Story & photos by Patrick Alexander
Oregon Coast TODAY
There are many differing schools of thought about what signals the start of summer. For some it’s the blooming of the gardenia, for others the arrival of the swallow. But on the Oregon Coast, when you can buy fresh vegetables, gourmet condiments and artisan soap all without setting foot inside, you know summer’s just around the corner.
Among the outdoor markets popping up like wildflowers all along the central coast is the Lincoln City Farmers & Crafters Market, which has returned to pride of place on the front lawn of the Lincoln City Cultural Center after vendors took a well-deserved break over the winter months.
Marker President Lori Lemons said this year’s growing season looks far more normal than last year’s, when a harsh winter postponed harvest of all kind of produce.
Some fruits and vegetables were already on offer at the first outdoor market on May 6, with the selection set to grow and grow as the summer progresses.
As well as produce and a wide range of crafts, the market features a food court set back from the highway on the center’s side lawn. Lemons said this year’s food court offers more choices than ever before, with Hawaiian food, shaved ice, crepes and pizza, as well as a fund-raising chili and hot dog stand operated by the Lincoln City Warming Shelter.
A partnership with the cultural center is allowing the market to host main stage entertainment at the food court in July and August, while strolling bluegrass will be on tap all season long.
The amazing Max Johnson will perform juggling shows at 11 am and 1 pm each Sunday, alongside face painting and other activities to keep little shoppers amused.
For older audiences, on-site demonstrations are scheduled throughout the season, ranging from glass bead making to how to properly plant tomatoes.
The market runs from 9 am to 3 pm every Sunday until mid-October, when it will move indoors until Christmas.
The Newport Farmers Market moves outside this Saturday, May 12, celebrating its 40th anniversary and its status as the second-longest-running farmers market in Oregon.
Vice-President Kurt Gehlken said the market will celebrate with a big party on Saturday, Aug. 25, and is also holding a coloring contest where guests can put their own spin on the market’s rooster logo. Coloring sheets are available from the market manager booth and can be returned any time through June 30.
One of the largest markets on the coast, Newport boasts between 50 and 60 vendors, selling everything from jewelry and crafts to wine, produce, local seafood and — later in the season — berries aplenty.
Having weathered the winter indoors at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds, this weekend sees the market return to its outside site, across the highway from Newport City Hall, where vendors will sell their wares from 9 am to 1 pm each Saturday
“They are excited about the move outside,” Gehlken said. “There’s a real festive atmosphere.”
A food court serves up everything from tacos and German food to grilled cheese and soup, with a rotating lineup of live music throughout the summer.
And shoppers can quench their thirst while helping a good cause by stopping at the Lemonade Project booth, where volunteers serve up freshly squeezed beverages with proceeds benefitting low-income families. Money raised from the lemonade stand allows the market to match the first $6 spent by shoppers enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP.
This summer will also see a big change in Toledo, where a revamped Waterfront Market will offer produce, crafts and a food court in a picturesque setting on the Depot Slough.
“This venue allows us to have activities for the children, like free sail boat rides, kayaking and paddle boarding,” said Kathy Crane, director of the Toledo Chamber of Commerce. “Parents and grandparents who are vacationing on the coast or whose children are out of school for the summer can make this a destination stop for the entire family.”
The Toledo Waterfront Market starts on Thursday, June 7, and runs through September from 10 am until 2 pm each Thursday.
For more information or to sign up as a vendor, call Kathy Crane at 541-336-3183 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Outdoor markets on the Central Coast
Sundays, 9 am-3 pm
Lincoln City Cultural Center, 540 NE Hwy. 101
Saturdays, 9 am-1 pm
On the corner of Angle and Hwy. 101.
Sundays, 9 am-2 pm
Yachats Commons, 441 Hwy. 101 N.
Wednesdays, 10 am-3 pm
Waldport Community Center, 265 NW Hemlock
Starting May 19
Saturdays, 9 am-1 pm
Neskowin Beach Wayside
Starting June 7
Thursdays 10 am-2 pm
Toledo Waterfront Park, 127 NW A Street
Starting June 8
Fridays, 5-8 pm
5th Street South and Laneda Avenue
Starting June 16
Saturdays, 9 am-2 pm
Laurel and 2nd Street
Starting June 17
Sundays 10 am-2 pm
Pacific City Library, 6200 Camp Street