A good-sized crowd was making the rounds at Saturday’s John Day Farmers Market, checking out fresh produce, eggs, beef, crafts, honey and more during the second week of the market at SW Brent Street off of Main Street in downtown John Day.
There were 18 vendors offering an array of locally produced goods. The market is open from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays through the first week in October.
Stephanie LeQuieu, new manager for the market this year, said she’s excited to discover the amount of talent there is in Grant County.
“People grow diverse things,” she said. “Where we live, we have an abundance and being able to offer that to the public is special.”
LeQuieu said she loves farmers markets, and in the past worked at a farm in Florida with an open-air market.
She also has a garden and grows her own food.
What separates the farmers market from a Saturday market or flea market is that the products sold are made from the ground up, she said.
If a person is selling blackberry jam, for example, they’ve grown the berries — the sugar and pectin may have come from the store, but they know every ingredient in the product, and can answer how the berries were grown, she said.
One new vendor sells different types of mushrooms and baked goods, and another sells homemade kombucha and teas, and some essential oils, including some to boost the immune system, from herbs she’s grown.
The Food Hero organization will be making a monthly appearance at the market.
“They are associated with the supplemental nutrition assistance program, or SNAP,” LeQuieu said. “They have some really great free resources like tote bags, recipes and some spices.”
On Saturday, Jasmine Bryers with Creative Life Project was leading children in painting art projects. The goal behind the nonprofit is to provide individuals with unique opportunities to use their creativity.
Bryers was accepting donations for her Grant Union art trip to Machu Picchu in Peru which is being organized by art teacher JJ Collier.
LeQuieu said some vendors are there for the entire season, and others add a booth periodically.
She said slots are always available.
“I’d love to outgrow and move,” she said. “We’re always looking for produce vendors.”
The cost is $65 for the season and $10 a week. Nonprofit booths cost $5 a week.
LeQuieu said that Munk Bergin, a vendor from Dayville, has a master’s in entomology and has an extensive seed library and sells seeds and produce at the market.
“I love the atmosphere of our market,” LeQuieu said. “Everyone is very passionate about their products. They love to share with folks their stories about their journey to developing their products.”
She said the items found at the market are superior in quality, “from natural cleaning supplies to gooey cinnamon rolls.”
“They put their heart and soul into what they’re doing,” she said.