May Market debuts at Pole Creek Ranch

 

Last updated 5/16/2023 at 3:06pm

Photo by TL Brown

Eryn Elbers grows and arranges flowers at her farm, Roots & Rails. She co-organized the May Market, which debuted over Mother's Day weekend.

Most folks know the Pole Creek Ranch barn as part of the stellar view from Highway 242 across from the middle school. Last Friday, it became the debut location for the May Market.

Outside, the Three Sisters and Black Crater loomed close, perched above a carpet of bright greenery growing in the fields. Hay bales were stacked high, under cover. Smoke from a prescribed burn billowed over from near Edgington Road.

Inside, Eryn Elbers walked through the iconic barn, winding among flowers, plant starts, and seed packets.

A co-organizer of the market, Elbers is owner and farmer of Roots & Rails Farm. Known for the pretty, rustic bouquets she sells locally, Elbers displayed a wider range of products at the May Market.

Her hand-stenciled wooden signs were up for sale, along with plant starts organized into appealing containers by theme: pollinator packs, deer-resistant flowers, and cool-season plants.

Growing plants for food or ornamental purposes can be difficult in the Sisters area. Multiple microclimates, voracious deer and rodents, short growing season, poor soil, and rough weather gang up on gardens.

Elbers said she enjoys selecting and growing flowers that are cold-hardy, pollinator friendly, and otherwise well suited to Sisters Country.

The May Market also featured booths with vintage linens, local dahlia seeds, locally made soaps, and colorful scarves hand-felted using locally raised wool. The ranch had a freezer on-site for grass-fed beef sales.

"Sweet old lady?" read the words on a handcrafted ceramic mug. "More like battle-tested warrior queen."

The market was open on the Friday and Saturday of Mother's Day weekend, but not on Sunday. As Elbers observed, what a mom really wants to do on Mother's Day is take a nap, not run a market.

Pat Lamoureaux is mother to Elbers and grandmother to young Avery, who was helping out. Lamoureaux likes the idea of promoting local flower growers. "So many florists drive up to Portland to get wholesale flowers," she noted.

"This is all local," she said with a smile. "The plants are local!"

The Lamoureaux family has farmed before. Back in Massachusetts, Pat and her husband, Roger, a woodworker, operated a pick-your-own-blueberry business. Thirty years ago they moved here "to get away from the snow," she said with a laugh.

She expressed appreciation that Pole Creek Ranch offered use of their barn for the May event. "It's been wonderful," she said. "We have been so blessed."

Will the May Market appear again? "We would love to do this next year," enthused Elbers. She hopes food vendors will participate then.

In the meantime, Elbers offers her plants, flowers, and bouquets through private sales and for retail purchase at two seasonal outlets in town: The Stand and Sisters Farmers Market.

The Stand, on Adams Avenue, opened May 1. This year, the Farmers Market will open the first Sunday in June, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Fir Street Park. Elbers' Roots & Rails bouquets are sold at the Seed to Table produce booth.

Lamoureaux said a portion of the May Market proceeds would be donated to two local charities, Habitat for Humanity and Central Oregon Veterans Ranch.

 

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