JOSEPH — Things are looking up for the Wallowa County Farmers Market.
The market will continue Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Oct. 10. Kimi Starner, who returned as manager this year after a hiatus since 2014, said 217 people stopped in the market Saturday, as opposed to 313 the week before.
“That’s pretty good for it not being a holiday weekend,” she said. “I had a couple of vendors who said that between the two weekends, they’d had their best sales ever.”
Six vendors set up shop the first weekend, May 23, and seven the next, Starner said. Among them was Alder Slope Nursery with a variety of vegetable garden plants, including tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs. Beth Gibans brought an even larger variety of produce from her Backyard Gardens as well as robust vegetables ready to plant and produce.
“We had spring salad mix, spinach, baby mustard greens, scallions, radishes, bok choy, chives, vegetable and herb plant starts (lots of varieties of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants), and rhubarb, herbs and garlic scapes from Little Hill Farm and asparagus from Milton-Freewater,” she said, adding she also prepared foods to highlight Backyard Gardens’ catering.
Other vendors included Sally B Farm with goat milk soap, Annie’s Southfork Jewelry and Well Bread with homemade breads and pastries.
While the main sign at the county’s largest farmers market welcomes all, another sign inside placed coronavirus- related limits on attendance. No children or pets were allowed and only one person per household was allowed. Those who did come were urged to maintain social distancing of 6 feet from one another and from vendors.
“Everybody was nervous because of the COVID-19,” Starner said.
But that didn’t stop vendors or visitors. She said mornings were largely filled with Wallowa County residents shopping, while afternoon visitors included more people from La Grande, Pendleton, Portland and other places.
“I know next week we’ll see more vegetable garden plant starts as we get further from the frost season,” she said.
The market had the usual produce, crafts and jewelry, and Starner is expecting other types of items as well. She said there may be a booth selling metal work come Saturday, June 6.
Vendors pay $20 a week or can pay for the entire season at $15 a week. The market accepts registrations.