Gorge farmers’ markets start this week

Organizers set $1M sales goal for 13 farmers’ markets Gorge-wide

Hood river’s Gorge Grown farmers’ market starts this Thursday, 4-7 p.m. at Hood River Middle School.

Photo by Adam Lapierre.
Hood river’s Gorge Grown farmers’ market starts this Thursday, 4-7 p.m. at Hood River Middle School.

Gorge farmers’ markets begin opening for the 2013 season in May with the Gorge Grown Farmers’ Market (Thursdays in Hood River), the Hood River Saturday Market and the Goldendale Farmers’ Market (Saturdays).

By the end of June the Gorge will have 13 bustling farmers’ markets in full swing.

Gorge Grown Food Network (GGFN) recently brought together the managers and vendors from these markets in March to share resources, coordinate efforts and set goals for the season.

“The farmers’ markets of the Gorge are a strong unified team and together they have set a regional goal of $1 million in gross sales for 2013,” said Todd Dierker, co-director of GGFN.

According to Dierker, farmers’ markets support local economic development with direct and indirect benefits including sales revenues, job creation and the spurring of additional economic activity as a result of the markets.

GGFN is collecting region-wide data as an attempt to measure the impact that farmers’ markets have in the Columbia River Gorge region.

The growth in regional farmers’ markets over the last few years is reflected in the region-wide search for additional market vendors. The farmers’ markets of the Gorge are ready to expand.

Farmers, prolific gardeners, hot food vendors, or other food producers interested in selling products at a local farmers’ market are encouraged to contact the manager of that market immediately.

The most thorough, up-to-date list of farmers’ markets in the Gorge and market contacts is available at www.gorgegrown.com.

“I encourage people to get involved with their local market even if they only have spare produce from their garden or a few dozen eggs. Farmers’ markets are community-centered events and there is a place for everyone to get involved,” said Dierker.

In addition to vendors, the markets can use the support of volunteers, musicians, and community leaders to create a weekly event that brings people together to buy healthy locally-grown foods, share recipes and enjoy the company of friends and neighbors.

For 2013, GGFN has created a Gorge Farmers’ Markets Pocket Guide to help people discover all of these unique markets. Contact your local market manager or GGFN to receive a copy.

“I urge everyone to build relationships with the vendors at the market in their community because these are the people that feed us, keep us eating healthy foods and care for our land,” said Dierker.

Beginning May 2, buy fresh fruits, veggies, grass fed beef, cut flowers, cheeses, fresh salmon, bread, eggs and more at the Gorge Grown Farmers’ Market every Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Hood River Middle School located on 13th and May Street.

The Gorge Grown Farmers’ Market accepts SNAP Food Stamp cards as well as Debit cards. Thanks to business sponsors, food stamp shoppers can get $5 free to spend with their first $5 in purchases. Visit the INFO booth at the market for more information.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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