer’s market to pick up big sweet local strawberries, crunchy corn on the cob or ripe juicy tomatoes?” she said. “You can basically build a whole meal by coming to the market. Our farmers are the best. They are eager to discuss their growing practices with customers and the freshness of a summer ripened fruit or vegetable is like no other.”