MEDFORD, Ore. – Fans of local food are getting a treat this season, as Medford’s Saturday farmer’s market prepares for an upgrade.
It’s part of a five-year contract between the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market and the city of Medford. The market will be moving to a new, bigger location at the Downtown Commons, which could mean more weekend commerce for the city center.
“Last year we had 17 vendors in our downtown market. Right now I have over 50 that are excited to start,” said Jill Kennedy, Manager of the market.
Vendors and board members met today to see the new space and figure out how the market will be set up when it opens on May 11. The Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters say that move will pay off for everyone.
“Everybody in the downtown area benefits from this because after they go to the market they’re going to go downtown to have lunch,” said Kennedy. “They’re just gonna hang out, park here and walk around town. And that’s what Medford needs.”
For many local vendors, like Griffin Creek Coffee Roasters, farmer’s markets are a big part of their success.
“Farmer’s markets are the most important part of my business,” said David French, the company’s founder. “When I’m at a farmer’s market, people are in the mindset of wanting to get something that’s fresh.”
As the market grows into its new location, it also gives the vendors a chance to benefit from each other.
“We co-compost. Some people will take coffee grounds back to their farm, I’ll take the farm waste back to my place. So it’s a community of people that are all like-minded who buy things from each other,” said French.
As for whether or not it will catch on, many say they are hopeful.
“People like to buy local products,” said French. “They get it, that every dollar spent here stays in the valley. So I think it’s a win-win all around.”