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Market opens to big crowds, sunny skies

Hundreds flock to Forest Grove's Main Street for produce, crafts, music


by: COURTESY PHOTOS: RICK PAULSON - Sabino Amaro of Hillsboro-based Amaros Produce helps a customer with a purchase during last weeks opening day of the Forest Grove Farmers Market.Michelle Blanco found just the right birthday gift — or Christmas present, she wasn’t sure — for her mother last Wednesday at the Forest Grove Farmers Market.

“My mom loves Nativity scenes,” Blanco said with a wide smile, unwrapping a wooden créche hewn from a Northwest tree. She and her husband, Taylor, an optometry student at Pacific University, have made Forest Grove their home while he’s in school.

They wheeled their children, 3-year-old Davin and 10-month-old Ayla, in a double stroller while taking in the sights and smells of the market’s 2014 opening day May 7.

“We come here a lot,” Blanco said of the family’s market attendance last year. “It’s an easy thing to take the kids to, and we usually run into friends.”

Originally from Utah, Michelle said she’s enjoying living in western Washington County. Taylor, a Michigan native, is on track to complete his professional program at Pacific in 2016.

After that, he said, “We might just stay here.” Jesse Nichols (right) of Gales Meadows Farm assists Shaun Waagenberg (left) procure some produce.

Framed by four-legged market-goers on leashes and children making art projects, René Bennett sold coffee and jam at the Bennett Urban Farm Store booth on Main Street.

“We have plum, raspberry and strawberry today,” René told a prospective customer, who sampled her jams with a small spoon.

A big crowd lined up at Sweet Treats by George, where owner George Goff and his grandson, Troi Richards, sold brittles and English toffees.

“How ya been?” George asked a familiar candy-loving client. Richards was eager to share news about a new product this season.

“We’re going to have Hawaiian brittle,” he said. “It’ll have coconut, pineapple, mango and cashews in it.”

Community service organizations and nonprofits — Friends of Historic Forest Grove and Pies for Peace among them — also saw steady traffic.

Sheila Lardy (left), who works for the City of Forest Groves engineering department, shares a laugh with Greg Arnold of Big Foot Bread Company.At a crime-prevention booth, Forest Grove Police Capt. Mike Herb, Det. Matt Smith and Officer Gary Anderson signed up 40 new people for Neighborhood Watch groups.

Market Manager Kaely Summers of the Forest Grove nonprofit Adelante Mujeres, which sponsors the market, said she was “pleasantly stunned” by the more than 2,200 visitors to opening day.

“That’s more like August crowd numbers. It looks like the weather is going to hold out for us again this week too,” Summers said Monday.

Munching on kettle corn and other foodstuffs, Libby Volk and Emily Swindle were impressed by all the activity.

Both Pacific students — Volk is an English major from Washington state and Swindle is a media arts major from Winnemucca, Nev. — said they’d be back as the market season stretches through summer. Coffee and treat samples were plentiful at last Wednesday's market.

“I’ve been a couple times,” said Swindle. “I love the hummus.”

Volk was into the atmosphere — and the tamales.

“It’s awesome,” she said of the market. “I’ve got tamales ... I’m really excited.”



Local Weather

Mostly Cloudy

60°F

Forest Grove

Mostly Cloudy

Humidity: 90%

Wind: 10 mph

  • 20 Oct 2014

    Showers 62°F 51°F

  • 21 Oct 2014

    Mostly Cloudy 61°F 53°F