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Growers and Crafters Markets Changes

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ASHLAND, Ore. — The Ashland Planning Commission wants to ban the sale of certain foods and crafts the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market. This comes after some nearby business owners said the booths there now, are taking their customer base.

The Ashland planning commission is also extending the months the market is open.

Some businesses downtown Ashland are signing a petition to support the farmers market and keep it the way it is right now, while other local businesses said they want to see change.

For vendor Bill Francis, the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market is a way of life and the way he makes a living.

“This point in the year, this becomes really close to 80 percent of our income,” said Francis.

He sells hand-made ceramics, an item that could soon be prohibited, but in the same booth his friend is selling wooden utensils, an item that would be allowed to stay.

The Commission is deliberating over placing regulations on what would be allowed to be sold at the farmers market, and although there are still lots of unanswered questions, it is looks like the items that can continue to be sold will have to be sourced agriculturally in the valley.

Other items including jewelry, pottery, and wood crafts that rival local business would have to have a local tie to stay.  The Commission is also looking into banning warm prepared food.

This comes after storefronts near the markets complained about vendors stealing their business.

“The issue here is that there are stores on the block that are being closed off by the market currently and there business is being hurt,” said Ken Silverman, the owner of Nimbus.

For Silverman, whose business is just down the street from the Saturday market, it’s a complicated issue. He said while he is not impacted, he feels for the businesses who are, and hopes an agreement can be reached to satisfy everyone.  He said he frequents the farmers markets in the area and does not want to see them go.

“I would love if they could find a field or a parking lot right near town that people could walk to,” said Silverman.

The Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market is holding a meeting Thursday June 19 to figure out how to handle the proposed food and craft regulations.

The new rules would go into place at the end of July if the Commission finalizes the changes and no appeals are made.

5 comments

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  1. Phillip Houghton says:

    Its a market a street market growers and crafters market !!!! Sure go ahead and restrict it but Ashland will lose out when the growers and crafters move elsewhere, and people that go to the market stop visiting the stores as well.
    If as some say they are losing business that’s called competition you just have to do it better!

  2. Butch Merusi says:

    Businesses pay taxes or rent, utilities, employees, benefits, and a host of other fees. The “market” folks show up and sell, then go home. In crummy weather folks can still go to a store and buy the products they need, and the businesses support the community. The “farmers market” is screwing those businesses.

  3. Mishka says:

    The grower’s market in Ashland on Tuesdays is not anywhere near businesses that would be impacted by vendors. If they take away warm food from the Tuesday market in Ashland, there will be no place for all those shoppers to eat and they would be removing about 1/3 of the vendors. As far as the crafters market on Saturdays in downtown Ashland goes, it is one day for only part of the day. The businesses downtown need to realize that the market is bringing people to the area that might not be there anyhow, and suck it up.

    What people will end up doing is waiting to go to the Thursday Grower’s Market in Medford so they can get the yummy food they want without the hassle. Why does Ashland have to make things so difficult all the time? I know I won’t be going to the Grower’s Market on Tuesdays if they take away all the warm food because I go there specifically to have lunch and make purchases in one trip.

    The planning commission is going to end up ruining the two markets for Ashland and then those of us that live here will have one more reason to get on the freeway and shop somewhere else.

  4. Harry says:

    Free enterprise….heard of it? If local shop keepers think the Grower’s Market is ‘stealing’ their business, perhaps they should get off their whining butts and become more competitive and creative, instead of just going into fear and sniveling about it. Lowering their already bloated prices would be a big start to becoming more competitive.

    The Grower’s Market brings many more local people to Ashland than normally would be there. If the local businesses don’t want it and seek severe limitations, they will only hurt themselves in the long run.

    The Medford market is much better anyway, and it’s great to be able to go there and get a hot meal, enjoy the smell of cinnamon buns or tamales cooking, and hang out with your friends. I’ve often stayed there long enough to get to have both breakfast and lunch from the food carts there. It’s great to see all the creativity from local artists and not just have vendors limited to agricultural products.

    Oh and Butch…vendors at the Grower’s Market pay booth rent, extra for utilities, taxes and also pay their staff; often much better than the local Ashland “minimum-wage-no-matter-what” consciousness.

  5. Mary Jane says:

    The location needs to be changed to one that is less congested and out of the downtown area. Somewhere on south side of town would be much better, and less crowded.

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