Photo by Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market
Spring is here and with the blossoms beginning to bud and daylight starting to linger longer, the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market is open for business!
The RVGCM is a community organization that has been hosting farmers markets around the Rogue Valley since 1987. “We have 155 members, but the amount of vendors varies from market to market—we have between 50 and 100 vendors on any given day,” said Johanna Talley, RVGCM’s Market Site Manager. Talley feels that hosting farmers markets is important because, “it gives small businesses a platform to succeed, it promotes community involvement, and offers fresh food to the general public.” She added that overhead cost for vendors is small compared to other retail options, helping small businesses thrive.
Vendors at the market sell a wide variety of products including fresh, locally grown produce, eggs, meat, and cheese, seeds and starts, fresh-baked bread, including gluten-free options (come early enough and the bread is still warm), pastries, jams, pickles and kimchi, honey, coffee (beans and ready-to-drink), pottery, crafts, soap, and tinctures. You can also find a large selection of fresh meals made-to-order ranging from tamales, street tacos, empanadas, smoothie bowls, Thai food, hot ramen, grilled cheese sandwiches, pizza, and more.
Tom Clarke, chef, baker, and owner of Coquette Bakery, has been a vendor selling French-style sourdough bread and pastries for eight years and enjoys many aspects of the market. “I like the sense of community it brings [and] the variety of products that are available, I like being outdoors, and I like how cheap it is for me to be able to do my business.” Clarke also feels that markets provide a vital opportunity to support small businesses and keep the economy local, getting shoppers away from big-box stores and strip malls.
SOU senior, Gonzalo Garcia, frequents the Ashland farmers market. “We get the opportunity to converse and engage with the [vendors] and build community as we’re brushing by people saying ‘good morning,’ and ‘that looks yummy.’” Garcia enjoys the social aspect of shopping at the market, but also likes that the products are organic, locally grown, and produced by small businesses. Garcia added that the pricing on made-to-order meals and baked goods are “definitely a bang for your buck!”
Whatever is on your shopping list, from kale, garlic, onions, or sauerkraut, to bread, jam, or soap, the RVGCM has something for everyone. Be sure to stop by one of the market’s three locations to get your groceries, grab a drink, and snag a delicious breakfast, lunch, or snack.
This year, the market will run from March 3 to November 24 and will be held in three locations weekly. On Tuesdays, the market can be found at the Ashland Armory between 8:30am and 1:30pm (a block over from ScienceWorks), on Thursdays in Medford at Hawthorne Park also between 8:30am and 1:30pm, and on Saturdays in Ashland on Oak Street between 8:30am and 1:00pm (in front of Standing Stone Brewery). The market is staying open during the coronavirus situation until further notice. For more details, check out RVGCM’s website.