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New vendors, volunteers sought for Damascus farmers market

Vendors, farmers, entertainers, chefs and volunteers wanted for Thursday market


by: CONTRIBUTED - The Damascus Fresh & Local Market starts in May, but volunteers, vendors and musicians are needed now. Pictured at last years market are Larry Thompson, owner of Thompson Farms, left, and Rakul Ketels.An outdoor farmers’ market in Damascus, held every Thursday in the spring and early fall, won’t start until May, but those who want to be part of it should sign up now.

Leslie Shalduha, chairwoman of the Damascus Fresh & Local Market, is looking for more vendors for this year, as well as entertainers, crafters, professional and amateur chefs and all-around volunteers.

“This is our third season, and we’re really excited to get it going again and provide this positive community event for the area,” Shalduha said.

by: CONTRIBUTED - Damascus Fresh & Local Market is now seeking more vendors, musicians, crafters and volunteers for this years event, every Thursday afternoon from May through September.The small market, which Shalduha would like to see grow, always has had a good variety of vendors, she said, along with live entertainment and an educational booth for children.

“Different musicians come out each week and play for four hours, and we also have cooking demonstrations and kids’ activities,” she said. “It’s not just to get your weekly shopping done, but to visit with neighbors, bring the kids and do things like maybe learn to cook with kale.”

Shalduha said she will approach area restaurants about featuring guest chefs for the market, but amateur chefs are welcome as well to give demonstrations in the cooking or kids’ education booth.

“And we’re always seeking volunteers,” she said. “It’s a great way to get involved in the community and do something positive.”

To get involved and to download a vendor application, log onto the market’s website, damascusfreshandlocalmarket.com.

The market’s kids’ booth will explain the benefits of good, healthy food and the importance of shopping locally, she said.

“We teach them it’s not only good for their health but to support the local economy,” she said. “They can learn gardening or cooking.”

The Clackamas County Soil and Water District also helps with the market, presenting programs on issues concerning water conservation as well as staffing the information booth.

Opening day for the market is May 22 at the corner of Damascus Lane and Foster Road, just north of Highway 212. The market runs every Thursday from 3-7 p.m. through the end of September.

Visitors to the market can use their SNAP benefit cards for purchases, according to the market’s website.

“We support our neighbors through food band donations and gleaning opportunities,” it states. “We also work on ways to reach low-income citizens through WIC, SNAP as well as other creative support programs.”

The market operates as a nonprofit organization under the Committee for the Future of Damascus, and benefits from the involvement of other organizations, including Friends of the Multnomah County Library, Oregon State University Extension Service, Master Gardeners and Lewis & Clark Montessori Charter School, where Shalduha is food service director.

Part of the school’s curricula is a farming class, she said, and seventh-grade students from the school hope to sell their products at the market.

The market has a cap of 25 vendors, and Shalduha hopes for more this year since the average in the past has been about a dozen. Shalduha said she would like more vendors offering a wider variety and she can help them with initial efforts.

“We have grant money to help new vendors get started,” she said.



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