Hood River Farmers Market opens for 2014 season

New vendors and old favorites offer full grocery lineup

On Thursday, May 1, at 4 p.m. the Hood River Farmers Market opens for the 2014 season at Hood River Middle School, with a diverse set of vendors selling locally raised vegetables, fruit, meat, cheese, eggs, bread and more.

In addition, the live music, local hot food vendors and festive family-friendly atmosphere that have become beloved market traditions continue.

The market, operated by local nonprofit Gorge Grown Food Network, is encouraging shoppers to bring their grocery lists as inspiration to load up on all the fresh food they need for the week. Everything is fresh and everything is local.

“You really can buy almost everything you need at the farmers market,” says GGFN’s Food Access Programs Manager Todd Dierker. “We really want community members to do their regular shopping at the farmers market, where more of the money they spend actually makes it into the hands of the region’s hard-working farmers.”

Gorge Grown will also continue offering its food stamp dollars match program that gives an extra $5 free to food stamp shoppers at each market.

There is a feeling of vibrancy in the springtime air that is contagious. “People are ready for spring staples like local asparagus, radishes, rhubarb, and salad greens, among other things,” says GGFN’s Executive Director Michelle McGrath.

These staples will be in abundance come May 1, as will plant starts for residents to take home and plant in their yards, pots and window boxes.

Kristin Franger, the returning Hood River Farmers Market coordinator, encourages new shoppers to give the market a try.

“If you’ve never been to the market before, this is the year to go,” she says. “We offer something for everyone and it really is a wonderful weekly Hood River community event.”

The market is open every Thursday from 4-7 p.m. from May 1 until Nov. 20 at Hood River Middle School.

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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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